Drik would like to tell the story of Bengal Muslin. By: Tauhidul Islam Apu


Drik would like to tell the story of Bengal Muslin, the fabled fabric of Bengal, its unique history and contribution, through a series of events and activities. Our aim is to recreate the story of this legendary textile that was used by Western and Mughal courts, raise awareness of its rich heritage and the distinctive impact it had upon the world in terms of textile artistry and global trade. 

Muslin project is organized by Drik in partnership with Aarong and Bangladesh National Museum. The project will investigate the potential of reviving Muslin production and explore how this sought for textile of the past can integrate with contemporary clothing designs.

The Muslin being produced by Drik fulfills all the criteria of Bengal Muslin in terms of fineness, high thread count and even motifs. However, it should not be confused with the legendary Dhakai Muslin, which was produced from a special variety of cotton which is extinct for over a hundred years. 

The Origin of Muslin:

The origins of Bengal cotton are a thousand years old. Historically, Bengal Muslin has been recognized as a cotton fabric of legendary lightness and distinctive motifs by many world travelers. Handwoven from uncommonly delicate handspun yarn in villages near Dhaka, Muslin was produced from a cotton plant that grew exclusively along the banks of a certain stretch of the Brahmaputra river. The finished cloth was sought by royalty and traded globally across countries of the Middle East, Europe…etc. while earning enormous revenue for those involved in its trade.


The major activities being planned to support this initiative are:

1) Exhibition: This will capture the origin, production process, key events and artifacts on muslin. The exhibition will be curated and designed by Drik.

2) Book publication: An international quality publication that will collate available and unpublished information into a well-researched photo book that will establish Bangladesh’s heritage and contribution to this unique fabric. The book will be written, designed and published by Drik. 

3) Short Documentary film: A short documentary film (approx. 45 mins), which will capture our efforts to trace the plant, to find past artifacts and to recreate ancient muslin designs using the skills of current Jamdani weavers in Dhaka. It will bring the story of muslin to life on the screen and will be shown at the exhibition/television. Drik AV will produce this in collaboration with other experts.

 4) Muslin Night: This is designed to be a multi-cultural event, which will include different cultural activities including a light and sound show. It would tell the story of muslin through songs, dance, fashion shows… etc.

5) Workshops: Seminars and discussions, where experts from Bangladesh and abroad will debate on sourcing the cotton, modernizing the products and plan for continued research and application in this area.

The effective combination of the above activities will recreate the story of Muslin from Bengal’s perspective, establishing the history and origin of the fabric while enhancing the profile of the only surviving scion of muslin, ‘Jamdani’ (recently recognized as a Cultural Heritage of Humanity, by UNESCO), at an international and national level.


We believe this is a remarkable project for Bangladesh. It is a story that needs to be told with clarity and integrity, acknowledging the huge contribution of the unrecognized community of farmers and handloom workers that has made it possible.


Email us at bengalmuslin@gmail.com

Visit our website at www.bengalmuslin.com


Visit our office at Drik Picture Library Ltd., House 58, Road 15A (New), Dhanmondi, Dhaka, 1209, Bangladesh.

For more info, follow us on Twitter at https://twitter.com/BengalMuslin and

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Muslin Festival 2016: Relive the magic of muslin 

Muslin Festival 2016 was inaugurated in the evening today at the main auditorium of Bangladesh National Museum. Honorable finance minister, MrAbulMaalMuhith was present as the chief guest and MrAsaduzzzaman Noor, honorable cultural minister and MP was the special guest at the inauguration; Cultural Affairs Secretary, MsAktariMumtaz; Chairman of the Board of Trustees, Bangladesh National Museum, Mr. M Azizur Rahman; CEO of Drik, MrSaifulislam; Senior Director, BRAC Enterprise, Ms. Tamara Abed and Senior Curator, Victoria and Albert Museum, Rosemary Crill were present during the inauguration.

Muslin Festival 2016 is supported by the Ministry of Cultural Affairs and organized by Drik and Bangladesh National Museum in partnership with Aarong. The festival has been designed with a range of activities throughout the month till March 3. The month-long festival is the culmination of over two years of research by Drik into the history of muslin and our nation’s contribution to it.


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