The Muga silk moths’ (Antheraea Assamensis) eggs are placed on muga chang’s in places which have abundance of Som and Soalu leaves. Kharika(mounting brushes) help to transfer the hatched caterpillars to tall trees. Muga rearers use ingenious ways to deter pests and predators from harming the worms.
The voracious worms devour leaves rapidly. Although early morning is the ideal breakfast time, the worms eat more voraciously at night taking five minutes breaks between feeds.
Donning the net
The worms moult four times in this period.Highly sensitive to any disturbance they express anger by either stopping their feed or shrinking their body. Carefully collecting them in bamboo baskets , the rearers place them over jaalis and leave them undisturbed for a week. Cocooning is completed within four days in summer and seven in winter. Interestingly the females spin the bigger cocoons.
Facing the trial
A careful selection ensures that only the well formed cocoons take the splash in a hot tub. The strands are then carefully picked from the cocoons with needles.
This is followed by reeling the strands to finally give us the shimmering golden thread.
The reeling stage
The golden strands are further reeled to give us the shimmering golden Muga thread.
Finally the golden threads, go through intricate processes of weaving and give us the sparkling Muga silk.