Muga silk is considered to be the king of silk, but there is another indigenous worm silk widely available in Assam.
This is Eri silk, considered to be poor man's silk, but it is closely attached to the assamese society, dress for it's
Eri threads are extracted from Eri worm , like any other silk extraction. The scientific name of the Eri worm is Samia Ricini.
This worm is not wild as Muga, completes the whole life cycle at home only.The name 'Eri' has evolved from 'Era' plant (Cator Plant)
which is called 'Eranda' in Sanskrit. This plant is main food source for the Eri worm and normally found in these plants only.
Eri Silk of Assam
Eri can bu cultivated with less efforts and also cheap to maintain. It is still considered as a small scale industry in Assam.
The farmers nornmally cultivate this worm during leisure time as extra income and household usage.
The 'cocoon' of Eri worm is very unique in it's characteristics and different from other silkworms. While building the
cocoon, Eri worm leaves a hole. When the worm converts into moth, the moth can get out of the cocoon from this hole. To
extract the threads from the coccon, for Eri silk its kept open so that the Moth can get out. In case of other silks, its not possible.
This is the reason, the Eri silk is also called "Ahimsa" (Nonviolent) silk. That's why the buddhist monks prefer Eri silko ver any
Eri worms are found only in South-East Asia. North-East India produces the most Eri silk in the world. Though some toher places of India
produces Eri silk, Assam and North-east still produces around 95% of the total. The exact history of the silk is not known, but
it has been used in Assam since very old days. British named this as "Palma Chirsti Silk". Eri is popular among the backward tribes
of Assam, specially those of Indo-Mongolian and Tibbetian origin. But now a days it is produced by the farmers of Brahmaputra valley
plains too. The silk has given way of income to the poor farmers.
Once the Eri was very cheap, it was referred to as Poor man's silk too. Because of it's warm quality, it replaces woolen threads among
various tribes of Assam. The silk is so much attached to the Assamese society that it is as important as
Muga silk to the Assam.
You can discuss or post any queries on Eri Silk in this forum.
Find some more pictures of Assam in this Gallery.