What is "Tussah" - Definition & Explanation
Last Updated on: 07-May-2024 (2 months, 7 days ago)
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Tussah: From Wild Silkworms to Luxurious Textiles

The Rich Tapestry of Tussah: Unraveling a Textile Tradition

The textile industry is adorned with a multitude of fabrics, each carrying a unique narrative and cultural significance. Among them, Tussah silk emerges as a material rich in history, texture, and environmental consciousness. This wild silk, distinguished by its rustic charm, offers insights into sustainable sericulture practices and artisanship.

History and Origin

Originating from the wild silkworms of Asia, particularly India and China, Tussah silk, also known as "wild silk," has a history that predates recorded time. Unlike cultivated silk, Tussah is harvested from silkworms that thrive in the wild, feeding on a variety of trees. These silkworms arent reared in controlled environments but flourish in natural surroundings, resulting in a silk with distinct characteristics and an earthy allure.

Types of Tussah

  • Chinese Tussah: Recognized for its coarser texture and deeper shade, it is primarily produced in Shandong and Jiangsu provinces.
  • Indian Tussah: Sourced from central India, it's lighter in color, often ranging from beige to gold.
  • Temperate Tussah: Found in regions with temperate climates, this variant is known for its softness.
  • Tropical Tussah: Harvested in tropical regions, it is notable for its ruggedness and natural sheen.

Handling Tips

  • Its advisable to dry clean Tussah silk to retain its natural sheen.
  • Avoid direct sunlight when drying as it may fade the color.
  • Iron on a low setting and always use a cloth between the silk and the iron to prevent direct contact.
  • Store Tussah garments in a dry place, ensuring they are free from moisture.
  • For any stains, avoid rubbing. Instead, blot gently with a soft cloth.

Profiles of Leading Manufacturers or Users

  • Shandong Silk Group Co.: Based in China, this company has a legacy in producing some of the finest Tussah silk, blending tradition with innovation.
  • Central Silk Board India: This organization oversees the production and promotion of various silks, including Tussah, ensuring sustainable and ethical practices.
  • Kimberly Silk: Renowned for sourcing and supplying Tussah silk globally, they are dedicated to quality and sustainability.
  • Sichuan Nanchong Liuhe: A leading name in the Chinese silk industry, they specialize in Tussah silk fabrics and products.
  • TexIndia Silks: Located in India, they have carved a niche in providing authentic Tussah silk, revered for its quality and authenticity.


  • Clothing: From elegant evening gowns to traditional wear, Tussah silk adds a touch of rustic luxury to any attire.
  • Home Dcor: Tussah silk drapes, cushion covers, and wall hangings introduce an element of organic opulence to interior spaces.
  • Accessories: Scarves, stoles, and ties made of Tussah are cherished for their unique texture and natural sheen.
  • Art & Craft: The distinct texture of Tussah silk makes it a preferred choice for artists and craftsmen for various projects.


Tussah silk represents more than just a fabric; it encapsulates centuries of tradition, artistry, and an unwavering commitment to sustainability. It serves as a testament to the harmonious coexistence of humans with nature. As the textile industry grapples with the challenges of sustainability, Tussah emerges as a beacon, illuminating the path forward. Its rustic charm, combined with its eco-friendly attributes, ensures that Tussah remains not only a fabric of the past but also of the future. As the world leans towards more conscious choices, Tussah silk stands as a testament to the beauty that arises when tradition harmoniously meets sustainability.

A silk fabric that is usually plain but also in twill. It is made from wild or uncultivated silkworms. It is coarse, strong, and uneven and has a dull luster and is rather stiff. It has a rough texture with many slubs, knots, and bumps. It is ecru or tan in color and it is difficult to bleach. It usually doesn't take an even dye color. It wears well and becomes more rough looking with wear. It wrinkles a little, but not as much as some.

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Did you know this fact? Fashion designer Chitose Abe worked at Comme des Garçons before founding Sacai.
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