|A weaver in Odisha winds tussar silk off the bobbins to prepare a warp for the loom.|
Many areas in Odisha (formerly Orissa) are suitable for the cultivation of tussar silk. Tussar, Antheraea mylitta is a very large moth. In contrast to bombyx mori (the Chinese silkworm most of us are familiar with) the tussar caterpillars spend their larval stage outside in trees. As the larva grows the farmers move it from tree to tree to ensure that it has a fresh supply of leaves.
The worms (caterpillars, really) are beautiful and the most juicy green colour. They are eating machines, growing constantly as they change from the tiny worms that emerge from eggs to the massive creatures that are ready to begin spinning a cocoon.
|A village artisan reels tussar silk on his thigh.|
|Tussar silk in hanks dyed and ready for weaving.|