Gujarat is the land of kaleidoscope of embroideries and fabrics, and it is from here that Mashru comes. The fabric that glistens like silk and has the soothing comfort of cotton, comes with a rich history. Originated in the 19th century, Mashru literally means “permitted” in Arabic and “mixed” in Sanskrit. The Mashru textile was woven for communities who believed that silk should not touch a person’s skin. Crafting a solution that enabled people to honor this belief while still appearing dressed in the finest clothing, weavers mixed silk and cotton threads to create a textile that was simple cotton on one side and rich silk on the other. It is woven on a pit loom with 7 to 11 shafts.
The use of mashru proliferated somewhere in the 19th century, in Islamic nations as well as the Indian subcontinent.
Today, traditional mashru weaving is on the brink of extinction. The clothing styles of the Kachchhi people have changed, severing the original community linkages. The original mashru of cotton and silk, with its lush texture, is not produced anymore because the market is no longer discerning and demanding for it. The craftsman who ardently follow this craft are in their 60s and work hard for almost 8 hours. There are only 8 artisans left in the village of Kutch - Gujarat still practicing this traditional textile.