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History of Indian Textiles through ‘Words’

Fine cotton made in India was exported to Mosul in present - day Iraq by Arab merchants. European traders purchased this cotton and were impressed by the fine quality and called it “muslin”.

When the Portuguese first came to India in search of spices they landed in Calicut on the Kerala coast in south-west India. The cotton textiles which they took back to Europe, along with the spices, came to be called “calico”.


There are many other words such as muslin and calico which reveal the reputation of Indian textiles in Western markets.


In the year 1730 the English East India Company ordered 5,89,000 pieces of cloth of 98 varieties of cotton and silk cloths.


Let us list a few varieties of cloth that were produced during that time

  • Chintz

  • Cossaes

  • Bandanna

  • Kasimbazar

  • Patna

  • Calcutta

  • Orissa

  • Charpoore

Chintz Bandanna


The name of the place of origin was sometimes given to the cloth.

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