Tussar silk (alternatively spelled as Tussah, Tushar, Tassar, Tusser and also known as Kosa Silk) is produced from Tussar silkworms (Antheraea mylitta and Antheraea proylei, belonging to the moth genus Antheraea). These silkworms live in the wild in trees belonging to Terminalia species and Shorea robusta as well as other food plants found in South Asia.[1][2]


In order to kill the silkworms, the cocoons are dried in the sun. There is a variation where the silkworms are allowed to leave before the cocoons are soaked in boiling water to soften the silk and then reeled.[2][1]

Tussar silk is considered more textured than cultivated or "mulberry" silk but it has shorter fibres, which makes it less durable. It has a dull gold sheen.[2][1]

Geographical distribution

Bulk of the Tussar silk production is in India and some forty percent of it is produced in the Indian state of Malda West Bengal. A large quantity is produced in Malda District of West Bengal and Bhagalpur in Bihar, where it is called Bhagalpur Silk. Tussar Silk is also used for Orissa’s Pattachitras and West Bengal’s Kantha stitches.Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh also produce Tussar Silk.[2][1]


The sari is the most important Tussar silk product.[3][4]However, it is also used as base material for handicrafts and stitched apparel. [1]

With the introduction of chemical dyes, the range of colours has increased manifold. [1]

Bhagalpur silk

Main article: Bhagalpur Sari

More than a century old Tussar silk weaving industry in Bhagalpur has about 30,000 handloom weavers working on some 25,000 handlooms. The total value of annual trade is around Rs. 100 crores, about half of which comes from exports.[5]


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