The Mashru textile is a vivacious, hand woven mix of silk, and cotton fabrics. The word ‘Mashru’ means ‘permitted’ in Arabic and its Sanskrit variant ‘Misru’ amounts to ‘mixed’. The Mashru cloth was woven for the Muslim population, who held that silk should not touch a person’s skin. Designing a solution that enabled people to honor this belief while still coming out dressed in their finest clothing, weavers mixed silk, and cotton yarns to create a textile that was plain cotton on one side, and rich silk on the other.
The weaving of Mashru textile was practiced across the country in different variants; from Deccan to Lucknow to Bengal. Nowadays, only weavers like Mohan Chand from the smalltowns of Gujarat, mostly Patan and Mandvi, practise this craft.
Mashru material is created using satin weave by interlacing silk, and cotton yarns. Cotton creates the weft, or the horizontal yarns, while silk is utilized for the warp, or the vertical yarns. In this structure of weave, each silk yarn goes under one cotton yarn, and above five to eight or more cotton, giving the look of a shiny surface that seems like it is made up of only silk, whilethe underside of the cloth is cotton.