Muslin, also mousseline, is a cotton fabric of plain weave. It is made in a wide range of weights from delicate sheers to coarse sheeting. Muslins were imported into Europe from the Bengal region during much of the 17th and 18th centuries and were later manufactured in Scotland and England. While English-speakers call it muslin because Europeans believed it originated in the Iraqi city of Mosul, its origins are now thought to have been in Dhaka, the capital Bangladesh. Dhaka’s jamdani muslin, with its distinctive patterns woven in layer by layer, was one of the Mughal Empire’s most prestigious and lucrative exports. Early muslin was handwoven of uncommonly delicate handspun yarn.
In 2013, the traditional art of weaving Jamdani muslin in Bangladesh was included in the list of Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO.