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Tasar Box

I love, love, LOVE getting packages from India.

They are always full of wonderful stuff - but they also have the most charming and interesting packaging. It seems like they're put together with a particular aesthetic - like they're put together with precision and care... out of whatever's at hand.

The front label is pretty uneventful. LOTS of stamps, and a misspelling - but it's pretty standard.

Stamps continue onto the side of the box.

The back label is a little more interesting - lots of stamping, and writing. The full-sheet label is glued onto the package wrapping.

This doesn't look so much like a customs statement, as a note to the postman. Maybe a special tax stamp is supposed to go here, and they had to explain.

Both of the short ends are sealed with sealing wax. LOTS of sealing wax.

Can you see that, under the wax seals, there is stitching? The whole thing is wrapped in cotton muslin. Hand stitched closed.

Stitching shows on the inside more than on the outside. Maybe it's tougher to open a stitched parcel and get away with it?

Inside, the actual box is made of wood. Surprisingly light, it is apparent that at least the large flat pieces have had previous lives.

It's put together with nails. Three different sizes of tiny nails.

Inside, nestled in a bed of rough cotton-wool, is what I REALLY wanted to see - Tasar cocoons! The real deal, complete with peduncles.

These are really handsome ones. The veiny-looking outer surface of the cocoon, is specific to this species - the caterpillar chews up tree bark and mixes it with silk to make the rings and this tough outer layer.

The peduncles are designed to hold the cocoon to the twig it's spun on. They look like little leather lassos - or actually, like little curettes.

When people say that Tasar cocoons are "as big as a hen's egg," they're not just making it up. This is a Grade A Large egg, but I bet if it were a Medium, the cocoon could kick its butt. It's about as tall, just not quite as wide.


( 38 comments — Leave a comment )
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May. 6th, 2008 08:41 pm (UTC)
every bit of it is art.
May. 6th, 2008 08:48 pm (UTC)
That's what I think, too! I so want to go there.
(no subject) - molasses - May. 6th, 2008 08:48 pm (UTC) - Expand
May. 6th, 2008 08:57 pm (UTC)
OMG the entire thing is utterly awesome. Now I need packages from India...
May. 6th, 2008 09:02 pm (UTC)
I am absolutely charmed by the little wax blobs.
May. 6th, 2008 09:08 pm (UTC)
How very wonderful.

I didn't realise the cocoons were quite so large. How much useable silk do you get from one of those?
May. 6th, 2008 09:11 pm (UTC)
I want a package from India too! Darina
May. 6th, 2008 09:16 pm (UTC)

What are your plans for the cocoons? Silk, or display or ???
May. 7th, 2008 03:05 am (UTC)
Probably a little of both. I mainly want them for the display - I may try reeling with them. They're very difficult to reel; it requires cooking in a caustic soda bath, then an overnight soak, then reeling damp in a basin. I want to try it, but may wait until I have cocoons that were a little less dear.
(no subject) - jennifleur - May. 7th, 2008 04:37 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - oakenking - May. 7th, 2008 04:39 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - jennifleur - May. 7th, 2008 04:51 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - oakenking - May. 7th, 2008 04:55 am (UTC) - Expand
May. 6th, 2008 09:27 pm (UTC)
I enjoyed opening your parcel :-)
May. 6th, 2008 09:40 pm (UTC)
My impression of the Indian post is that parcels are sealed to show evidence of tampering, because if they aren't they will most likely have their contents pilfered. My aunt said when she was there she actually had to watch the stamps being cancelled on her envelope, otherwise the stamp would "accidentally" fall off and her letters would go undelivered.
May. 7th, 2008 03:06 am (UTC)
That makes a lot of sense. I've wondered that with some other packages I've received, but this one really shows a lot of ingenuity to thwart tampering.
(no subject) - haptotrope - Dec. 4th, 2008 04:21 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - oakenking - Dec. 4th, 2008 04:31 pm (UTC) - Expand
May. 6th, 2008 09:41 pm (UTC)
That's really cool.
May. 6th, 2008 09:44 pm (UTC)
I was jealous before we got to the interior of the package. Now I am in full-speed coveting mode!
May. 6th, 2008 09:55 pm (UTC)
The package itself was an adventure. Very cool. How big are the caterpillars that make such immense cocoons?
May. 7th, 2008 03:08 am (UTC)
They're pretty massive -

(no subject) - sola - May. 7th, 2008 08:37 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - tilia_tomentosa - May. 7th, 2008 02:53 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - oakenking - May. 7th, 2008 02:53 pm (UTC) - Expand
May. 6th, 2008 11:49 pm (UTC)
What a wonderful adventure you just took me on!
May. 7th, 2008 12:35 am (UTC)
Wow, what a fabulous box.
May. 7th, 2008 12:49 am (UTC)
Now I'm looking for an excuse to order something from India!
May. 7th, 2008 01:13 am (UTC)
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( 38 comments — Leave a comment )