Friday, April 14, 2017

Weaving Process of Bengal's Pride Jamdani Sarees

Jamdani is a kind of cotton saree that is worn by women in Bengal. As far as the different varieties of muslin go it is undoubtedly one of the finest. It can be a figured or there may be flowers woven into these sarees. As far as the weavers in both Bengal and Bangladesh go it is said to be the most-artistic textile ever. They are normally woven in brocade loom. Apart from that there is a weft technique that is used to weave these sarees. This particular weft for weaving these sarees can be regarded as a supplementary one.
Weft technique of weaving
In this method of weaving Jamdani sarees artistic motifs are used and they are produced by the weavers who use a weft that happens to be non-structural in nature. The weft used normally to weave these sarees is also there in this case. It is supposed to hold together the warp threads. The standard weft plays an important role by creating fabric that is sheer and fine in nature. The supplementary weft has thicker threads and its role here is to add some detailed and delicate patterns to the mix. In this case the weavers add each and every supplementary weft motif manually.

Addition of supplementary weft motif
This addition takes place when the warp threads are interlaced into the warp. For this purpose fine bamboo sticks are used alongwith individual thread spools. As a result of such intricate artwork you see so many different kinds of patterns in these sarees. It looks as if they are floating on a surface that seems to shimmer like there is no tomorrow. There is a remarkable aspect of this particular pattern of weaving – it is not outlined or sketched on the fabric. Rather than that it is drawn on a graph paper and then placed beneath the warp.
Traditional Dhakai Jamdani Sarees of Bengal
Colour palette
The decorative motifs on Jamdani sarees are woven normally in grey and white. Quite often you would also see a combination of golden cotton threads being used. Normally Jamdani work is done on sarees but it can be done on handkerchiefs and scarves as well. It is said that the cloth-weaving technique of Jamdani evolved in ancient Bengal. It is said to be around 2000 years old. It was primarily done on muslins by Bengali Muslims, who started this particular tradition during the 14th century. Normally Jamdani sarees are quite expensive because it takes a lot of time and a whole lot of dedication.

Jamdani patterns
Jamdani patterns are mostly geometric in shape. However, floral and plant-based designs are quite common as well. It is said that these designs came into being around a millennium back. Since such exquisite and painstaking methods were used in order to craft these sarees only members of royal families were able to afford them. However, over time, these patterns have changed. There is no specific date to determine when the floral patterns on Jamdani sarees came into being. It is said however that it was either during the reign of Akbar or his son Jahangir that this work came to be known as Jamdani.

History of Jamdani
Forbes Watson has written a valuable book named Textile Manufactures and Costumes of the people of India, where he has said that these figured muslins were the costliest products of their kind in the looms that operated in pre-Independence Dhaka (then known as Dacca).  Much of this had to do with the fact that the sarees had quite complicated designs. The industry itself started to face some problems from the middle part of the 19th century. However, it still remains very much in fashion today. 

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