Dhakai Jamdani Saree and its vast range
Posted on August 01 2022
Dailybuyys loves their sarees, and our beloved Dhakai Jamdani Sarees definitely tops the list. Dhakai Jamdani Sarees are not only a piece of saree but a streak of nostalgic memory. Dhakai Jamdani sarees has a history as beautiful as its weave.
The word "Jamdani" is translated into "Jam" which means flowers and "Dani" which means vase relating to the floral motifs woven into the fabric. The earliest mention of Jamdani sarees is found in Chanakya's Arthasastra dated at 3rd century BC. The Dhakai Jamdani Saree gets its name from the place of origin. These were famously woven in Dhaka, Bangladesh. The weave had flourished under Mughal patronage but saw a gradual decline during the British reign. The imposition of taxable duty on the weavers had pushed the fine jamdani weave to the back-end. Export of cheaper yarn from European countries in the 19th century was one of the primary reasons for the decline of Jamdani. Also, with the decline of Mughal rule in India, producers of Jamdani were deprived of their most influential patrons. Villages like Madhurapur and Jangalbadi, once famous for the intricate Jamdani industry, faded into oblivion. Post the partition, many weavers migrated to present day West Bengal and settled around Phulia region. They set the foundation stone and marked the beginning of the Jamdani art form in Bengal.
The base fabric is made with unbleached yarn and woven with bleached yarn creating a light and dark effect. The process is extremely time consuming as it involves a tedious form of hand looming. The making of Jamdani involves the supplementary weft technique along with the standard weft technique. With the latter, the base sheer material is made on which thicker threads are used to create designs. Each of the supplementary weft motif is then added manually by interlacing the weft threads with fine bamboo sticks using individual spools. This process results in the vibrant patterns that appear to float on a shimmering surface, which is a feature unique to Jamdani sarees.
One of the most laborious forms of handloom weaves, it’s no surprise that it is considered to be one of the most prized fabrics in the world. Jamdani weaving is time-consuming and labour-intensive because of the richness of its motifs, which are created directly on the loom using the discontinuous weft technique. Threads of gold, copper and silver are usually woven together with these sarees to create a variety of patterns and motifs on a brocade loom. It has the supplementary weft technique along with the standard weft technique. The standard weft creates a fine, sheer fabric while the supplementary weft with thicker threads adds the intricate patterns to it. Each of the supplementary weft motif is manually added by interlacing the weft threads with fine bamboo sticks using individual spools. It gives an illusion of the designs floating on a shimmering surface, a characteristic of Jamdani weaves.
TYPES OF JAMDANI SAREE WEAVES
Jamdani sarees are categorised based on the regions they are originated in.
Dhakai Jamdani from Bangladesh are the original and the finest sarees with the most elaborate workmanship. One Dhakai Jamdani saree could take anywhere between nine months and a year to weave.
The Tangail Jamdani is woven in the Tangail district of Bangladesh. Traditionally, these Jamdani sarees have broad borders featuring lotus, lamp and fish scale motifs.
The Shantipur Jamdani from Shantipur, West Bengal, is similar to Tangail Jamdanis. They have a fine texture and these sarees are often decorated with elegant striped motifs.
The Dhaniakhali version of Jamdani has a tighter weave as compared to the Tangail and Shantipur varieties. These are marked by bold colours and dark, contrasting borders.
Muslin Jamdani sarees are borne out of fine muslin cloth on which decorative motifs are woven on the loom, typically in grey and white. Often a mixture of cotton and gold or copper thread was used to weave motifs to the saree.
Resham Jamdani is a much more modern weave variant. Silk also known as "resham" in Urdu is woven with fine cotton muslin yarns to create Resham Jamdani Saree. The borders and floral motifs are woven in gold, silver and copper zari threads creating a glamorous and royal look.
Despite all the plus points, the art form has seen a decline as the weavers don’t find the profession as rewarding anymore. With the intention to preserve an art-form as old and nostalgic as the history of Bengal itself, we at Dailybuyys are working with authentic Jamdani weavers from across the state and presenting to the world. We intend to popularize Jamdani weave sarees globally.