CRAFTS OF INDIA / JAMDANI / MUSLINS
- Natural-coloured, unbleached cotton grounds with bleached white cotton supplementary work are traditional, while pastel-coloured grounds with white supplementary work and dark-coloured grounds (black, dark blue and dark red) with white supplementary threads are modern innovations.
- Any of the above with coloured supplementary threads, or tan' supplementary threads, or dark grounds with only zari supplementary work are also seen. Traditional jamdanis are made in Tanda in Uttar Pradesh. Finely patterned white jamdanis have been made there since the 19th century. White on white patterning woven with a thicker thread distinguishes Tanda jamdani dupatta or yardage today. The most exclusive of these delicate muslins were those that had a distinctive style of discontinuous supplementary weft work woven into the fabric, usually in red and black.
- This creates opaque patterning against a transparent ground. Two weavers usually weave Jamdani on a simple handloom, one adding each supplementary weft motif by hand using individual spools of thread. No warp-lifting mechanisms such as those of a draw loom are necessary, although it makes this labour-intensive fabric prohibitively expensive. In 1903, when a silk sari cost as little as 5 rupees, a jamdani sari fetched 500 rupees.
- Jamdani weaving is labour intensive, requiring a delicate touch. Seated at the loom, the master and his assistant weave patterns with colour or metal thread, once guided by designs on paper but now by verbal instructions. The jamdani work is essentially tapestry work, the wefts forming the pattern where needed, being threaded through the warps with a wooden or bamboo needle.
- By using thread as fine as the compound weaves, the weft patterns seem to merge and float within the cloth, rather than appear as an overlay or woven decoration.
- Tangil - The muslins of, Dacca have been famous for centuries and have been considered the masterpieces of the Indian weavers in cotton. TheTangail woven today originated from these Daccai muslins. The earliest known reference of this fabric was in Kautilyas‘ Arthshastra’, which mention the fine cottons of vanga now in Bangladesh.
- Dacca muslins, acquired a standard, which had ever been done or known. It was only during British period that the skilled craftsman gradually faded away and the crude version, a coarser cotton came into existence thus the birth of Tangil sari took place.
- These saris were originally woven by the Basak' community (now in Bangladesh).
- It was after partition of Bengal and settled in Phulia Nadia District were the Nakaha weavers.
- Another group settled in Nabadwip Dhatrigram and Khulna. These weavers excelled in the work on Tangail sari.
- There is also another concentration of artisans weaving, medium quality sari in Birbhum district. The total turnover of Tangi saris exceeds Rs.15 crores per annum in a price range of Rs.100 to Rs.1500.
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