CRAFTS OF INDIA / JAMDANI / TRIVIA
- The word Jamdani is of Persian origin, from 'Jam' meaning flower and 'Dani' meaning a vase or a container. The earliest mention of jamdani and its development as an industry is found in Kautikaya (about 3rd century BC), where it is stated that this was used in Bangla and Pundra.
- Though mostly used for saris, Jamdani is also used for scarves and handkerchiefs. Jamdani is believed to be a fusion of the ancient cloth-making techniques of Bengal (perhaps 2,000 years old) with the muslins produced by Bengali Muslims since the 14th century.
- Jamdani is the most expensive product of Dhaka looms since it requires the most lengthy and dedicated work.
- Jamdani patterns are mostly of geometric, plant, and floral designs and are said to originate in Persian and Mughal fusion thousands of years ago. Due to the exquisite painstaking methodology required, only aristocrats and royal families were able to afford such luxuries.
- We do not know exactly when jamdani came to be adorned with floral patterns of the loom. It is, however, certain that in the Mughal period, most likely during the reign of either Emperor Akbar (1556–1605) or Emperor Jahangir (1605–1627), the figured or flowered muslin came to be known as the jamdani.
- Forbes Watson in his valuable work titled Textile Manufactures and Costumes of the people of India holds that the figured muslins, because of their complicated designs, were always considered the most expensive productions of the Dhaka looms.
- From the middle of the 19th century, there was a gradual decline in the jamdani industry.
- A number of factors contributed to this decline. The subsequent import of lower quality, but cheaper yarn from Europe, started the decline.
- Most importantly, the decline of Mughal power in India, deprived the producers of Jamdani of their most influential patrons. Villages like Madhurapur and Jangalbari, (both in the Kishoreganj district), once famous for the jamdani industry went into gradual oblivion.
- Despite the steep decline in-between, Jamdani has once again bounced back to woo the fashion world and regained most of the glory of the past.
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