The Glorious History of Jamdani Weaving

Have you ever heard the old proverb that goes, "An artist paints his own nature into his works by dipping his brush in his soul and painting it onto the canvas?" That is precisely what Jamdani weaving is all about. Jamdani weaving is one-of-a-kind weaving, where an artist pours not only his heart and soul into the creation of a masterpiece but also his sweat and blood into the process. Because jamdani weaving is so complicated and time-consuming, it could take up to almost an entire year to complete a jamdani saree that has been hand-woven to perfection. And precisely because of this, jamdani weaving was recognised as part of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO in 2013.

 

The History of Jamdani Weaving

Let’s take a deep dive into Jamdani weaving to know how this glorious fabric takes its form. A long time ago, maybe in the 9th century, a traveller by the name of Sulaiman made reference to a delicately woven sheer cloth that was manufactured in the region that is now known as Bangladesh and had the potential to even pass through a ring. Early references to Jamdani can be traced back to the time of Kautilya (300 BC), who wrote about the fabric in his work called the Arthashastra. The words "jama" meaning cloth and "dana," which refer to woven motifs, are where the name "Jamdani" originates. Since then, the jamdani has made its way around the world, and at one point in history, the people of Greece considered it to be silk of the finest quality. It is believed that the traditional techniques of Bengal were combined with the muslin production techniques used during the 14th century to create the jamdani fabric.

 

The Weaving Process of Jamdani

Jamdani dupatta

So here’s an explanation of how the Jamdani weaving is done. The Jamdani technique involves manually interweaving designs into the cloth by combining thin warp threads with a thicker thread. Weaving in the Jamdani style is similar to tapestry work since it involves passing small shuttles of coloured, gold, or silver threads through the weft. Designs can be anything from the "butidar," in which the entire sari is covered in flowery patterns, to the "tercha," which features floral patterns that are striped diagonally, to the "jhalar" (a network of floral motifs). Muslin, the finest cloth that has ever been woven by human hands, served as the foundation for the Jamdani process when it was first developed. It is descended from a number of ethereal muslin fabrics that were formerly produced in India but became extinct in the late 18th century when the British East India Company began a campaign to systematically destroy India's textile industry. When weaving, a Jamdani weaver may have anywhere from 100 to 300 distinct weft threads spread out in front of him at any given time. A skilled weaver may produce between a quarter of an inch and one inch of fabric in a normal day's work. This indicates that the process of weaving a single Jamdani sari might take a weaver more than a year to complete. The degree to which this is the case is largely determined by the complexity and density of the design. Having said that, the Jamdani weaving process for a sari can take anything from three months to three years, and it requires a pair of weavers to work for ten hours a day.

Jamdani Sarees & Dupatta : A Modern Twist

Jamdani Salwar Set

Traditionally, Jamdani weaving was limited to just sarees. However, as a result of the progression of time, this beauty has manifested itself in a variety of ways. The traditional Jamdani saree is often woven in a delicate muslin cloth. The Jamdani suits and dupattas available today all have a higher gsm. This is done in order to cater to the requirements of today's fashion-conscious consumers. Not only has the material undergone transformation, but also the design and pattern of it. A great number of contemporary motifs are being woven into the fabric in order to give it a rich and trendy appearance and feel.

Ethnic Elements is an exclusive online store for handloom clothes that provides you with the ideal combination of art and contemporary attire. You can shop for authentic Jamdani suit sets and Jamdani dupattas here. These Jamdani suits and dupattas are sourced from some of the best weavers in Bangladesh and West Bengal. We are ecstatic to be able to provide you with handloom goods that were woven by some of the most skilled artisans in India, who also happen to be our suppliers. When it comes to donning an authentic handloom that has been made to satisfy the standards and preferences of contemporary fashion, we want you to experience the best quality. So, do check out our online store at Ethnic Elements.  Make sure that you give us a like on Facebook and that you follow us on Instagram so that you get to know about the newest additions to our collection.

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