Jamdani Weaving Tradition of Burdwan Part II

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Jamdani Weaving Tradition of Burdwan Part Two

6 Tools and Equipments

6.1 Pre-Loom Accessories Creel The creel is a fairly large wooden frame with steel rods running through it. These rods are slipped into holes on the vertical lines of the frame. However some creels have each steel rod working independently for each reel. This creel will have the wooden frame divided into a number of columns as well. The creel is used for drumming to speed up the process of making a long and wide warp. The spool of yarn is divided into a number of reels which are then used for drumming.

Swift The swift is used to mount the hank. It is a wheel like structure made of wood and yarn. The wheel has a central axis with six arms protruding on either side. Another device is used to plant a swift in a manner that lets it rotate as the charkha tugs at the hank. Two wooden planks are mounted on another plank. The top of the vertical planks have groves within which the swift is placed and secured. As the groove is deep the hank can rotate quite freely.

Charkha The charkha is the one weaving apparatus which has been evolved greatly over the years. It consists of a wheel and a peg which are connected with a yarn so when the wheel is revolved the peg revolves as well. The pern or bobbin is fixed onto the peg and yarn is winded onto it from a hank or creel of yarn. The older charkhas were made of different wooden wheels but today they use discarded cycle wheels which are bigger and make the entire process much faster. A number of weavers still use the wooden charkhas which are smaller.

Bobbin and Pirn Bobbins come in two sizes. The larger bobbins are made of the jute stem and are used for warping with the creel. The jute stems are harvested once a year and after the fibre is collected the jute stems are made hollower by plunging a hot rod into them. The warp bobbins look quite unfinished as they are relatively unimportant. The weft bobbins are called pirns and are small and highly finished. They were traditionally made of teak and lasted for many years. The bobbin is tailor made for a particular shuttle. It is generally a tapered piece made of soft wood, about 10 cm in length. It is fixed on the peg in the shuttle. Pirns of plastic have also been seen in use on handlooms. Muslin weaving requires a small and light shuttle.

Spinning Wheel The spinning wheel works in much the same way a charkha does and is primarily used to spin cotton fibre into yarn. While this activity is at a standstill it can be used as a charkha to wind bobbins.


Jute bobbin

Plastic pirn



Bobbin mounted on an earthern vessel during winding.


6.2 The Loom The loom is called tant. The jamdani loom is a marvel of simplicity, made primarily of wood and bamboo. Jamdani is woven on a simple pitloom with no attachments of any kind. Locally produced, it speaks of the ingenuity of the weaving community. Henry Glassie has given a graphic description of the loom:

that fabric woven on pit looms retains better the character of the fibre due to its proximity to the ground. Over the years, the throw shuttle pitloom has been replaced by the fly shuttle pitloom. In the throw shuttle loom, the shuttle is thrown across the shed by hand, whereas, in the fly shuttle loom, the sley carries a race board and two shuttle boxes, one on either side, with a picker propelled by means of strings. Hence, it is more production friendly than the throw shuttle loom.

“The loom, a pit loom like those common in the Indian subcontinent, has two harnesses and a swinging beater, something like the takahata of Japan or the old European box loom. Four planted posts of bamboo outline the frame. The beam from which the warp is unrolled hangs from the back posts. The beam on which the cloth is rolled rides on a pair of stout posts in the front. Both beams are levered and pegged in tension. Sticks lashed as grits between the posts at the sides carry a pole that crosses above, end to end, parallel to the cloth and warp beams. From it the loom’s machinery dangles.

The looms at Jyotish Debnath’s facility in Kalna were of two kinds. The ones on which fine muslin jamdani was being woven were smaller, almost half the height of the the usual dimensions. They explained that this modification had been made to make the loom less heavy and more approriate to handle the delicateness of threads that are used to weave muslin.

Strings fall to hold sticks at both ends of which strings drop to suspend the heddles through each of which, in alteration, half the warp is threaded. Strings from each heddle are tied to pedals in the pit, so the shed can be shifted by tramping down on one, then the other. From the beam above, a reed beater hangs” (Glassie 357).

In some of the looms at Ghoranash, we saw Chittaranjan attachments. “The Chittaranjan loom was made by Basantho Debnath in Bodobazar Thana of Narayanganj subdivision in Dhaka district. It was called the Basantho Tant loom, but Basantho himself named it after the freedom fighter Chittaranjan Das. The loom was manufactured by the the Choudhury Company of Dhaka and came to West Bengal only after the partition in a big way, carried by the migrant

The pitlloom sits on the ground with two peddles set in the pit for the weaver to operate. It is said 115

weavers from East Bengal. Since partition, the fly-shuttle pit loom has been largely replaced by the semi-automatic Chittaranjan loom. In this loom the take-up motion, that is the rolling of the woven cloth on to the cloth beam and the let-off motion, that is the unwinding of the warp from the warp-beam, are both automatic. In addition the three motions of shedding, picking and beating can be simultaneously operated. In the traditional fly-shuttle handloom, the weaver had to stop every now and then to release the tension of the warp before weaving could continue.

sleigh does not have to be pushed and pulled back with manual force, as in the case of the fly-shuttle pitloom. In this way the Chittaranjan loom is able to achieve a speed of 110 picks per minute compared to the fly-shuttle pitloom which could reach a maximum of 52 picks per minute. The Chittarajan loom leads to a tremendous saving in both physical labour and time. Further, the chain dobby and jacquard have also facilitated mass production. The combination of these factors radically alters the scale and quality of handloom production. In the wake of the unprecedented competition from mill-made saris, the Chittaranjan attempts to enhance the range and quality of handloom production.�

The sleigh in the Chittaranjan loom has a fixed motion, being attached to a fly wheel, so that with the slightest guidance it can move backwards and forwards on its own momentum. Thus, the

A weaver in Goarah, Kalna, working on the pit loom.


6.3 Parts of the Loom

1 10





2 6



1 Frame 2 Beater 3 Cloth beam 4 Warp beam 5 Shuttle box

6 Reed 7 Wooden socket 8 Shafts 9 Treadles 10 Picking cord


Frame The frame is the obvious frame like structure in the loom. Its dimensions are calculated by the width of the sley and the beams of the loom. The frame has two side bars which contain groves within which the sley is mounted. The sley can also be adjusted to be higher or lower. The sley is kept in place by a wooden batten on its top and bottom.

front of the warp through heald eyes that are housed in shafts. After the warp ends pass through the shafts they are knotted onto a rod attached to the cloth beam or the weavers beam. The fabric that is woven is rolled onto this beam at the front of the loom. This is what we refer to as take-up. The take-up motion is initiated by let-off where the warp is released from the back of the loom. Both beams are fixed with iron pins on either side in a manner that allows them to rotate freely on their axis. Both beams have levers through which the tension of the ends can be adjusted.

Sley The sley is that part of the loom which holds the reed and on the adjoining surface on which the shuttle moves to and fro on. The fly shuttle loom’s sley has a ‘race’ which guides the shuttle from one shaft box to the other. The two shaft boxes are located on either end of the sley and house the shuttle. It is from here (from the picker) that the shuttle receives the impetus from the pull of the picking cord.

Shuttle Box The sley has two small wooden boxes on both its ends. The shuttle box contains within it the ‘picker’ which is attached to the picking cord. When the picking cord is pulled the picker gives the shuttle the impetus to race to the other shaft box. The shuttle boxes are both connected to the pulling cord by the pickers they house.

Side bar or Side frame “There are wooden bars fixed on both sides of the sley. These bars add to the strength of the sley and the top rest of the sley rests on these side bars to which it is fixed by iron screws” (Maniar 25).

Picker The picker is a cube of wood that is fixed within the shuttle box. The picker is sometimes made of leather. This picker has two holes through which a cord emerges that is then connected to the pulling cord. The cord is purposely not a continuous length as the knot that connects the cord connected to the picker with the pulling cord is adjustable therefore keeping the pulling cord free to be moved up, down or centered. When the pulling cord is given a deliberate tug right the shuttle moves right and subsequently when pulled to left makes the shuttle return.

Top bar or Sley top rest The sley is suspended from the top bar which is a wooden beam fixed horizontally on top of the sley. The top bar is what holds the side bars in position. The sley is given mobility by iron pins that connect it to the top bar. As it is fixed by iron pins and not completely tethered the sley gains its ability to go to and fro and beat the fabric with the reed mounted on it.

Beater The beater is the portion of the loom that is assembled to house the reed. There reed is fixed in between two wooden caps. These caps may work in tandem with the sley and therefore run through the length of the sley. The two wooden caps and fixed together with a nut and bolt. The beater is

Beams Beaming is the process of creating a warp of the required length and winding it onto a beam. The beam which the warp is wound around is called the warp beam. This beam is situated at the back of the loom. The warp ends are brought to the


also attached to the frame by rope which allows for adjustment.

eye in centre. While these are not movable with as much as ease as the twine version they seldom break. In Bengal, the twine healds are still very much in use.

Reed The reed is fundamental to the weaving process. It was contrived to keep the warp yarns separate and therefore, untangled. It also keeps them at a desired distance from one another therefore the density of the warp can be decided accurately. The reed is mounted with the beater on the sley of the loom. It acts as a guide for the shuttle. With the movement of the sley the reed is taken forward to beat the weft yarn to the fell of the cloth. The reed is about 3-4 inches in height and runs the length of the sley or is fixed in accordance with the width of the fabric to created. Traditional reeds used for muslin jamdani were made of fine bamboo strips mounted between two semi-circular bars to create a frame. The reeds of today are made of iron and often create rust which damages the warp ends. The traditional bamboo reed collected no rust and the warp ends could move with ease through the fine slots. The reed in essence behaves as a comb. The finer combs create finer fabric and the more spaced out reeds create coarser count fabrics. There are many grades of reed. The art of making the bamboo reed is almost redundant now although a number of weavers still use them.

Two types of healds: metal (left) and yarn (right).

Healds Traditional and indigenous healds were made by hand with a strong twine to withstand friction. The healds were loops of twine fastened to wooden sticks. In the centre a loop or a ‘heald eye’ is created through which a warp end is passed. The healds are fastened onto wooden sticks which are placed within shaft boxes thus separating the warp yarns into a minimum of two parts. These shafts are placed right before the reed. The treadles control these yarns and when any one layer of yarns is elevated a ‘shed’ is created and the shuttle is passed through it carrying the weft yarn. The healds of today are made of iron string with a little

Wooden Sockets “There are two sockets made out of a wooden plank and planted on either side of the pit in the ground. The part of the plank which protrudes outside the ground level has a socket-like cavity into which the edges of the cloth beam can be fixed” (Maniar 27). Shafts Shafts are used primarily to segregate the warp ends to create woven structures. The shafts are made of nylon or cotton thread loops or metal



strings which are healds. Each shaft will have a number of healds and the shaft is then tethered to its respective treadle in the pit. The shaft is situated within a shaft box. The loops are tethered top and bottom to two parallel wooden rods. With healds made of yarn two loops interlock in the centre to create the heald eye.

of flexible wood. The format remains the same. Shuttle The shuttle carries the weft yarn from one selvedge to the other. Shuttles are tailor made for specific looms as they must be in sync with the shuttle race and shuttle boxes on the sley. The shuttle is made of seasoned timber or other weightier wood. The finer the fabric to be woven the lighter the shuttle is made to be. The bottom of the shuttle has wheels or rollers on either end embedded into the wood. They protrude just enough so they are made to hug the shuttle race and the reed. These shuttles are called fly shuttles or roller shuttles.

Treadles Treadles are wooden peddles situated in the pit of the loom. The front of the peddles have a hole from which a yarn is passed and then attached to the shafts.The base of the peddle contains two holes through which metallic cords are passed and fixed to the floor of the pit. The iron rods act as a pivot for the treadles. The front of the treadle is elevated and the back remains tethered to the ground therefore when pressure is applied with the foot the yarns attached to a specific shaft are lifted, creating the shed.

A shuttle is crafted out of a rectangular slab of wood. It is first given a hollow depth on the upper surface by scooping out wood after which the ends are tapered to create the shuttles distinct boat shape. Within the hollow a length of iron rod protrudes. This rod is fixed with a joint so that it can be pulled up to slip in the weft bobbin and then pushed back down. The bobbin is made in such a way that it locks itself into the shuttle. The weft yarn is then inserted into an eye which then emerges from another eye and is re-inserted only to emerge again. The final opening has been strategically placed to reduce risk of entanglement during the weaving process.

Temple The temple is a unique device created by weavers primarily to maintain the width of the fabric. The temple is made of wooden sticks with pins protruding out from one edge. This edge is fastened to the selvedge. The two sticks then overlap and form a cross in the centre of the fabric. The ends are then fastened together with a thread therefore creating a triangle. This edge of the stick has nails as well which are gently hooked into the fabric. The temple is fastened a little below the fell of the cloth and is removed and adjusted as fabric gets woven. The temple checks the shrinkage caused due to the pull of the weft and maintains the tension length wise as well. Another kind of temple has two whip thin sticks



7 Making of a Jamdani

7.1 Sizing Sizing is a process used for the application of a film forming polymer to provide temporary protection to the warp yarns from abrasion and other types of stresses generated during weaving, while the warp is on the loom, in order to reduce the yarn breakage. With sizing, the strength abrasion resistance - of the yarn improves and the hairiness of yarn decreases.

Tetul is added to the sizing medium because the sour extracts inhibit insects from attacking the sized yarn. Another theory says that citrus substances like lemon, tamarind, help cutting out the oil that is inherently present in cotton. One needs to know exactly when the starch, cooked and soaked popped rice can be mixed. They cannot just be mixed when the ingredients are ready but when the moisture in the air and temperature are just right – at four in the morning. A large high edged stone platter is taken and the khoi-bhaat mixture is combined with the tamarind-rice starch water. The mixture is then kneaded into the cotton strands deftly, ensuring that there is not a drop of excess moisture in the strands. This is done for about twenty five minutes or so by which time the entire mixture is absorbed by the yarn.

Sizing can be done by machine or hand. Starch is often used as sizing for cotton warp yarns. Rice is used as the starch sizing medium in Burdwan. A special variety of rice – Kolma or Dohor Nagra – is preferable for this. Rice and the popped version made from the same, called khoi, are essential for the sizing mixture. The cooked rice ‘bhaat’ and popped rice have to be converted into a starch strong enough to hold through the infinite movements that go into weaving the fabric. There are precise measures of how much cooked rice must be added to previously soaked popped rice and mixed together with the starchy water produced by rice as it cooks.

The little nuances involved in the sizing process can make a big difference to the smooth functioning of the warp yarn while winding, drumming and weaving. Once the yarn is sized, it is spun into a skein. While spinning, the left hand of the weaver gently trembles so that the threads when dry and pulled apart reveal a webbed look. The threads cannot be allowed to stick together in a bunch. They would break when spun on to bobbins.

The starch water has to be mixed with a precise amount of tamarind pulp or tetul and the mix has to stand a couple of hours. If the starch turns sour, it will curdle. If it is too fresh it will not hold.


Yarn sizing - A photo essay A photo documentation of the process of yarn sizing which is very crucial to the weaving of fine khadi jamdani. The threads need to be treated just right - delicately but firmly. There are precise measures required to be put in the sizing mixture and little nuances which need to be followed to every detail for the starch to be applied successfully and consequently, for smooth functioning of the warp during winding.






Process of sizing yarn: 1 Mixing the warp yarn in a paste of cooked rice, puffed rice and starchy water. 2 The sized yarn stiffens after being sized. 5

3 Sized yarn hanks left to dry on the bamboo. 4 Sized yarn being disentangled before it dries up completely. 5 Once the yarn is dry, it is wound onto bobbins for warping.


7.2 Winding The warp yarn is wound onto bobbins for easy warping. The sized threads are put on the spinning wheel and transferred on to bobbins. The threads must be perfectly tight when being wound, but not so tight that they snap. The bobbins used are hollow stems from the jute plant.

of wood about 10 cm in length around which the weft yarn is wound. Pirn winding is to be done in a careful manner so as to ensure that the yarn unwinds uninterruptingly from the pirn without slipping or becoming loose while picking. The weft yarn is wound onto the pirn from a hank using a stand and winding wheel. The yarn has to be guided properly into the pirns by the finger and thumb in the form of spirals from top to bottom and then reverse.

Pirn is the tool on which the weft yarn is wound and then inserted into the shuttle. Pirns are generally either made of plastic or wood. We saw both kinds in our clusters. One is a tapered piece

An old woman in the village of Ghoranash winding yarn onto bobbins.


Photographs illustrating the process of bobbin winding.


7.3 Warping and Beaming Warping is the preparation of the base threads that run along the length of the fabric. The extent of the warp is calculated depending on the quantity of fabric to be woven. Warping is done on a drumming machine, which is why it is also known as drumming. It begins as soon as the sufficient number of bobbins are ready. These bobbins are mounted in rows on a vertical stand - creel. The thread from these bobbins is then drawn forward to the warp drum and tied to the hook there. The

number of bobbins required for preparation of the warp depends on the section of the warp being prepared. The drum is given a rotary motion by the warper and rotated till the required length of warp is ready. The length of warp can be determined by the number of rotations since the circumference of the drum is known. The process of transferring the warp sheet to the warp beam to mount on a loom is called beaming.

A woman putting bobbins on the creel according to the distribution of colour in the warp.


This page and facing page: Photo documentation of the warping and beaming process. 1,2 Warping or drumming starts with the bobbins being put on the creel according to the distribution of color in the warp. 3 They are then passed through the reed, and attached to a hook on the warping drum and rotated for as many turns as the required length of warp. 4,5 The warping drum - exterior and interior, respectively. 6 Once finsished, the knots on the length of the warp are then attached to the warp beam mounted on a stand. 7,8 The rod on the beam rotated, this time in the reverse direction until the entire warp is transferred to the beam. 9 While beaming, newspapers are fed in between successive sheets of warp to maintain appropriate tension. 1











7.4 Drafting and Denting Drafting and denting are done to keep the warp ends parallel to each other. Drafting involves passing each warp end in consecutive order through heald eyes which are mounted on a shaft according to a plan furnished by the designer. There needs to be a minimum of two shafts for weaving to happen and for the shed to form. The warp ends are distributed among the shafts as required according to the design and construction. This is done with the help of a heald hook. Denting is the process of drawing warp ends through the dents of the reed.

A shaft of the loom has been taken out and kept aside for drafting. Top left: Heald eyes made of yarn.


7.5 Weaving Weaving is the interlacement of two sets of yarns. Weaving consists of three primary motions: shedding, picking and beating.

weaving to happen. This is the take up motion. Simultaneously, the warp wound onto the warp beam located at the back (end opposite to the weaver) is let off to facilitate take up. Take up is referred to as “kapod jodano” and let off as “beam chadano” colloquially.

Shedding is the process by which some of the warp yarns are lifted in order to form the shed through which the weft can pass. This is done by pressing the foot treadles on the bottom of the pit loom. The distribution of ends on the top and bottom of the shed depends on the drafting plan and lifting order. The process of shedding is referred to as “jhaap tola” in bengali. Picking is the process by which the weft is inserted. In the fly shuttle pit loom that is used for weaving jamdani, picking is done by pulling the picker, known as “hathon” colloquially. A tug on the picker sends the shuttle flying from one end to another.

Shed formed by lifting of a shaft for weft to pass through.

Beating is the process by which the inserted weft is pushed into place in the already woven fabric. This is done by a swift motion of the beater towards the fell of the cloth. Beat up is referred to as “baan kora” colloquially. The secondary motions involved in weaving are: take up and let-off. As the cloth is being woven, the already woven fabric is wounded onto the cloth beam located in the front (on the weaver’s side) to facilitate more

Pushing the beater towards the fell of the cloth.


7.6 Extra Weft Patterning The dominant feature of jamdani is its exquisite design element, woven into perfection into the gauzy fabric. Although sometimes mistaken for embroidery, jamdani is not embroidered, but rather figured on the loom. Jamdanis are woven in plain weave, the simplest form of interlacing with supplementary extra weft. The cloth structure is very balanced and strong due to the plain weave interlacing.

flower threads between a greater or less number of the threads of the warp, in proportion to the size of the design to be formed."

In Descriptive and Historical Account of the Cotton Manufactures of Dacca (published by John Mortimer in 1851) James Taylor gives a vivid account of jamdani weaving: "In manufacturing figured (jamdani) fabrics, two weavers sit at the loom. They place the pattern, drawn upon the paper, below the warp, and range along the track of the woof a number of cut threads equal to the flowers or parts of the design intended to be made; and then, with two small fine-pointed bamboo sticks, they draw each of these threads between as many threads of the warp as may be equal to the width of the figure which is to be formed. When all the threads have been brough between the warp they are drawn close by a sroke of the lay. The shuttle is then passed by one of the weavers through the shed, and the weft having been driven home, it is returned by the other weaver. The weavers resume their work with their pointed bamboo sticks, and repeat the operations with the lay and shuttle in the manner above described, observing each time to pass the

Previously jamdani was woven by two weavers: the master weaver (ostad) and the assistant (shagird). The former used to call out the buli, verbal instructions for the motifs to be woven, to the latter who used to follow it with care.

Jamdani weaving has evolved over time and in different centres, there is much variation as well as conflicting information about the methods of weaving. There have been changes in the technique from then to now.

Now the jamdani weaving is done by one weaver only. The buli or sloka has been memorized by the weaver or else paper patterns of the design are laid under the warp thread and followed to the last detail. In some cases, the design is traced onto the warp. A long needle like tool is used for the extra weft patterning.


Clockwise from top left: Jamdani on the loom; A zoomed in detail of the extra weft patterning showing how the interlacement has taken place; Supplementary extra weft patterning being done on the loom; Jamdani sari border.


8 Design Language of Jamdani

8.1 Traditional Design Language Persian Influence in feeling and conception. This view is not surprising considering that rulers like Mohammad bin Tughluq brought in some hundreds of Persian weavers to work with their indigenous counterparts. This interaction of artisans was further strengthened by the Mughals, under whom muslins and jamdanis reached unprecedented standards of excellence�.

The patterns and motifs of jamdani are floral and geometric and believed to have strong Persian influence. Sayyada Ghuznavi, a respected historian and published author on Jamdani trade in Dhaka, writes in her essay from Textile Traditions of Bangladesh: “George Watts considered jamdani designs to be of Persian origin while Percy Brown alluded to them as being strongly Persian

Neelambari Sari: A detail of the body patterning of a late 17th century indigo sari woven in Dhaka. This design is a rare ogival repeat with two similar floral butis in a straight repeat within the ogival repeat. This sari was documented from the Weavers Studio Archives in Kolkata.


The outstanding feature of jamdani is its remarkable range of patterns executed with extreme delicacy and dexterity. The unique geometric representations of flowers, plants, leaves and creepers have been skillfully adapted to the weave of the fabric.

are repeated in a straight or half stepped repeat. The floral sprays when arranged diagonally are known as terchi. These designs in particular are difficult to work on the loom. In some terchi layouts the designs go in a zig zag formation and change direction.

Pattern Layouts

When these motifs create a network of patterns covering the entire ground they are referred to as as jhalar or jaal. These are usually all over patterns. The body patterning in this sari is an ogival jaal.

There are a few basic layouts of floral and linear designs. Individual floral motifs or sprigs scattered over the surface are called butidar. In butidar layouts the forms are not connected. The motifs

Description: White jamdani sari self woven all over in small, closely set triangular butis and with gold thread with small leaves and circles. Selvedge borders consist of two bands of motifs; outer arabesques and inner of paisleys. End piece border consists of two bands of small hexagonal gold medallions separated by black. Two large paisley konias on the outer end piece, surrounded on three sides by an arabesque with paisleys. Left Top: Detail of the back of the fabric showing the triangular butis and gold circular and diamond motifs. Left Bottom: Detail of the border showing the two bands of motifs separated by the stripes.


Colours Traditionally, jamdani was essentially white, offwhite or grey in colour. The design appeared like a shadow on the muslin. There was a wide range of jamdanis in whites, off-whites with permutations between unbleached, undyed, half-bleached and white. It can be said that the simple palettes were based on the natural colors of the fibres used. Even when colour was used, it was in a manner that created contrasting monochromatic designs most often in red, black or blue against a white or natural coloured background. During its heydays, the extra weft yarns were dyed with vegetable colour; from the juice of the palash flower, fruits

like plums and pomegranates, berries and indigo. Nowadays, mostly chemical dyes are used. Over a period of time, the traditional colour palette has been added to, and today jamdanis of all colours are available.

Neelambari The neelambari is the best known among the colored jamdanis. It has an indigo body ornamented with silver/gold or madder red that comes up strikingly against the dark base. It is known to have been worn in Bengal for the devi puja on Kartik Amavasya, the moonless night during Navratri, coinciding with Diwali, the festival of lights, a celebration of the Goddess in her most benign and enigmatic form.

Neelambari Sari: A detail of the body patterning of a late 17th century indigo sari woven in Dhaka. This design is a rare ogival repeat with two similar floral butis in a straight repeat within the ogival repeat. This sari was documented from the Weavers Studio Archives in Kolkata.


“In terms of color and design, contemporary jamdanis fall into six categories: those with (1) natural-coloured, unbleached cotton grounds with bleached white cotton supplementary work (2) pastel-coloured grounds with white supplementary work (3) dark-coloured grounds (usually black, dark blue, dark red) with white supplementary threads; (4) any of the above, with coloured threads, either of similar or contrasting tones (5) any of the above combinations with zari supplementary threads as part of the mix; or (6) dark grounds with only zari supplementary work.�

Left: A layout of the sari, showing the vast repetoire of motifs and designs used in just one sari which is full of rich cultural overlays. Top Right: Detail of the face of the sari and the zari ogival pattern woven into the indigo fabric. Middle Right: Detail of the back of the striped patterning in the sari. Bottom Right: Detail of the front of the saris border showing the selvedge with two strips of zari in the warp.


Traditional Motifs

Some of the names of the more elabrate designs and motifs are as follows: pati (petal), angti (ring), baghnoli or bagher paa (tiger claws or paws), shankha (shell), dubla (grass), phool (flower), shapla (lotus), sabudana (barley), kori (bud), chandrahaar (moon necklace).

Over the years jamdani designs have taken on the indigenous names drawn from images surrounding the weavers world. Most jamdani weavers in olden days were Muslim and were forbidden by their religion to depict human form. They took inspiration from nature and the elements. The motifs reflect their own depiction and representation of everyday objects from their environment, especially plants: petals, buds, flowers and creepers.

The popular terchis are: karat (saw), jungly (wild), adarpana (ginger), phool (flower), kolapana (banana bunch), paan (betel leaf), sabudana (sago), neempata (margosa leaf). Some of the popular buti deigns are: ashrafi (gold coin), juhiphool (flower), tara (star), sandesh (sweet), dalim (pomegranate), amriti (sweet), shapla (lotus), chira (pressed rice), singara (a triangular snack), korola (bitter gourd), patabahar (croton). The repertoire of border designs is eqally rich, with some of the forward ones being inchi (inch), angurlata (grape creeper), shaal (sal tree), mayurpench (peacock), goolapchar (rose), dubla (grass), kachi (scissors), kakoi (comb), belpata (leaf), doringphool (flower), patabahar (croton), and kuilata (flower). The most acclaimed motifs were panna hazara, phulwar, toradar, guldasta and jamewar. Variations of the turanj (cone) were used to great effect as corner motifs.

One of four jamdani saris documented at the Indian Museum in Kolkata. This sari in its visual language - with large paisleys as the konia motifs - is typical of jamdani saris woven in Dhaka, Bangladesh in the late 19th century.

One of many jamdani’s in the V&A archive. This sari has indigo and madder patterning with the same paisley motif in the corners. The paisley is also made up of intricate patterning. This sari was woven in Dhaka, Bangladesh in the 19th century.


While the anchal (sari end section) and borders are generally coordinated with the motifs and patterns on the zameen, ground of the sari, the most complex patterning is done on the anchal. Being the most visible part of the sari, it is decorated with intricate, sometimes large scale, designs. One of the most distinctive designs seen on the endpiece is the konia, or corner motif, woven with an ornamental mango or paisley on one or both corners as is seen in this sari.’ This sari was documented at the Weaver’s Studio Archive, and is from the late 19th century. Description: White sari woven all over in small circular butis and larger circular floral and foliate medallions. Wide selvedge borders made up of three rows of motifs woven in blue, each sandwiched between thin bands of diamonds. End piece borders made of two rows of triangles woven on a background of horizontal stripes, separated by a row of six petalled flowers. Large paisley konias, each surrounded on three sides by an arabesque. Top: Detail of the anchal with the large paisley surrounded by floral motifs. Bottom Left: Back of the fabric where details of the connecting yarn for extra weft patterning are visible. Bottom Right: Detailed view of the white on white traditional patterning on the sari. This motif is a traditional cluster motif, a buta surrounded by tiny butis with little breathing space.


8.2 Contemporary Design Language Introduction


Jamdani is a traditional craft linked to the state of West Bengal and also present day Bangladesh. Clusters that have developed all over India have evolved the craft in different ways. In West Bengal however, there is still much resemblance to the traditional design language of the muslins produced in Dhaka in the days of old. While a majority of the fabrics we came across do adhere to this description there are also relatively newer and more modern designs and products not only in regard to the colors and patterning but also in terms of tiny details within the products.

While the traditional formats such as butidar which are most popular in stoles are still prevalent, we also saw new formats. One that prominently stood out is large scale patterning through the centre of the stole. The colours used are reminiscent of the traditional indigo and madder palette. The fabric in its construction was more opaque than traditional muslin.

This chapter is a brief overview of the newer styles and aesthetics that are slowly developing. This craft has always had immense potential to expand its repertoire and transform its identity even with slight, seemingly insignificant changes. Within this chapter are cited a few apt examples that clarify the direction that jamdani designs and products are moving toward. The main product that seems to stand out in the mix is stoles where we see a new design language being created specifically in regard to the product.

Right: A jamdani stole with bold geometric patterning developed by Artisana. The main form here is that of triangles and the design seems inspired by Sierpinski’s triangle, although rather simplified and not adhering to it very strictly.


Top: Detail of the front of the stole with focus on the texture and weave of the extra weft patterning. Left: Back of the stole where one can see the neatly woven hand-picked motifs. Right: Detail of the selvedges of the stole. Both the selvedges are in different colors. This in itself is contemporary and speaks volumes about the fresh approach to designing handloom jamdani products today. Such details are possible to change in products such as stoles which are by nature contemporary.


Forms and Treatment While various forms of nature were a large part of the jamdani repertoire, the mughal philosophy forbid the the reproduction of any living forms even in woven fabric. Today birds, elephants, dogs and other animalistic forms have found their way into this already rich tradition. Even the manner in which the forms were stylized has been altered drastically. In the stole to the right, we see birds flying in the sky. The form is not obviously that of a bird. Nor is there any shadow and light to create dimension. And yet we not only see the contour of a bird flying but we see the manner in which one wing is at the fore front while the other flaps at the back. This artistic abstraction of forms is relatively new. The size of the birds has also been varied to create an illusion of foreground and background, i.e. depth. Moreover, the entire stole works as a composition with each element playing an integral role in a very apparent balance in the fabric. This is perhaps the best example we can cite as a contemporary jamdani product. The stole to the left is quite similar and is inspired by cherry blossoms. The patterning is deliberately sparse and small in scale. The miniscule butis have been scattered organically around the stole once again almost painting in weave. Another very interesting new development is the texturing within motifs. In this stole we a deliberate texturing in the birds which has been created with the help of the base yarns as well as the extra weft yarn. In jamdani fabrics developed with the jacquard attachment we see different weaves within motifs as well. In the domestic market we came across two saris which had diamond and twill weaves within the motifs.


Left: Jamdani stole with abstracted, flying birds. The entire piece as a whole serves as a composition. Each bird is abstracted with such attention to detail that it cannot help but impart so much dimension. The size of the birds has been varied to add even more dimension and create an illusion of foreground and background. Top: A bird flying left; the slightly rounded edge is the beak while the thin wisp of a line on the right is the tail. Middle: Detail of the construction. The thickness of the patterning yarn is visible as the warp yarns float above it. One clearly sees the extra weft patterning is after every other pick not every pick. Bottom: Another bird in flight. The varying texture is very prominent in the photo below. The jamdani patterning perhaps used more than one color.


Construction and Aesthetics The jamdani fabric above was captured on the loom and is reminiscent of designer saris already in the market by various known designers and brands. The construction is an exagerrated constrast of transparency and opacity. The base yarns are almost invisible and the motifs appear to be floating of their own will. We also once again see a living form represented in weave. Various forms of birds and animals have been recurring forms we observed throughout our study albiet treated in very different ways. The sari to the right is also of similar construction and yet more akin with traditional jamdani in its format which is a diagonal jaal called tercha. This is a traditional design called the panna hazara which means a thousand butis.

Top: A weaver weaving a sari with a very transparent base fabric and yellow owl motifs. Middle and Bottom: A panna hazara sari from Artisana woven with a similar base yarn.


8.3 Tangail Jamdani From our interactions with weavers in the remotest parts of Burdwan, with entrepreneurs and designers working with Jamdani, and while delving into the social, economic and political aspects that played a role in the identity of Jamdani that exists today, we learnt about the shifts of population between east and west Bengal that occurred at three junctures: First, in 1905 during the first partition of Bengal; Second, during independence in 1947 with the formation of East Pakistan and West Bengal; Third, in 1971 with the transformation of East Pakistan into Bangladesh. Moreover, there have been vast shifts of population from one to other, in accordance with shifts in power and trade.

Bengal and Bihar – co-authored by Rta Kapur Chishti, aptly explains the situation and helps in solving our confusions. “… the overwhelming influence of the Dhakai Jamdani has given birth to what is referred to as the Tangail sari in West Bengal. The Tangail imitates the extra-weft loom embroidery of the original on the alternate pick, greatly simplifying the technique, reducing labour, and thereby reaching out to a much larger market than the Jamdani could have ever envisaged. The sari that goes by the name of Tangail is, however, a misnomer, for Tangail was a prominent weaving centre in the east with extra-warp weaving or fine-stripe border tradition which has over the years lost out to the extra-weft elements imitative of the Jamdani. Yet, it is this anomaly of a product, the Tangail, that is most visible not only in West Bengal but also in the urban market all over India. It has won over cotton weavers from coarsecount weaving areas in West Bengal as well as silk weavers by proving its own viability in terms of turnover, labour and markets.”

While searching for traditional Jamdanis in the markets of Gariahat, Kolkata, or, in the modest huts of Ghoranash, it was impossible to ignore the presence or influence of saris from the east. For instance, there were constant overlaps between the Tangail, Jamdani and Dhakai Jamdani saris where mostly asking for a Jamdani sari at a store generally resulted in the salesman presenting to us a Tangail or the ‘kaata sari’ – a cheaper Jacquard knock-off of the Jamdani.

So in several retail markets the sari that was being sold as a “Tangail” or a “Jamdani” was neither of the two but a mixed breed – giving rise to the name ‘Tangail Jamdani’.

With the plethora of varieties in design, construction and technique that we were exposed to, we were thoroughly puzzled about what the difference between a Tangail and a Jamdani is. This extract from Martand Singh’s book – Saris of West 148

8.4 Motif Vocabulary A craft like Jamdani has an extensive repertoire of motifs and designs. Some may be deemed traditional while others contemporary. But most contemporary motifs are descendents of traditional motifs. The entire design language has evolved from simple dots and lines to this intricate, rich textile expression. It is a common practice to create samplers to document a series of motifs. It is not just the motifs that these samplers emphasize. Through the weaving of the sampler, one may explore construction, color variations (light on dark or dark on light patterning) texturing in the jamdani extra weave, scale, different counts (contrast of transparency and solid patterning) and different formats and repeats (straight, half-stepped) as well as the space segregation (spaced out motifs or dense patterning). Weavers Studio has created many samplers in different constructions and Jamdani styles and aesthtics. We have documented four such samplers all of different lengths and construction. Right: An Indigo sampler with dark gold motifs. This is a traditional neelambari aesthetic. The construction is quite dense with the motifs woven in a slighter thicker than that of the base yarns. The top of the sampler has an interesting repeat with bands of motifs going in different directions. In butis of this size the negative space in between becomes quite important. The bands of motifs mentioned earlier seem bolder because they have no negative space. The lower portion of the sampler has very small scale motifs in arrows, giving an illusion of movement.


Top: Detail of the repeat used for a motif. Most butidar formats use this half stepped repeat. A straight repeat is less commonly used but is prevelant in stoles and some saris. Left Middle and Bottom: Detailed view of two motifs very similar in form but the negative spacing in the centre in one motif is two triangles while the other has only one square. In this manner from one traditional motif, other derivatives are formed.


Multi-colored Sampler: A sampler in cotton muslin. The fabric has been placed against the light therefore enhancing the jamdani patterning and the light cotton base fabric. This is one of the most interesting samplers as it has a variety of motifs some of which are traditional while others such as the red spaced out diamonds on the photo on the facing page. Within this sampler there are various formats, some of which have two motifs and smaller elements from those motifs are used for borders within the exploration. There are also simpler diamond and triangular cluster motifs. Clusters of squares in diamond shapes have also been used. There are some motifs with the traditional ‘daant’ which is teeth in bengali; translating to the serated edges in some S shapes motifs.



A white on white sampler exploring different butas, butis and jaals. This sampler, in line with the original colours of jamdai, looked splendid. The white motifs stood out on the white gauzy fabric, imparting to it a beautiful shadow effect. Facing page: Zoomed in view of some of the motifs on the sampler.


Traditional White on white and Indigo on Indigo: Many times samplers are created with two contrasting warps to see the effect it creates. Here the same patterns have been explored side-by side in the traditonal white on white aesthetic and indigo on indigo. The motifs and formats in this sampler are more varied and intricate than the other samplers. The design language here is complex and has been woven with immense attention to detail. We see traditional tercha motifs as well as large butas with traditional asymmetrical rectangular butis surrounding them.





One of the identifing features of jamdani are its motifs. The serrated edges or daant are a common characteristic of jamdani which are used to give form to a large number of motifs. The pradeep is a recurring motif in jamdani. Pradeep means light. Many different variations of this motif are used repetitively in the craft. These forms are varied by

increasing size or scale, making them thicker or thinner, and so on. The serrated edges have been used to articulate forms of every kind - flowers, fruits, leaves, vessels, and many more. They lend a beautiful character to this craft, and this particular style of motif has become synonymous with the craft.

Pradeep (light)

Sindoor kouto (a small container to keep vermillion)

Pata (leaf)

Flowers branching from a stem


Few other motifs - a simplified version of the previous set of motifs, in terms of the number of steps their form has.

An elaborate buta using the same style of serrated edges to create a mirrored motif of leaves, flowers and frutis. Early jamdani motifs were often inspired by nature, since muslim weavers were forbidden by their religion to craft animal and human motifs.


Here we see the evolution of a basic ‘cross’ form into various natural and abstract motifs. The number of steps, size of steps in terms of their width and height are varied. These kind of motifs are very commonly used in the tradition of jamdani weaving.




Acommon jamdani format known as ‘tercha’ meaning diagonal. This format is characterized by the formation of diagonal lines of extra weft patterning on the fabric.


Small butis commonly seen in jamdani patterned textiles.

Handloom woven fabrics and jamdani as a patterning technique are constantly evolving and this is apparent when one looks at newer designs. It is a major shift from the earlier aesthetic. We see motifs such as dogs, musical notes, elephants, and so on. Basically, jamdani is viewed more as a technique than an aesthetic, and used to draw anything and everything on fabric.


Top: A stole woven with hand-spun yarn in the weft and milled yarn in the warp seen in Ghoranash. The indigo motifs have been dyed with natural indigo. The motifs are small elehpants. Bottom: Detail of the repeat used for the butis in the stole. It is a half-stepped close repeat.


Format of a jamdani stole. The borders are elaborate since the main emphasis in a stole lies on the border, which is usually the most visible part. The body is filled with rows of butis, and so are the end-pieces on both sides. Facing page: A zoomed in view of the same stole, showing the design and spacing of the border and buti in detail.



9 Market Research

9.1 Introduction An integral part of the field research for jamdani was exploring the city of Kolkata and getting a real understanding of the product and its various markets. The proximity of this city to various production centers within West Bengal made it an apt place for a sample study.

When working with a heritage textile like jamdani, the approach itself is of utmost importance as the construct within which the craft existed is no longer able to support it. Therefore, to make the craft more sustainable several alterations must be made whether it is in terms of motifs, material, style, format or technique.

We visited various retail stores, government institutions and designer labels prior to visiting the production centers in Burdwan. After concluding our cluster study we spoke to other experts in the field to fill any gaps in our research.

These decisions are informed largely by the end consumer, brand or market segment for which they are developed. Therefore, the study of the various markets creates a holistic understanding of the system within which the craft now exists and the many hues it must now possess to do so.

The products within these three broad headings gave us a clear understanding of the different market segments and supply chains relevant to our study. It gave us the opportunity of visiting a retail store and contrasting it with the production centre where its products were developed.

This market study also enabled us to locate weaving clusters we were earlier unaware of by interacting with various persons in the field.


9.2 Local Markets We visited several stores in Kolkata that had a wide range of jamdani and tangail saris and cater to the domestic market there. Gariahat and surrounding areas in Kolkata are replete with sari shops.

festivals in twelve months) - hence, people mostly buy for celebrations and marriages. During these occasions, the locals generally prefer colorful saris. Loud, colorful, dazzling are words that could be used to describe the dressing sensibilities of the general population during festivals. This is generally accompanied with gold jewellery.

The customer is provided with a wide range of options in terms of colour, styles, the kaaj (work or technique on the sari), and pricepoints. You get a tangail jamdani for as little as Rs.500/- and as much as Rs.50,000/-. The variety one sees within these shops is astounding.

This is a major shift from the ‘white on white’ elegance that jamdani has been known for. In fact, white base jamdanis are now much less popular than they were in the past. Most saris falling in this category are not on display and are only shown to specific clients if they request a white on white traditional jamdani sari. An interesting fact to be noted here is that white on white jamdani sari’s are now treated as special category items for exclusive customers. These saris are normally pure cotton jamdanis with zari accents and elaborate jamdani work.

We visited stores such as RMCA Basak, Kanishka, Vastra Kuttim, Meera Basu, among others to gather an idea of the local market preferences. We found that the jamdanis being sold here were a complete shift from the traditional jamdanis in terms of their aesthetics. What was most striking about them was their range of colours - mostly gaudy and distinct combinations. The tangail jamdani saris in this market were mostly in bright festive colours therefore, giving us in insight into the preferences of the consumers of today. We saw contrasting and complementary colour combinations such as blue on orange, purple on orange, yellow on blue, and so o. As mentioned earlier, West Bengal is host to numerous festivals all year round - ‘Baro masher teroparban’ (thirteen 172

Jamdani saris today are available in several different formats and style patterns. Some prominent categories are mentioned below:

that were way less intricate than the ones seen on traditional dhakais. The primary reason for this cost-cutting measure is that skill levels of the weaver’s are not what they used to be and the value of such intricate work has been diminished greatly now. The product has altered as a direct result of customer feedback.

Dhakai jamdanis - The traditional white on white, with a touch of gold zari, referred to as the dhakai jamdanis. Often, these had motifs

Top Left: Dhakai jamdani Sari. The body is patterned with very tiny butis in red and grey. The slightly larger butas have a traditional jamdani treatment with the serrated edges. The border is typically dhakai with the zigzag cording technique. Top Right: We see the same border in red and hints of grey. The body has small butis, white on white. Bottom Left: A dhakai sari with a trellis pattern. The diamonds have small butis woven in the centre. Bottom Right: A sheer dhakai sari with starker butis and typical dhakai border with serrated edges and tiny butis in the body. This sari has hints of sari in the border motifs as well as the selvedge.


Tangail Jamdani - combining the sensibility

of tangail with jamdani. These have an extra warp border and sparse small jamdani butis all over. These cotton tangail saris use the same technique as jamdani hand-picking however the number of wefts in between these extra-wefts are considerable.

Large Scale Jamdani Sari - These jamdanis

had large scale jaals all over the pallav, which sometimes extended into part of the body of the sari. These were mostly big floral creepers in colours such as red, yellow, green, blue and others on a white r coloured base.

Top: Sari with geometric patterning in blocks. This aesthetic of blocks of patterning is a new trend in saris. The hints of zari make the entire sari more elegant. Bottom: A jamdani sari with small butis on a white base with jacquard motifs woven on the pallu.

The construction of these jamdanis varied vastly. Some of these had very sparse density. The ends per inch and picks per inch were very low to compensate for the fineness of yarn counts, to impart to it the translucent, gauzy character which is why these saris were heavily starched at the time of selling and had to be starched before every two or three wears or else they become very limp because of the construction. It has to be noted that the translucency in jamdani is imparted to it by the fineness of yarns, and not the density of yarns. Then there were other saris that did not bear the translucent character at all. Although most saris were in cotton, taking into account the climate of the region, there were few options in silk as well. In some places matka silk has been used to enhance the texture of the product throughout the body or as accents in places. We also saw some options in rayon. There was hardly any khadi cotton sari that we got to see in the local markets. There were a number of cut-work, imitation jamdanis made with the jacquard attachment on the hand-loom. These saris were largely commercial products and veered away from the label of hand-crafted.


9.3 Government Initiatives Biswa Bangla


Biswa Bangla is an enterprise working towards the development of the crafts community of West Bengal is the Department of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises and Textiles, Government of West Bengal who have launched the brand Biswa Bangla to address the most critical aspects of marketing, preservation and continuity of Bengali textiles. Biswa Bangla encourages innovation, provides design assistance, opens direct sales points, and improves quality and supply chains for the handloom and handicraft products of the state under the brand Biswa Bangla. It focuses on back-end interventions to develop new products by including more weavers and artisans.

Another initiative by the West Bengal State Handloom Weavers Co-operative Society Limited is Tantuja which was established in 1954 by the then Chief Minister of West Bengal Dr. Bidhan Chandra Roy to save the weavers from economic hardships and exploitation. Tantuja Bhaban is a retail store which carries a wide array of handloom saris, shirts, dhotis and fabric.

They have launched ‘Project Muslin’ which aims at reviving the muslin industry and ensuring that the artisans get remunerative returns and appreciation for their unique skills. Project Muslin promotes Bengal muslin through a holistic approach. Among the steps that are being taken include interventions like skill development, technology support, design inputs, product diversification, credit linkage, marketing support and encouraging the rural young to take up the craft. The weavers are given training and introduced to modern designs so that they can produce high quality, marketable products. Biswa Bangla also has a range of natural indigo dyed, khadi jamdani saris which use traditional jamdani patterns.

Tantuja had both cut-work imitation Jamdani saris as well as hand picked jamdani saris. Within both categories there were white on white jamdanis and white base saris with colored motifs both geometric and floral. The Jamdani saris here had the mark of hand-picking however, the pattern itself was clearly woven with the aid of the jacquard loom and therefore, we see a third category of jamdani saris.

There are close to a hundred Tantuja stores in India and it has come to be a well recognized brand name. Jamdani being one of West Bengal’s most renowned handloom products is included within this mix.

The products here were more commercial and less concerned with tradition and authenticity and retaining a separate ‘identity’ for its Jamdani products.


Hand Picked Jamdani This a traditional white-on-white jamdani. The only point in which this sari differs from the traditional jamdani sari is its construction. The traditional jamdani was a very fine count cotton muslin. This sari is a 100% cotton and priced at Rs. 5692. The count for the warp and weft is 100. And density of warp x weft is 72 x 60-64. Top: Border of a Jamdani sari in cotton. The border is striped with floral patterning that is deliberately curved. Left: Detail of the construction of the fabric; the weave is quite sparse, coarse and the nature of the yarn seems stiff and starched. One can see slight displacement of the warp yarns as the fabric is trying to absorb the extra weft but is possibly too sparse to do so. The jamdani patterning is not very refined and the edges are quite irregular. Bottom: The pallav of the sari; the back of the fabric shows the hand picked jamdani patterning. Facing Page: A detail of the front of the sari.


Hand Picked with Jacquard Attachment This sari has been woven on the handloom with a jacquard attachment therefore the motifs are not hand picked but are woven by hand. This shows how marginalized the weaver has become where his work has become all about basic skills and following instructions. The design is pre-determined and the weaver does not need to put much mind to the process. The scale of the paisley design has been enlarged quite a bit and there are two colors of extra weft used. As a decision this does affect the price of the sari. This sari is a 100% cotton and priced at Rs. 2596. The count for the warp and weft is 100. And density of warp x weft is 72 x 60-64. Top: Detail of a cut-work Jamdani sari. This image shows the manner in which the motif has been interlaced into the fabric. The outline which is so distinctive in the hand-picked jamdani, is here replaced by a rather unfinished trim of loose extra weft yarns. Middle: Body of the sari, detailed view of the butta and the small dot like butti. Bottom: The pallav of the sari; the patterning is large and bold with accents of zari. The visual identity of the traditional jamdani has been altered here slightly. Although one does see the teeth-like edging in one part of the jaal. The jaal itself has been stylized in the manner that is akin to jamdani. It is reminiscent of a fruit hanging from its vine, a subject matter that was very popular during the Mughal era.


Katta Sari - Imitation cutwork jamdani at Tantuja This technique is a primitive immitation of the jamdani technique woven on a handloom with the aid of a jacquard attachment. The lifting for the patterning is the exact function carried out by the attachment. The extra weft rather than being localised, is woven through the width of the fabric and later cut or trimmed, therefore, giving this sari its name ‘katta’ sari. This sari is a 100% cotton and priced at Rs. 2408. The count for the warp and weft is 100. And density of warp x weft is 72 x 68. Top: Detail of a cut-work Jamdani sari. This image shows the manner in which the motif has been interlaced into the fabric. The outline which is so distinctive in the hand-picked jamdani, is here replaced by a rather unfinished trim of loose extra weft yarns. Middle: Body of the sari, detailed view of the buta and the dot like buti. Bottom: The pallav of the sari; the patterning is large and bold with accents of zari. The visual identity of the traditional jamdani has been altered here slightly. Although one does see the teeth-like edging in one part of the jaal. The jaal itself has been stylized in the manner that is akin to jamdani. It is reminiscent of a fruit hanging from its vine, a subject matter that was very popular during the Mughal era.


Hand Picked Jamdani at Tantuja This sari is a traditional hand picked jamdani sari with varied pattering though it may be sparse by comparison. It is 100% cotton and priced at Rs. 869. The count for the warp and weft is 100s. And density of warp x weft is 68-72 x 60-64. Above: Border of a Jamdani sari in cotton. The border is striped with floral patterning that is deliberately curved. Left: Detail of the construction of the fabric; the weave is quite sparse, coarse and the nature of the yarn seems stiff and starched. Below: The pallav of the sari; the back of the fabric shows the hand picked jamdani patterning.


Artisana Artisana, Centre for Crafts and Textiles based in Kolkata is an initiative of the Crafts Council of West Bengal. It is headed by one of the most knowledgeable and respected women in the field of textiles and craft conservation, Ms. Ruby-PalChowdhury.

weavers the ability to create designs reminiscent of the traditional style and aesthetic of the Dhakai jamdanis. Artisana has a beautiful range of khadi jamdani stoles in cotton and silk. These are mostly in natural unbleached colours, whites and neutrals.

Artisana is involved in various crafts of which Jamdani is one. Ms. Ruby-Pal-Chowdhury has a large collection of vintage Jamdani saris and has used her fount of knowledge to inspire and educate weavers in West Bengal of the craft of their forefathers.

Their range of saris includes a traditional collection in popular Bengali red and white. The contemporary collection consists of geometric motifs and patterns, and experimentation with colours and materials. The weavers have even recreated patterns like the panna hazara in the tercha format. The palettes are mostly neutrals and pastels with accents of zari, with a few notable exceptions. Many of their jamdani products are a perfect blend of the traditional and the modern.

Several weaving families were on the decline and it has been with her intervention be it in terms of design input or financial backing that they are now producing authentic Jamdani products of staggering quality. She has inculcated within

A silk sari with zari and beige accents.


Silk Jamdani Sari Top: Detail of the border corner where we see the orientation of the motifs change. The corner of a sari is the most difficult part to weave. Middle: Selvedge and bottom border. This photo shows the back of the sari where the connecting weft yarn is visible. Bottom: Detailed view of the back of the weave. The motifs are varied in terms of color. Half of the motif is whte while the other half is off white and beige.


Red Jamani Stole This is one of many of Artisana’s new geometric patterned stoles with a zari accent and small butis in the bands. The geometric patterning and butis have been divided by bands of stripes. Top: Detail of the geometric patterning with diamonds. Middle: Detail of the zig zag zari patterning. Bottom: Detailed view of the butis in the stole. They have used three different colors: black, zari and off-white for the butis. One also sees the black stripes with a thick zari stripe in the centre. This has been alternated in the consequent band of stripes.


Top: Detailed view of a typically dhakai border. The border is patterned with leaves and flowers. The leaves which are usually treated in a typically sharp manner are softened here with the use of gentle curves. Middle Right: Detailed view of the stripes and checks forms. The zari and silk together create a tremendously rich expression in cloth. Middle Left: Detailed view of the body with two motifs; one, a simple strip and the other an asymmetric but still uniquely jamdani motif. The shadow of the continous blue weft speaks volumes about the quality and authenticity of this fabric. Bottom Left: Detailed view of motifs with border. It is a traditional butti and three colors have been used for patterning.


Top: Detailed view of the selvedge border which is the exact same motif in the border at the end except only half thr form has been included.Bottom: Detailed view of the border of a red and white jamdani stole. The large borders are typical motifs but much larger in scale and the butis are placed in the tercha format.


9.4 Design Studios Engaged with our Clusters Maku Textiles Our field research began with a visit to the studio of Maku Textiles. Maku is spear-headed by NID alumni, Santanu Das, and his co-partner, Chirag Gandhi. ‘Maku’ translates to ‘shuttle’ in bengali. The way he has sought to contemporize the craft is by creating a brand that deals in natural fibers, natural dyes, hand woven and handmade textiles. Maku specifically focuses on handspun khadi and natural indigo dye technique. Their jamdani patterned garments still retain the traditional aesthetic of jamdani. The technique of jamdani is only one aspect of a large mix of concepts that lend this brand its unique identity and yet the brand does give jamdani a new lease on life. His endeavor has given handloom weavers in Burdwan the tools they require to carry on the tradition of Jamdani weaving. The technique itself is labor intensive and therefore, the jamdani patterning is deliberately not very elaborate. The jamdani fabrics are mostly butidar or medium sized continuous borders. Maku exports extensively to U.S. and Japanese markets. They showcase for the domestic markets through exhibitions. Top: Jamdani scarf by Maku. Bottom: Edge finishing for one of the stoles which was a value addition skill imparted by Maku to the villagers in Ghoranash. Facing page: An overview of some products by Maku Textiles. A touch of indigo is visible in every product they make.



Soumitra Mondol Another designer working with Bengal jamdani weavers who we spoke with was Soumitra Mondol of Marg Couture. He was first featured in Lakme Fashion Week in 2007 and has been again in 2013 with his collection of resort wear for S/S 13. His designs stem from Bengal and its rich cultural heritage. He has therefore chosen to work with crafts as an integral element in his garments. He has worked extensively with silk, cotton and khadi jamdani and cultivated a number of weavers who now weave beautifully complex patterns with zari accents. He has tastefully adapted jamdani to a Spring Summer palette with white and reddish pink patterned garments. He has worked with different grades of fabric and in some ensembles worked with sheer layers in checks. His work definitely can be described as being part of the slow fashion movement. The entire garment comes to life as the weaver constructs the patterning in an exacting manner. This may illustrate just how much of a role the fabric itself plays in the designing of the garment. His garments are for the domestic market and he sees his clients as modern women who see value in heritage textiles. Top: A quirky layered garment with sheer checks and jamdani patterning: buttis and borders. Bottom: A sheer sari woven in a gauze construction with a very fine yarn. This aesthetic is quite popular at the moment and is seen through several demographics. The patterning is either in red and white or in black and yellow. Facing Page: Ensembles from Soumitra Mondol’s Spring Summer 2013 and Resort Wear Collection were featured at Lake Fashion Week. The collection includes red, white, orange and reddish pinks. He has used different grades of jamdani fabrics and patterning. He has used checkered fabric and played with transparent layering. The silhouettes range from conventional saris and muslin kurtas to slightly quirky yet elegant layered, asymmetric, foor length ensembles.



Thinley Rhodes

She has recreated 19th century jamdani fabrics in exact count, construction and visual language. We had the opportunity of documenting these samples and converse with her about her work. What we gleaned is that a craft like Jamdani holds all of its value within not just its appearance but its historical context and the delicate craftsmanship that gives it life.

Thinley Rhodes is of Bhutanese origin. She is a weaver herself and very passionate about textiles. She is based in the UK and is closely associated with Indian textiles. Indian textile techniques are her passion and she has incorporated some of these into her range of products which she markets in UK.

It is evident that Jamdani still holds a place in the world even today. The photos to the right are samples she has developed for the V&A, one in traditional white on white and the other in a dark indigo with zari. This motif in its balance and symmetry is typically jamdani. She has also developed an old tercha jamdani in white on white. We had the opportunity of documenting these samples and converse with her about her work.

Thinley has been working with Indian heritage textiles for many years. She spends half her months in Kolkata and works with rural artisans to create traditional textiles for her clients in the UK. She has recently been exploring the lost art of mashru weaving of which there is now only one family in India that still survives. She has also been associated with the Victoria and Albert Museum in their research projects.

An old jamdani buta recreated in exact count and construction. One in zari on indigo and the other in white-on-white, both of which are traditional jamdani styles.


Tercha The tercha format is one of the four traditional formats for jamdani. This design in particular is undeniably refined in its balance. The design remains organic despite the rigid construct within which it has been placed. This design lends itself to the female sensibilities. Top: Detail of the Jamdani sample. This image shows the manner in which the motif has been interlaced into the fabric. The outlines have been varied by an end of two on purpose to create this exact motif. Middle: Sligtly less zoomed in view. The design is different when looked at from differing distances. From this distance one can see the balance of this design is because it resembles blocks which are divided diagonally but still together creating one whole. Bottom: The entire design is visible here. Along with the diagonal patterning smaller buttis have been woven in. Even these buttis are complex, they are not dots, squares or lines. The slant with which the weft yarn from the butti re-joins the diagonal line also adds a slope which is another interesting element to note.


9.5 Designers working with Bengal Jamdani The designers mentioned in the earlier chapter are those who specifically engage with weavers in the clusters we visited. This section hosts designers who work with Bengal Jamdani in general, though not necessarily in Katwa or Kalna only. This gives us a fair idea of the potential that jamdani holds. Such is the appeal of Bengal jamdani, that not only Indian design studios, but even international organisations like Dosa, recognise it and have chosen to engage with the craft for their brand.

The fabrics they use seem light and cottony with scarce jamdani pattering in the form of small butis and borders. These are then creatively used on their garments.

Dosa Christina Kim of Dosa, based in Los Angeles, began a project ‘Life of Jamdani’ where jamdani yardages woven in villages of Bengal were cut and sewn into garment. The scraps generated from garment making, both large and small, are collected in order to be reused to make new running yardage.

An artisan laying out the waste pieces to sew together. Project ‘Life of Jamdani’ where jamdani yardages woven in villages of Bengal were cut and sewn into garment. The scraps generated from garment making, both large and small, are collected in order to be reused to make new running yardage.

This employed the applique skills of women artisans of Gujarat. First the scraps are sorted according to color and size. The larger pattern-less Jamdani pieces are joined together to make a plain base on which the applique is to happen using patterned jamdani cloth. This assembly of fabrics on the base is done by the women in India based on an understanding of Dosa’s design intention. Dosa has very much kept intact the feel of jamdani. 191

Top: A collage of Dosa’s jamdani garments. Their jamdani fabrics are contemporary and yet quite in sync with traditional aesthetics.


Rahul Mishra Rahul Mishra’s Spring Summer 2014 collection KISS, Keep It Simple & Sporty, featured sweeping jamdani dresses with jersey bodices, long tunics paired with palazzo pants, kaftan style tops and thigh-slit shirts. He has adapted the textile to radically different silhouettes than it has been used for traditionally. The motifs he has used and the manner in which they are used are still very reminiscent of the jamdani of the past.

Rahul Mishra’s Spring Summer 2014 collection KISS, Keep It Simple & Sporty, featuring jamdani dresses. This collection shows a remarkable use of jamdani in garments with a new flair and style which one cannot help appreciating. It keeps the aesthetics of the craft so much in place, while at the same time giving it an absolutely new twist with the newly worked out silhouettes, format and layout of motifs and patterns. Very sophisticated and cutting edge.


Aneeth Arora Aneeth Arora has experimented by fusing jamdani into fresh modern silhouettes as well. Asymmetrical jackets, cropped jackets, kneelength dresses, and scarves - use detailed jamdani work across the surface as well as on the edges. We see her adding jamdani butis to a checked base fabric. The lightness of the weave, the gauziness of the fabric comes across in her garments. Jamdani is fused with elements such as checks, lace, and so on. Both Aneeth Arora and Rahul Mishra add many layers to their garments. Their silhouettes and the interesting fusion of diverse fabrics and styles, along with the format they choose for the jamdani patterning add to their apparel an indelible touch. These indo-westerns can work as casuals, semiformals as well as formals depending on how one chooses to carry them. A display of the ensembles in Aneeth Arora’s S/S 13 jamdani collection.


Weaver’s Studio

archive of 1200 old, rare textiles and 3000 books on textiles. This archive has Jamdani saris and jamas dating back to the late 19th century.

Weaver’s Studio, based in Kolkata, was founded by Darshan Shah in 1993. It began as a social enterprise for the Indian craftsmen and is now one of India’s premier design studios. WS is known for its refined and sophisticated woven and printed textile products.

With this wealth of information they have developed authentic Jamdani textile products for the domestic and export markets. They have developed muslin Jamdanis with counts upto 100 and often use hand-spun yarn depending on the client brief. Their contemporary Jamdani products often use abstracted motifs as was the Jamdani tradition. The concept of translating in a typical and unique manner, your surroundings, into a jamdani fabric, has been evolved here.

WS has since expanded and has many counterparts such as Rangeen – the weaving, dyeing and block printing facility and Veda, the export division which caters mainly to the US, UK and Japanese markets. WS has also established Weavers Studio Textile Study Centre which is an

Top: Back of a khadi jamdani stole. Black on white has the most contrast and is therefore an excellent choice for jamdani patterning.

One of the many jamdani samplers developed by Weavers Studio as part of their effort to give to their clients a taste of the traditional aesthetic of jamdani. These long samplers document various types of motifs- butis, butas, jaals, terchas, borders and so on extensively. They have been made in different colours such as white on white, black on black (as can be seen above), and also with different colours on white base. More of these samplers have been illustrated in chapter 8.4.

Bottom: Front of the stole: The motif is a stylized flower. However, the lowest petal has a semi-circular shape. The smallest alterations in these motifs make them more complex to weave and increase the price of the fabric. However, this small alteration has created an abstract form a person standing.


Left: Full length of a jamdani stole. The visual language of this stole is typically jamdani from the construction of the fabric to the colors and motifs. Top: Cording technique has been used in zig-zag: as an element this is seen through all markets. It is essentially a dhakai aesthetic. Middle: Detail of the stylized fruit motif. Bottom: Detail of the back of the fabric showing the butti that has been used for body patterning. Two different repeats have been used in this stole and the spacing has been altered as well creating two very different effects.


Paromita Banerjee Paromita Banerjee has also been working with Jamdani and focused on its qualities of translucency and opacity. She has played with and enhanced these qualities with the use of cotton with pure silk yarns. There is visible contemplation in the manner in which the patterning has been placed so strategically on the garments. She has also begun exporting her garments and has found a market for her jamdani products in London as well as San Francisco.

Debashri Samanta In contrast to this approach to the craft, the designer Debashri Samanta has adapted the technique and created an entirely new visual identity for Jamdani. It is essentially painting on the loom as the patterns are bold and opaque. There is no play of translucency in the textiles, the scale of motifs used are extremely large and the graphic quality of the motifs leaves nothing to the imagination. She has openly stated that she is anti-print and yet her jamdani fabrics resemble just that- printed fabric- and it is only on closer inspection that one notices that the fabric is in fact woven.

Top right: Paromita’s jamdani sari on the ramp; Bottom: New motifs developed by Debashri Samanta.


9.6 Design Perspectives on Jamdani the patronage of stately rulars or rich marchents. Thesedays, the motifs used are very geomatric, not pretty but still nice.

This section contains excerpts from our interview with two persons very passionate about textiles, and working with jamdani in Bengal to further its potential.

In your opinion is Jamdani an endangered craft? Well, of course the number of weavers are decreasing every year (that is what the master weavers always tells ms). However, it is not like other crafts like the mashru with ikat which is now not woven in any parts of India. However, it will become endangered in future if buyers do not appreciate and pay the right price. For the weavers, the weaving has to make money. If it doesn’t then they will have to look for other jobs. Efforts from the government and NGOs should focus on design input, increasing efficiency and finding market.

Thinley Rhodes Textile Artist

When did you first come across the craft of Jamdani? While researching Indian textile in general at the Victoria and albert museum, I came across a picture of beautful Jama (men’s robe). It was Khadi Jamdani Jama. I was very pleased when I heard that the technique is still used in Bangladesh and West Bengal, India. What is it about Jamdani that inspired you to take it forward? The techniqus is very simple and the result is elegent. I wanted to introduce a light weight fabric into my collection and Jamdani fitted in nicely. Commercially it was feasible because the technique is still practised by many weavers.

Could you write briefly about the jamdani weavers of today that you have come in touch with? I am very fortunate to see that Jamdani weavers I meet are very pleasant people. Most village people in India are simple and nice people. However, I know that what they get paid is perhaps not sufficient and sometimes it shows in their way of living. This is probably true for weavers across all techniques.

How would you define Jamdani in present day context? The beautiful old Jamdani motifs one can view in the museums are no longer woven. This is because in the olden days such fine quality was woven under

What temperament do the jamdani weavers possess? I don’t think it would be fair to say that they all have the same temperament. However, most weavers I met are very calm and simple people. 198

As a textile artist who works with Jamdani which distinguishing characteristic of the craft have you strived to retain in your products? For me, it is important that Jamdani motifs are free flowing and irregular instead of modern Jamdani which is very geometric. It is also important that they use traditional looms especially the use of bamboo reed.

I do not wish the traditional weaving method to evolve so much because the beauty is in the old method. I have seen machine woven Jamdani and it looks awful. What I would like to see is people appreciating Jamdani and willing to pay more for it.

Darshan Shah Proprietor - Weavers Studio, Kolkata

In what aspects of Jamdani did you find scope to innovate? I had to change design and colours. That is because of the export market demand. For local market, I wouldn’t know what would sell!

When did Weavers Studio first begin working with Jamdani? Weavers Studio began working with Jamdani 21 years ago when we started in 1993. Immediately after that, we started our own weaving unit in 1994 and started researching, travelling & working with different textiles of Bengal which include jamdani.

How have you translated Jamdani into your products and which demographic are the Jamdani products aimed at (age, geographical location, psychographic)? I sell as yardage and I am not sure what my clients make out of it. I have been told that it was used as curtain in an old Italian Villa and also as bed drapings in south of France. I leave it for my clients to make whatever they want to make out of the fabric. These fine quality weavings are always appreciated by well travelled and well educated people. My clients are mostly over 50s.

What prompted you to adopt Jamdani into the array of products at Weavers Studio? One of the textile techniques that is high end, exclusive, not easy on the common man’s taste, has great appreciation in terms of craftsmanship, limited edition is what I would call Jamdani collections. International markets and discerning buyers also encouraged us to develop the jamdani into a contemporary line keeping the traditional motifs and character.

Do you think the Jamdani being woven in West Bengal today still retains its identity? Yes.

How commercially viable are Jamdani products? Jamdani products are not commercial. As mentioned earlier, they are a limited edition collection catering to the high end market and are expensive due to time taking techniques and the number of craftsmen having this expertise. The sense & sensibilities of a jamdani wearer are very different from, even though mass produced, hand crated textiles.

What distinguishes Dhakai Jamdani from that of West Bengal? I am not really sure about this. I suppose the patterns, not the technique. Do you identify the prominently more open weave structure in certain Jamdanis as Dhakai? Not sure.

Does the studio export Jamdani products? If yes, what markets are they exported to? Our Jamdani products are exported in the form of

How do you hope to evolve traditional jamdani weaving?


fabrics, stoles, shawls, scarves & made up garments, mainly to Japan and France.

motifs which are spread out . Now there are also many designs that are being incorporated in the WB jamdani repertoire due to design intervention from diff fields like designer, & students. What I have observed is that Bangladesh has retained its traditional designs motifs, character, hand and feel. That is not there in West Bengal jamdani due to more exposure. There may be more differences but I am unable to pinpoint at the moment as I am not technically or academically an expert on the subject. There is a lot of confusion in the generic term jamdani and whether it first came from Dhaka (undivided Bengal) or from another part of India.

As an entrepreneur working with Jamdani which distinguishing characteristic of the craft have you strived to retain in your products? Alternatively, in what aspects did you find scope to innovate? We have retained the very fine yarn quality, the fine count that it is woven in, the motifs, the textures, and the subtlety. Innovation has come in by way of using very fine count wool yarn and also experimenting with left over yarn which are tied & dyed in natural colours to weave a jamdani motif into the fine textiles. We also innovated by doing non repeat design & patterns to make the product more interesting, instead of putting one or two motifs in a product.

Which Jamdani products have been developed by your organization? Which demographic are the Jamdani products aimed at (age, geographical location, psychographic)? I am unable to understand this question clearly. What I have written above tells you what all I know about jamdani and within our organization. Weavers Studio continues to visit Bangladesh and attend workshop on natural dyes, jamdani and encourages cross border business, exhibitions, exchange of ideas, etc.

What is the distinguishing factor of West Bengal Jamdani? West Bengal jamdani, due to availability of very fine count yarns and the few weavers, who are master craftsperson and president award winners, are able to produce very high quality of jamdani products like saris, dupatta, scarves, fabrics, and stoles. There is a certain pocket that has expert jamdani weavers who have come across the borders from Bangladesh and settled in West Bengal and who continue to hone their talent & heritage in the field of woven jamdani weaving textiles

What is the contemporary face of Jamdani? The young designer at NID, NIFT, Srishti, and elsewhere are working on projects in Bengal and are inspired by the challenges that the jamdani offers and have created many interesting textures, motifs, inlays and variation in weaving the jamdani motif in a combination of diff yarns and also have worked very successfully on designing the woven garment with specifically placed motifs etc.

What differentiates Dhakai Jamdani from that of West Bengal? Dhakai jamdani is normally woven with as a silk and cotton - warp & weft and the Bengal jamdani is more woven with fine high count cotton threads. Due to the construction of the lower count fabric in Bangladesh, the designs woven take less time and can be made in heavier feel with more ground than the West Bengal jamdanis which are woven with very high count fine cottons and very intricate

Last but not the least there is always the question on survival of jamdani and I would comment here that it has survived for many centuries and will continue to survive as more and more research, inputs, government support, design project, new luxury market , limited edition collection, etc are in order today.


10 Conclusion Cluster I: Kalna Our first day in Kalna we visited several workshops before reaching Jyotish Debnath’s home. What we saw were workshops full of jacquard and dobby attachments, silk floss jamdani’s in a range of colours and weaver’s who seemed content with what they were weaving. While we saw the artisans as crucial figures in the life of this long tradition, they seemed unaware to a large extent of the integral role they are still playing in retaining India’s diverse cultural and textile practices.

wavering in his decision to be a part of the urban world or continue in his father and forefather’s footsteps, he is now pouring his heart and soul into their business. He has immense knowledge of looms and loom technology in regard to weaving khadi. With him he has the knowledge that flows in his blood, that which he recieved during his formal education in fashion design and the immense exposure he is recieving as he and his father visit conferences and meet clients the world over.

Jyotish Debnath’s jamdani fabrics were in complete contrast to most of what we had seen prior. In terms of design language their fabrics are extremely sophisticated and refined. There is a deep understanding of jamdani weaving and patterning, yarn and construction which is reflected in whatever they weave.

In terms of the value of the products they create which is often lost on the makers of these almost incomparable jamdani fabrics - they are now more than aware of the kind of clients and markets around the world that will give them a fair price for their products. Although their business is now well established and clients located, there is still immense potential for growth.

While Jyotish Debnath was much what one would expect a weaver to be: kind, humble and immensely knowledgable, his son, Raju Debnath was not the atypical weaver who sits calmly at his loom producing beautiful jamdani saris. He heralds the new generation which is going to completely transform the handloom industry. He is as enterprising as he is proud of his legacy. While there was a period in his life where he was


Cluster II: Ghoranash It was a pleasure to find the village of Ghoranash absent of jacquard attachments and kaata saris. The Jamdani in Ghoranash is evolving and attempts are being made to increase the skill levels of the artisans.

weaving their fabrics. The temperament of the weaver is one aspect that is fascinating in handloom as well as khadi. One’s work often becomes a reflection of their mental state. If one is to take the jamdani fabrics they weave even as a slight indication of their work satisfaction, it speaks volumes about the handloom industry’s future. We definitely credit a large part of this to the consumers the world over as well as the industry that connects them. By doing so they have deemed this fragment of our cultural history very much a part of our future.

A point to be noted is that the weavers are very open to new ideas. We were approached personally by a weaver who was patterning his jamdani sari with owls, and asked to create a new design for him to weave. The various new ways the products were being finished even on the loom were also quite remarkable. In terms of loom technology the village proved to be contrasting as the looms were not as wellcrafted or made to specification for muslin weaving as the ones we saw in Kalna. Despite this fact, most of them did have the Chittranjan attachment. Finding the Chittranjan loom was of interest as we did not have previous hands-on experience with these looms. Although we did not see this attachment in Kalna because of our focus study there, it is very likely prevalent there as well. Another small observation we made is how natural it seemed for the artisans to be patiently


11 Glossary Aanchol : Endpiece of saree Ambar charkha : Updated hand spinning device Baadhon Buffer : Baansh Bamboo : Baansher shaana : Bamboo reed Baari House : Baat Extra : weft thread Bana Weft : Basantho taant : Chittaranjan loom Beat up Baan : kora Bela Flowering : vine Bhaat Cooked : rice Bheem norod : Warp beam Borshee : Temple (stick used to maintain tension while weaving) Buti Motif : Chaal Rice : grains Chaaler Maar : Rice-based sizing medium Charkha Spinning : wheel Chautaar : 4 in a dent Cheela Fringe : Chhaanta Warp : bobbins Dhaan Rice : crop Dhoti Men's : lower drape Ek jor Pick : Gamchha Shoulder : cloth Ghor Dent : Gorbho taant : Pit loom Faishal Reed : Jamdani : Extra-weft loom embroidery on every pick; Name of sari Jhaanp Heald : Jhaanper kaaj : Treadle work Kaaj : Work; workmanship (technique on cloth) 203

Karkhana Workshed : Khoi dhaan : Puffed rice Khoiyer Maar : Puffed rice based sizing medium Kol norod : Cloth beam Konia kalka : Corner paisley motif Lungi Men's : lower drape Maar Starch, : sizing medium Maku Shuttle : Mahajan Lender/Financer : Megi dhaan : Rare variety of rice used for sizing Naksha Extra : warp/ weft Nilambari : Name of sari after the dark blue of the night sky Noli Pirn : with thread Norod Beam : Pallav Endpiece : of saree Rong Color/ : dye Shaana Dents : Shagu : Sago, a medium used for sizing Shooto Thread : Taal gaach : Date palm Taant Loom : Taanti Weavers : Taantghor Loom : room Taant buna Weaving : Tana Warp : Tangail Name : of sari Tehtul Tamarind : juice Terchha Diagonal : Zamindar Landlord : Zari Gold : yarn


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