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JAMDANI

WOVEN WONDER FROM TANDA AND DHAKA

The origin of the word Jamdani is uncertain. One popular belief is that it came from the Persian words 'jama', which means cloth and 'dana', which means buti. It is probable that Muslims introduced Jamdani weaving and the industry was their monopoly for long.

The earliest mention of the origin of jamdani and its development as an industry is found in Kautilya's book of economics (about 300 AD) where it is stated that this fine cloth used to be made in Bengal.

Jamdanis are very thinly textured muslins (white thin cloth) with floral, bird and animal motifs which are woven on the loom.

The main centres of Jamdani weaving in Uttar Pradesh are Tanda (Fyzabad district) and Banaras The finest Banaras muslins are called Kasivastras.

Tanda fabrics are exceptionally frail and woven in two or more tones of white. Yarns of various thickness are used for effect of light and shade, transparency and opaqueness. The threads used for decoration are not cut at the edges, but are left hanging in the spool and then introduced into the figured pick.

The art of making jamdani designs on fine fabric reached its zenith during Mughal rule. There were handlooms in almost all villages of dhaka district. Dhaka, Sonargaon, Dhamrai, Titabari, Jangalbari and Bajitpur were famous for making superior quality jamdani and muslin.

Manufacturing technique
Manufacturing technique The fineness of muslin cloth used to depend usually on the art of making yarns. The most appropriate time for making yarns was early morning as the air then carried the highest moisture. For quality jamdani they used yarn of 200 to 250 counts

The warp is unbleached gray yarn and the motifs are woven with bleached white yarn. At banaras the craftspersons use gold thread in addition to the bleached and unbleached white threads. In Decca, coloured cotton thread is used along with gold and white. The Tanda cloths are of the finest quality, only white yarn being used for the ornamentation

The ancient text talk about five different tones of white in reference to the Jamdani Bright gold or light white Tooth white Pure sandal white Autumn cloud white Autumn moon white (shard) white

Later on fabrics of other colours were also used. In the 1960s, jamdani work on red fabric became very popular. The Victoria and Albert Museum of London has a fine collection of jamdani with work in white on white fabric

They used popcorn, rice or barley for starch. Before making jamdani designs they used to dye their yarn and starch it. For dye they used flowers and leaves of creepers. These days weavers buy fine yarn from the market and use chemical dyes instead of herbal dyes.

For making jamdani two weavers sit side by side at a loom to work on the delicate designs. Jamdani designs are made while the fabric is still on the loom. Coarse yarns are used for designs to make the motifs rise above the fabric.

Varieties of jamdani work


The main peculiarity of jamdani work is the geometric design. The expert weavers do not need to draw the design on paper. They do it from their memory. Jamdanis have different names according to their design. For instance, panna hajar,

A jamdani with small flowers diapered on the fabric is known as butidar. If these flowers are arranged in reclined position it is called tersa jamdani. It is not necessary that these designs are made of flowers only. There can be designs with peacocks and leaves of creepers. If such designs cover the entire field of the sari it is called jalar naksha.

If the field is covered with rows of flowers it is known as fulwar jamdani. Duria jamdani has designs of spots all over. Belwari jamdani with colourful golden borders used to be made during the Mughal period, especially for the women of the inner court.

Various types of Jamdani Sarees


Daccai Jamdani Daccai Jamdani sarees are distint from other varieties by its very fine texture resembling muslin and the elaborate and ornate workmanship. These sarees have multicolored linear or floral motifs all over the body and border and have an exquisitely designed elaborate pallu. The mango motif signifying fertility, growth, and marital bliss is a very popular design in Jamdani sarees.

Tangail Jamdani These sarees have Jamdani motifs on Tangail fabric and hence known as Tangail Jamdani. The traditional tangail borders had a "paddo" or lotus pattern, "pradeep' or lamp pattern, apart from the popular "aansh paar' which was common to Shantipur. From the use of a single colour on the border, they began to use 2 to three colours to give it 'meenakari' effect.

Shantipur Jamdani This variety of sarees have a powder fine texture.

Dhaniakhali Jamdani Having a tighter weave than the "tangail" or "shantipur", Dhaniakhali Jamdani is more hardy. Its bold body colours and contrasting borders and absurdly low prices make them very affordable

Tanda vs Dacca`
Only white yarn The thread which formed the ornamentation was not cut Coarse bleached yarn was used to weave the ornament on fine unbleached Gold and coloured yarn along with white The thread was cut at both at the beginning and at the end.