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Burdwan keeps Mughal era handloom tradition alive
15
Jul '10
'Jamdani' and 'Tangail' are two pioneer sarees in the field of heritage handloom products of Bengal handloom and Burdwan handloom cluster in particular.

'Jamdani' - the great characteristic of fine art in hand weaving derived from a Persian word 'Jam' meaning a 'cup' and 'Dani' denotes the 'container'. Jamdani style of weaving flourished under the benign, rich and enlightened patronage of kings and emperors.

It may be considered as a textile of excellence for its super fine qualities in the fifteenth & sixteenth centuries. Excellence in weaving lies in the virtuosity of forms drawn from the social, religious and natural environment and translated through a particular technique and the weaver's sensitivity to create a new art form.

The figured muslin with delicate motifs worked on by deft fingers, needed besides skill, unlimited patience, a length of cloth sometimes taking months to weave.

The "Mughals" recognized this excellence, acknowledged its rarity. During the region of Emperor Jahangir and Aurangzeb, the manufacturer of finer Jamdani was a rare product and a royal monopoly. After the Mughalera, Jamdanis continued to be developed under the patronage of Nawab Wajid Ali Shah of Tanda and Nawab of Dhaka (Bangladesh).

The weavers of Dhaka were expert in Jamdani known as 'Daccai Jamdani' for producing mainly sarees and dress materials. While the weavers of "Tanda" and "Varanasi" in Awadh were experts in weaving of 'Awadh Jamdani' for producing mainly sarees, dress materials, handkerchiefs, Ornas, caps, table cover etc.

Both "Dacca" & "Tanda" Jamdanis, the ground warp and weft threads are commonly of fine nature grey cotton yarn of counts, ranging from 60s to 150s. However, mulberry silk (13/15 Den filature) yarn were also used. The warp yarn used for selvedge at normally 1/4th width are either grey or bleached cotton in both the styles.

In case of indigo dyed Nilambari Jamdani sarees of Bengal, the selvedge yarn dyed with madder colour is beautifully matched. Bleached cotton, indigo and black dyed cotton, silver and gold zari, munga threads are used as extra weft for figured motif in Dacca whereas, bleached cotton and gold zari are in vogue in "Tanda" as extra weft. The small cut piece of 3-5 ply of these extra yarns are used for the desired effect of each motif using the same count as that of warp yarn.

8' x 8' pit looms were generally used for producing figured Jamdani. Like other sarees, hank sizing is largely followed for Jamdani from hank form yarn available in market.

The motion of layout of Jamdani fabrics are directly woven on loom by traditional master weavers from their hereditary skill, experience and talent. Traditional Jamdani motifs are geometric in concept, adopted from local flowers, birds, leaves, zig-zag lines, and so on by the weavers who improved and evolved a directory of design of "Dacca Gharana" These designs have its nomenclature in Hazar-buti, Chand, Tara-buti, Dora-kata' Dabutar- khop, Rose-leaf etc.

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