India is home to several weaving arts, and Jamdani is one of them. It defines precision, delicate weaves, and skills interlaced with rich motifs. Every element is added intricately by hand, making Jamdani one of the world’s most treasured weaves. The motifs are inlaid using dense threads over fine and delicate threads.
The process is so intricate and time-consuming that it takes 12 months to make one saree. So, the next time you buy a Jamdani saree online, you should know what goes behind its design and creation.
Did you know that UNESCO declared Jamdani as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity? It has come a long way since its origin around the 12th century.
Let’s study the evolution of Jamdani as a poetic art that suits modern Indian women.
Where and When It Started?
There are citations of fine cotton fabrics that can pass through a signet ring in the early 19th century. When Islamic influences increased in undivided Bengal around the 12th century, this fabric was enhanced with flower motifs and vibrant colours.
Over the next centuries, it turned into a mesmerising masterpiece with motif-rich designs and exquisite form. Under the Mughal patronage, Jamdani weaving was at its peak.
What Goes into the Weaving?
Jamdani weaving holds the distinction of being too intense and intricate. It is similar to the art of Parsi Gara on the pit looms. The motifs inlaid into the fabric take a lot of time for creation.
Weavers use shuttles of coloured, silver, or golden threads that pass through the waft and create various patterns. Designs may vary from dispersed floral patterns to diagonal stripes and a network of floral motifs called Jhalar.
Jamdani weaving originated on muslin fabric and expanded to other varieties like linen and silk over time. A weaver takes 100-300 discontinuous weft threads before weaving the fabric. Each weft is interwoven through warp threads by hand. It takes one day to weave a quarter to one inch of Jamdani. The more intricate the pattern, the longer it takes to finish a saree.
The Speciality of Jamdani
As an enduring craft, Jamdani can integrate modern techniques and designs into traditional patterns. Over the decades, it has evolved from monotones to colourful palettes. The art began as cotton muslin and grew to incorporate silk, gold, and silver threads to design fascinating sarees.
From Dhaka to finest weavers in Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, and Uttar Pradesh, it has gained traction and acceptance in several other weaver belts.
You can find a Jamdani saree online that showcases intricate motifs over shimmering fabrics in its most refined forms. They create an array of motifs and patterns on brocade looms that gives an illusion of design floating over the surface.
Like a national heritage, Jamdani weaves require sustainability and the ability to expand its potential. The fabric can become a global phenomenon with the right mix of traditional patterns and modern influences.
The handlooms are still popular for Jamdani weaving, but they struggle with several challenges to preserve this ancient tradition.
With the growing popularity of Jamdani sarees and increasing awareness of eco-friendly weaving processes, it can become a sustainable livelihood for a massive weaver population.
Some clusters in Varanasi are already working on natural dyes made from onion skin, indigo, sunflower, and pomegranate to colour the threads.
Journey of Evolution
From the revival of lost motifs to new trends, Jamdani sarees have evolved naturally. Some variations are still rooted in traditional techniques, while weavers use subtle alterations and changes in yarns to add hints of new colors and distinctive patterns.
Designers are working on a 2D effect with motifs created on 3-4 shuttle looms for unconventional designs.
Also, the integration of pure zari, silk, and moga yarn changes the textures for shine, solidity, and beauty. Today, you can find Dhakai Jamdani sarees with multicolor