Sunday, March 21, 2010

Jamdani & Tangail Saree

'Jamdani' and 'Tangail' are two pioneer sarees in the filed of heritage handloom products of Bengal handloom.

'Jamdani' - the great characteristic of fine art in hand weaving derived from a "PERSION" 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 Aurangjeb, the manufacturer of finer Jamdani was a rare product and a royal monopoly
After the "Mughals" Jamdanis were continued to develop under the patronage of 'Nawabs' Wajid Ali Shah of Tanda and Nawabs of Dacca (presently under Bangladesh)

The weavers of Dacca 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 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 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 where as b leached cotton and gold zari are in vogue in "Tanda" as extra weft. The small cut piece of 3-5 plyed 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 motive are of 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 Hazar-buti, Chand, Tara-buti, Dora-kata' Dabutar- khop, Rose-leaf etc.

In those days (Mughals, Nawabs), the bleaching & dyeing techniques were carried out by indigenous method due to non availability of chemical dyes and ingredients the technique of weaving Jamdani figured designs may be call "PICK & PICK" i.e., one pick extra weft design and then one ground pick.

It was originated from Tangail, a district of present Bangladesh. Previously it was named as "Begum Bahar" where silk warp and cotton weft were used. Later on, both cotton warp and weft were in vogue. The weaver mainly of 'BASAK' community who migrated from Tangail district before partition of our country & settled in 'Katwa' Dhatrigram, Tamaghata, Samudragarh, area in Burdwan district.
At present, silk Tangail sarees have been revived. The technique of drawing and weaving of extra weft for figured Tangail sarees is more or less identical to Jamdani sarees. Unlike Jamdani, two plain picks instead of a single pick are inserted after each extra weft meant for figured design.

Now in Samudragarh, Dhatrigram area design on Tangail sarees are woven in boarder by using Jacquard. The recent development is its decorative design. The main characteristics of these sarees in the loom finishing. While weaving Tangail saree , a sort of finishing by putting starch is done in addition to sizing on cotton yarn. Other feature of this saree i.e. paper finish appearance depends on its surface texture.

In recent time handloom weavers have diversified the Tangail saree in to the following varieties:
* Tangail Naksapar with jacquard design.
* Tangail (silk x silk ) sarees.

There are about 94000 people at Burdwan cluster engaged as part or full time basis in handloom activities. Besides this, there are remarkable number of designers, dyers, card makers, traders and auxiliary support providers. Approximate 60% of weaver force is from the adjacent villages of the cluster while 40% weavers are from outside the West Bengal mainly from North Bengal District.

Weaving community is largely concentrated at Ketugram, Ghoshhat, Panuhat, Musthali, Tamaghat, Kamalnagar, Mertala, Purulia, Serampore, Vidyanagar, Hatsimla, Nasratpur, Goalpara and Dhatrigram areas.

Before partition of Bengal i.e. in the year 1942, 12- 14families of weaving community from 'Nowakhali' and Tangail (presently Bangladesh) district came along-with their looms and concentrated at Hatsimla, Dhatigtram, and Nasratpur area. They were specialized in weaving of Tangail designed sarees with finer counts of yarn mainly imported varieties. At that time of weavers used to get their yarn from Dhakkai Patti at Kolkata and also sale their finished products to that 'patti' only. Each of the weaving manifested areas i.e., Kalna & Katwa sub division has its own history. as to how weaving activities/industry developed there.

The main product in the two different subdivision vary in their quality, variety and individuality. This has been caused due to different factors. For instance the raw material by which the Katwa belt weavers turn out their products are coarser variety of material. As a result this sub division produces coarser variety of handloom products such as 'Gamcha' (napkin), Lungi, Saree (40' x 40' ) for rough use. Besides the weavers who have settled in Katwa sub division have mainly migrated from Nwakhali dist of East Pakistan (presently Bangladesh) who were accustomed in weaving these type of handloom products.

On the other hand, weavers of Kalna sub-division are mainly successors of Tangail Dist of former East Pakisthan who were famous for their skill and expertise in weaving of finer and up grated quality of handloom saree e.g., Tangail 'Naksapar' Buttik saree with attractive design and colours.
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