Monday, February 1, 2010

Jamdani and other traditional Indian sarees

'Jamdani' is a heritage handloom products of Bengal handloom.
Word 'Jamdani' - derived from a "PERSION" word 'JAM' meaning a 'cup' and 'DANI' denotes the ‘container’.

The origin of the word Jamdani is uncertain. According to a popular version, it came from the Persian words jama (cloth) and dana (diapering). In other words Jamdani basically denotes diapered cloth. Another version holds that in Persian the word jam meaning flower and dani a vase or container.
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 . Trading accounts reveal how the Jamdani travelled to the courts of the Mughals in the 15th - 16th century period. For the Mughals it was fashioned into elaborate angarkhas (upper garment/shirt) worn by both men and women; it also travelled from Dhaka through Agra, to Bukhara, Samarkand and other parts of West Asia. 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.
The earliest mention of Jamdani and its development as an industry is to be found in Kautilya'sArthashashtra (book of economics) wherein it is stated that this fine cloth used to be made in Bengal andPundra (parts of modern Bangladesh). Jamdani is also mentioned in the book of Periplus of the Eritrean Sea and in the accounts of Arab, Chinese and Italian travelers and traders.
The base fabric for Jamdani is unbleached cotton yarn and the design is woven using bleached cotton yarns so that a light-and-dark effect is created. Alexander the Great in 327 B.C mentions “beautiful printed cottons” in India. It is believed that the erstwhile Roman emperors paid fabulous sums for the prized Indian cotton.
The dominant feature of the jamdani is its magnificent design which is essentially Persian in spirit. The method of weaving resembles tapestry work in which small shuttles of coloured, gold or silver threads, are passed through the weft. The jamdani dexterously combines intricate surface designs with delicate floral sprays. When the surface is covered with superb diagonally striped floral sprays, the sari is called terchha. The anchal (the portion that goes over and beyond the shoulder) is often decorated with dangling, tassel like corner motifs, known as jhalar.

The most coveted design is known as the panna hazaar (literally: a thousand emeralds) in which the floral pattern is highlighted with flowers interlaced like jewels by means of gold and silver thread. The kalka(paisley), whose origin may be traced to the painted manuscripts of the Mughal period, has emerged as a highly popular pattern. Yet another popular pattern in jamdani is the phulwar, usually worked on pure black, blue black, grey or off-white background colours.
The traditional nilambari, dyed with indigo, or designs such as toradar (literally: a
bunch or bouquet) preserved in weaving families over generations are now being reproduced. The butis (motifs) across the warp, the paar (border) and anchal (the portion that goes over and beyond the shoulder) are woven by using separate bobbins of yarn for each colour. The fine bobbins are made from tamarind wood or bamboo. After completion the cloth is washed and starched.
Jamdani, because of its intricate patterns, has always been a highly expensive product. According to historical accounts, Jamdanis custom made for the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb in the 17th century cost over thirty pounds; evidently the jamdani fabric was essentially meant only for the affluent nobility, in those days.
The region in and around Dhaka (now in Bangladesh) became synonymous with this wonder fabric.

Baluchari saree

The most well-known Bengal Silk sari, which carry its legendary name, is the Baluchari sari - a product of exquisite design and fabulous weaving technique. Produced in the town of Baluchar in Murshidabad district of West Bengal, Baluchari sarees are nation and worldwide popular because of their artistic and unique design. 'Baluchari' is one of the most popular weaving techniques of Bengal. It is a popular ninteenth centruy figured silk saree. It is elaborately woven brocade known to have been made during 1850-1900 in the village surrounding Baluchar (Murshidabad Distt.)

Fabric in Baluchari Sari
Silk weaving of Baluchar continues to be an important landmark of Bengal's handloom tradition. Baluchari sarees are woven in Bengal silks which are much acclaimed in the world over, since ancient times. Like silk, cotton baluchari sarees are also woven in a fascinating and exquisite range. The cloth is very fine and transparent with a soft drape. These are created on draw looms, which contains a complicated mechanism for weaving multi-warp and multi-weft figured textiles.
Material is used as silk. The dimensions for a Baluchar Sari are in Cm (length=558, width=112, ends per cm=38, picks per cm =35)
Design and Colours
Baluchar Sarees are similar in appearance and in weaving techniques to many Banaras Brocades although they never contain Zari threads, only silk. They have intricate supplementary weft or warp borders and end pieces created in untwisted silk threads of colors that contrast with the ground, with elaborate floral borders. The figures are commonly involved in such activities as smoking a hooka, riding a train, or smelling a flower, and are often dressed in Mughal style or European cloths, the grounds of these saris are generally dark with purple, dark brown and red being common, while the wide range of colors found in the supplementary threads are always light, such as white, yellow orange of pink
The various designs depicting narrative folktales in the pallu of the sarees are as:
• A woman riding a horse holding a rose in one hand with her plait flying behind her.
• Pleasure boat, with two lovebirds on top.
• Traditional muslim court scenes.
• Women smoking hookah.
• Puranic tales or legends of Ramayana and Mahabharata are also depicted on the classic baluchari sarees etc.

The most distinctive feature of Baluchari sarees is their elaborate borders and pallu.

Paithani sarees

Among the most beautiful sarees made in India figures the Paithani sarees, woven exclusively in the Paithan region of the western state of Maharashtra. The gold embroidered Paithani sarees depict the blend of the aesthetic with the symbolic. The Rig Veda mentions a golden, woven fabric and the Greek records mention gorgeous Paithani fabrics from the well-known, ancient trading centre, Pratisthan or Paithan (in Maharashtra).

The Peshwas (political rulers of Maharashtra) in the 18th century had a special love for Paithani textiles and it is believed that Madhavrao Peshwa is believed to have asked for a huge supply of dupattas dotted with asavali prints, in shades of red, green, saffron, pomegranate and pink.
Interestingly, the Nizam of erstwhile princely state of Hyderabad too is believed to have nurtured a penchant for the Paithanis, which made him undertake several trips to the obscure town of Paithan to secure the fabric for personal use. His daughter-in-law, Niloufer, was instrumental in introducing new motifs to the designs on the borders as well as the pallav (the part that goes over and beyond the shoulders) designs.
A heavily brocaded Paithani sari will take anywhere from six months to one and a half years to get fully ready. Infact, even a plain and simple sari takes atleast one month for being completed. This is the main reason why the saree commands such a high price in the market. The pallu as well as the border of the saree is especially heavily embellished, with the help of the gold thread. The Maharashtrian bride is incomplete without a Paithani sari.
Specialty of Paithani sari
A pattan (Paithani) is a gold and silk sari. In the revival of Paithani weaving, the production was oriented towards export requirements, while saris were produced only for sophisticated buyers. Paithani evolved from a cotton base to a silk base. Silk was used in weft designs and in the borders, whereas cotton was used in the body of the fabric. Present day Paithani has no trace of cotton.
A) Sari
1) Due to proximity to the Ajanta caves, the influence of the Buddhist paintings can be seen in the woven Paithani motifs
2) The Kamal or lotus flower
3) The Asawalli (flowering vines), became very popular during the Peshwa's period
4) The Bangadi Mor, peacock in bangle

5) The Tota-Maina
6) The Humarparinda, peasant bird
7) The Narali motif, very common
8) Small motifs like circles, stars, kuyri, rui phool, kalas pakhhli, chandrakor, clusters of 3 leaves, were very common for the body of the sari.
B) Pallu

1) Muniya, a kind of parrot used in borders and always found in green colour with an occasional red touch at the mouth
2) Panja, a geometrical flower-like motif, most often outlined in red
3) Barwa, 12 strands of a ladder; 3 strands on each side
4) Laher, design is done in the centre to strengthen the zari
5) Muthada, a geometrical design
6) Asawali, a flower pot with a flowering plant
7) Mor, a peacocTraditional colours.
Traditional Colours:
The dominant traditional colours of vegetable dyes included:
Pophali - yellow
Neeligunji - sky blue
Motiya - peach pink
Brinjal - purple
Pearl pink
Peacock - blue/green
Yellowish green
Kusumbi - violet red
Pasila - red and green
Gujri - black and white
Mirani - black and red

Manufacturing processes
A) Loom
It took approximately 1 day to set the silk threads on the loom. "Tansal" is used to put the "wagi". The "pavda" works like the paddle to speed up the weaving. The "jhatka" is used to push the "kandi" from one side to the other. "Pushthe" is used in designing the border of Paithani in which it is punched according to design application. "Pagey" are tied to the loom. The threads are then passed through "fani".
B) Weaving technique of Paithani saree:
It is a revival of hundreds of years tradition in weaving .But so far as its weaving technique is to filling the picks will not move directly from one end of saree to the other end, width wise, but the weft yarn returns being interlaced or interlocked with the threads of different weft colors. This procedure of returning of thread has no Indian technical name but still it is called brocade weaving.
Paithani saris are silks in which there is no extra weft forming figures. The figuring weave was obtained by a plain tapestry technique. There are three techniques of weaving. Split tapestry weave - the simplest weave where two weft threads are woven up to adjacent warp threads and then reversed. The warp threads are then cut and retied to a different colour.
Interlocking method - two wefts are interlocked with each other where the colour change is required. The figuring weft is made of a number of coloured threads, weaving plain with warp threads and interlocked on either side with the grounds weft threads are invariably gold threads which interlock with the figure weft threads, thus forming the figure. This system of interlocking weaves, known as kadiyal, is done so that there are no extra floats on the back of the motif thus making the design nearly reversible.
Dobe-tailing method - two threads go around the same warp, one above the other, creating a dobe-tailing or tooth-comb effect. Weaving could take between 18 to 24 months, depending upon the complexity of the design. Today there are many weavers who are working for the revival of this treasured weave.
Borders and the pallu
In the days of Peshwas, the borders and the pallu were made of pure gold mixed with copper to give it strength. The proportion was 1 kg of gold to 1 tola of copper. The combination was spun into a fine wire called the zari. In recent times, zari is made of silver, coated with gold plating. The borders are created with interlocked weft technique either with coloured silk or zari. In the border woven with a zari, ground coloured silk patterns are added as supplementary weft inlay against the zari usually in the form of flower or a creeping vine.
Two types of border are the Narali and the Pankha.
Even if a very good weaver has woven the main body, a master weaver is needed for the intricate inlay border paths. The borders and the pallu are woven in zari regardless of the colour of the sari.
Types of Paithani
Paithani can be classified by three criteria: motifs, weaving, and colours.
Classification by motif:
Bangadi Mor - the word bangadi means bangle and mor means peacock. So bangadi mor means a peacock in a bangle or in a bangle shape. The motif is woven onto the pallu, the design sometimes having a single dancing peacock. The saris using this motif are very expensive because of the design.
Munia brocade - The word munia means parrot. Parrots are woven on the pallu as well as in border. Parrots are always in leaf green colour. The parrots in silk are also called tota-maina.
Lotus brocade - lotus motifs are used in pallu and sometimes on the border. The lotus motif consists of 7-8 colours.
Classification by colour:

Kalichandrakala - pure black sari with red border.
Raghu - parrot green coloured sari.
Shirodak - pure white sari
Classification by Motif
• Bangadi Mor (Peacock in a bangle or in a bangle shape, woven in pallu)

• Munia brocade (Parrots woven on the pallu as well as in border)
• Lotus brocade (Lotus motifs used in pallu and maybe border)
Classification by Weaving
• Kadiyal border sari (Warp and weft of the border are of the same color, body has different colors for warp and weft)
• Kad/Ekdhoti (Single shuttle used for weaving of weft and colors of warp yarn different from that of weft yarn)
Classification by Color

• Kalichandrakala (Black sari with red border)
• Raghu (Parrot sari )
• Shirodak (Pure white sari)
Patola is an exquisite and wonderfully intricate silk textile of India, believed to have originated in the 7th Century AD. Three major Rajput clans the Chavadas (746 - 942AD), Solankis (942-1244 AD) and Vaghelas (1244 - 1304AD) — ruled from here. The Solanki rule is considered as the golden age; prosperity peaked during the reign of King Kumarpal. Patan became a centre of patola weaving during his reign (1143-1173AD).

Patola silk textiles are produced by resist dyeing of warp and weft threads before weaving, a complex process known as double ikat which is also practiced in other parts of India and abroad. However, Patola of Patan(Gujarat) is unique in its geometric floral and figurative patterns executed with precision of design planning, and meticulously accurate weaving alignment which results in precise outline of the patterns. This requires immense visualization and coordination skills. It is a marvel of weaving and precision, with its many coloured warp and weft matching perfectly at their designated places to create intricate motifs.The practitioners of this craft are the Salvis, who get their name from ‘Sal’ (Sanskrit for loom) and “Vi” (the rosewood sword used in a Patola loom).Patola saris continue to remain highly prized as festive clothing in Gujarat. The widespread opinion that they represent the traditional wedding sari, however, is not quite correct. The mothers of the couple and other older ladies will often appear in the colourful glow of these silks as a sign of their prosperity, religious feeling and traditional way of life. Patola are a matter of prestige. They are carefully preserved family heirlooms and are often presented as bridal gifts. A bridegroom may wear one over his shoulders as a lucky charm, or use it to drape his horse on his ride to the wedding ceremony.In some Hindu and Jain communities, patola play a major role in the simanta oragharni ceremony, which is celebrated in the seventh month of pregnancy. This phenomenon demonstrates that patola are auspicious and protect their wearer from sickness and misfortune.
Material- Traditionally pure silk and natural dyes were used.Since about last 100 years, tradition had given way to the use of fast to bleach and easy to dye chemical colours (dyes). Therefore the use of natural dyes in Patola is discontinued. But since last twenty years again the importance to use of vegetable dyes became the consideration of its eco-friendliness and to maintain the tradition of old natural dyes in Patola.
The re-introduced, vegetable materials are: Turmeric, Marigold Flower, Onion Skin, Pomegranate rinds, Madder, Lac, Catechu, Cochineal, Indigo along with different mordant like alum, tinchloride, ferrous sulphate, copper sulphate, Tennic Acid, Oxalic Acid, Potassium Dichromate etc.Dewelling on the fast colour of the patola, a Gujarat poet wrote; "Padi patole bhat faatey pan phite nahin" meaning the design laid down in the patola may be torn, but it shall never fade.
Warp and weft silk threads are tied separately with cotton thread on the portions already marked out in conformity with the proposed design in the fabric. This tied portion is meant to remain unexposed to the colour while dyeing. United portion which has absorbed one colour, may be tied while dyeing in another colour. Tyeing untying, retying and dyeing in different shades are the main features of this process.
Creating design by tyeing knots on warp and weft
After completion of dyeing work of warps & wefts, the threads of the warp of different repeats of a pattern are put together in a sequence on the loom, so that the design becomes visible. The threads of wefts are wound on to bobbins and kept in the bamboo shuttle for weaving process. The patola is woven on a primitive hand operated harness loom made out of rosewood and bamboo strips. The loom lies at a slant, with the left side being lower than the right side. The bamboo shuttle is made to move to and fro through warp shades. Each weft thread is thoroughly examined and matched with each part of the warp design pattern while weaving.
The tension of the warp threads are removed by the help of needle after every time weaving of 8" to 10" of fabric. Patola weaving is a highly accurate just a positioning of warp and weft of similar colour to obtain perfect design and harmony.The process is labour intensive, time consuming and requires high order of skill and dexterity.
Tyeing knots again after previous dyeing
It takes three to four months to prepare tie- dyed design on warp and weft threads for one sari of 6 yards length by 48" width. Two Salvis (weavers) working together weave just about 8" to 9" a day. It takes 40 to 50 days to weave a sari. Thus 4 to 5 persons take a periods of 5 to 6 months to complete a sari depending on the intricacy of the design.

Traditional Patola Loom
The patola was traditionally woven in a sari length of 5 to 9 yards by 45" to 54" width.The range now extends to include tablecloth borders scarves, handkerchiefs
Design Elements:
Essentially the design in a patola are based on traditional motifs called "Bhat". These designs include "narikunj", "paan", "phulwadi", "chowkdi", "raas", "chhabdi", "choktha", "navratana", "paanchphul", "sarvariya", "laheriya"etc. Flowers, animals, birds and human figures form the basic designs

Maheshwari sarees

The beautiful Maheshwari sarees are among the most popular sarees produced in India. These sarees are in demand not only in India, but also in international markets.
History of the Maheshwari saree
These sarees are largely produced in the town of Maheshwar in Madhya Pradesh. The origin of the Maheshwari sarees dates back to the 18th century, when the state of Indore in Madhya Pradesh was ruled by Queen Ahilyabai Holkar.
According to legends, Queen Ahilyabai ordered craftsmen from Surat and Malwa to design special 9-yard sarees to be gifted to royal guests and relatives. The sarees that were produced by these craftsmen became popular as Maheshwari sarees. It is believed that Queen Ahilyabai herself created the design of the first saree. These sarees were originally worn by the ladies of royal status, but nowadays, they are available in both national and international markets. .

The designs in the Maheshwari sarees were inspired by the detailing on the walls of the Fort of Maheshwar. The popular designs used in these sarees, which were inspired from the designs on the fort walls are the ‘Chatai’ pattern that is the ‘Mat’ pattern, the ‘Chameli ka phool’ pattern that is the ‘Chameli flower’ pattern, the ‘Eent’ pattern that is the ‘Brick’ pattern as well as the ‘Heera’ pattern that is the ‘Diamond’ pattern. These designs are found on Maheshwari sarees even today.

Material used

Originally, the Maheshwari saree was made of pure silk. Then in course of time, these sarees began to be made in pure cotton and with a mixture of silk and cotton (silk yarn in the warp and cotton in the weft). Nowadays, wool is also being used in the production of Maheshwari sarees. These sarees are extremely light in weight and present a sharp contrast to the Kanchipuram sarees of South India.


Maheshwari sarees were initially made only in dark shades like red, maroon, black, purple and green. Today, these sarees are also being made in lighter shades and gold and silver threads are being made use of. In local dialect, the most popular colors used in Maheshwari sarees are ‘Angoori’ (grape green), ‘Dalimbi’ (deep pink), ‘Gul Bakshi’ (magenta), ‘Jaamla’ (purple), ‘Tapkeer’ (deep brown), ‘Aamrak’ (golden), ‘Rani’ (deep pink), ‘Dhaani’ (green) and ‘Kaashi’ (light purple). Usually, vegetable dyes are used in the preparation of these sarees.


These sarees usually have a plain body or have stripes or checks of different varieties. Some of these varieties are highly popular and are known by different names. The ‘Chandrakala’ and the ‘Baingani Chandrakala’ are examples of plain Maheshwari sarees, while the ‘Chandratara’, the ‘Beli’ and the ‘Parbi’ are examples of striped and checked ones.

Special features

The unique feature of a Maheshwari saree is its reversible border. The border is designed in such a way that both sides of the saree can be worn. This is locally known as ‘Bugdi’.
The cotton that is used in these sarees is brought in from Coimbatore in South India, while the silk is from Bangalore and the wool is imported from Australia. The processing of the raw material is undertaken in Kolkata and the saree is woven by the women of Maheshwar.
An original Maheshwari saree can cost anywhere between Rs. 1500 to Rs. 5000.

Banaras brocade
As in the History of the India Banaras is known since regveda about 1500 year 2000 year BC and also a period of Ramayana and Mahabharata come to know identical reference about the fame of Banarasi Sari and Fabrics as known Hiranya Vastra (Pitamber Vastra). In the ancient time Banaras was famous for the weaving of cotton sari and dress materials, but slowly switched over to silk weaving, during the Mughal period around 14th century weaving of brocades with intricate designs using gold & Silver threads was the speciality of Banaras.

The weaving craft of Banaras

Banaras, or Varanasi or Kashi is one of the rich weaving craft Centre of India, famous for Brocade saris and allover dress material. Exclusive varieties of the saris are Jangla, Tanchoi, Vaskat, Cutwork, Tishu, and Butidar which are made of silk warp and silk weft, on plain/satian ground base, brocaded with extra weft patterns in different layouts introducing Buties, Bells, creepers, Buttas in ground, border and Anchal for getting glamours appearance.
As in the History of the India Banaras is known since regveda about 1500 year 2000 year BC and also a period of Ramayana and Mahabharata come to know identical reference about the fame of Banarasi Sari and Fabrics as known Hiranya Vastra (Pitamber Vastra
In the ancient time Banaras was famous for the weaving of cotton sari and dress materials, but slowly switched over to silk weaving, during the Mughal period around 14th century weaving of brocades with intricate designs using gold & Silver threads was the speciality of Banaras.

Brocade refer to those textiles where in patterns are created in weaving by transfixing or thrusting the pattern-thread between the warp. In regular weaving the weft thread passes over and under the warp thread regularly. But when brocade designs in gold, silver silk or cotton threads are to be woven, special threads are transfixed in between by skipping the passage of the regular weft over a certain number of warp threads (depending upon the pattern) and by regularizing the skipping by means of pre-arranged heddles for each type of patterning. There may be several sets of heddles so arranged that on different occasions, they raise and depress irregular number of threads in turn, as required by the exigencies of the pattern.
Zari-brocades-When gold and silver threads are use along with or without silk-threads, thrust either as special weft or warp to create glittering raised ornamentation. We have the Zari brocade kind of fabrics. When we talk of gold or silver threads. It is to be under stood that the gold, threads are actually only silver threads with gold polish and that these threads are obtained by closely winding extremely fine gold or silver wire around a silk thread.

According to Sir George Watt, When the gold and silver threads were used so densely that the ground was hardly visible, the material was khinkhab proper and was too heavy for clothing, it was therefore used for trappings, hangings and furnishing. Only that material in which the Zari patterns were scattered was true brocade. This was used for clothing
Banarasi Silk Jamdani

The silk Jamdani, a technical variety of brocade or the 'figured muslin' ,traditionally woven in Banaras may be considered to be one of the finest products to come out of the Banarasi loom. Here silk fabric is brocaded with cotton and rarely with zari threads. Jamdani is woven by transfixing the pattern thread between a varying number of warp threads in proportion to the size of the designed then throwing the shuttle to pass the regular weft. By repeating this process, where in the size and placing of the cut-thread is in accordance with the character of the pattern, the Jamdani weaver produces arrange of intricate designs.

Some of the traditional motifs of Jamdani included Chameli (Jasmine), Panna hazar (Thousand emeralds) , Genda buti (Marigold flower), Pan buti (leaf form), Tircha (diagonally striped) etc. The most attractive design feature of the Jamdani sari was konia or a corner-motif having a floral mango buta.
It has own special character of (URTU) Binding in the figured designs on ground fabrics using extra weft designs thread dampatch technique for the or namentation of the sari. It is silk x silk base fabrics or-namented with extra looking and technique of weaving in karhuwan.
Jangala Sari
Brocade weavers of Banares have often endeavored to add a sense of gaiety and festivity by brocading patterns in colorful silk threads amidst the usual gold and silver motifs ;of the brocade convention. The present sari is an example in which muga silk motifs have been in laid. Jangala wildly scrolling and spreading vegetation motif is among the eldest in Banaras brocades. This old rose sari is embellished with beautifully contrasted gold-creepers and silver flowers of the Jangala motif. The borders have brocaded running creepers in Muga silk and gold and silver-Zari threads. The end panel is a combination of motifs of the borders and condensed Jangala of the field. Muga silk brocading enhances the beauty of the sari while reducing the cost. All over Jal Jangla design to get the stylish work of the saris and also used Mina Work for the decoration of the fabrics. The exclusive design sari has time taking skilled work, costly fabrics are widely accepted during the wedding occasions.
Jamawar Tanchoi Sari
Using a technique similar to that of brocade, weavers of Banaras weave saris using colorful extra weft silk yarn for patterning . This varieties known as Tanchoi. This maroon-colored sari in satin weave is brocaded with elaborate motifs from the Jamawar shawl tradition from Kashmir, the characteristic feature of which was paisley motif, often elaborated into a maze which would look kateidos-copic in character. The field has a densely spread minute diaper of Jamawar style paisley. The end panel has large motifs of multiple paisley forms-one growing out of the other. The border, as well as the cross-borders of the end panel, have miniature paisley creepers. Tanchoi fabric has remarkable fame in the India as well as all over in the world widely acceptable to all kind of the people.
Tissu Sari
The renowned Zari brocade weavers of Banaras has evolved a technique of weaving tissue material which looked like golden cloth. By running Zari in weft a combination of Zari and silk in extra-weft (pattern thread) and silk in warp, the weave of this sari has densely patterned with golden lotuses floating in a glimmering pond. The 'drops of water' are created by cut work technique. The borders and the end panel have a diaper of diamond patterns enclosed by a border of running paisley motifs. Tissue saris are most popular as wedding saris among the affluent. Tissue sari has glazed, shining character due to the use of real gold Zari/Silver Zari in weft on silk work ground are ornamented with the particulars traditional design such as Jangla Butidar, Shikargah Minadar etc.

Butidar Sari

The most striking feature of this dark blue silken sari is that it is brocaded with pattern threads of gold, silver and silk. Due to darker shade of gold and lighter of silver this variety of patterning in brocade is conventionally known as Ganga-Jamuna, indicating the confluence of these two river whose waters are believed to be dark and light receptively. The end panel has a row of arches, in each of which a bouquet of flowers is placed. A slightly smaller and variegated bouquet is diapered all over the field.

The butidar sari is a rich kind of the Banaras sari in high traditional pattern and motif of the design locally popularized such as Angoor Bail, Gojar Bail, Luttar Bail, Khulta bail, Baluchar bail, Mehrab bail, Doller butti,Ashraffi Butti, Latiffa Butti, Reshem Butti Jhummar Butti,Jhari Butta, Kalma Butti,Patti Butti, Lichhi Butti, Latiffa Butta, Kairy Kalanga Thakka Anchal, Mehrab Anchal, Baluchar Butta with the use of real gold and silver Jari and Katan silk in the weft.


Chanderi, a township having a very rich & glorious historical heritage and past is situated in the hills of Vindhyachal range having a population of 30,000. This township located close to Betwa river and which presently forms part of District Ashok Nagar (previously Guna) in the State of Madhya Pradesh, India. It had flourished a focal point of Central India with intensive economic activity. Phonetically Chanderi is linked with the Chandelas. Chanderi was first settled and fortified in the 11th Century by the Pratihara king Kirtipal.
The foundation of this township goes back to the Chandella King, Kirtivarma, Prince of Mahoba in the years 1060 – 1100 AD. The place of the city is also related to the name of “Chandella”. Historically speaking Chanderi, Chandrapuram, Chandragiri etc. are well known names in Indian topography. The first certain reference to Chanderi in a written source is found in Barani who relates the successful attack of Ghiyas al Din Balban against the city in 1251 AD. However, the Muslims did not settle in Chanderi before its Conquest in 1305 AD by Ala al Din Khilji. It is in 1305 AD around 20,000 people from a place called “Lakhnoti” in Bengal (presently in Dhaka) migrated to Chanderi as followers of Maulana Majibuddin Usuf and after migration these people started the production of Muslin/Malmal. Chanderi remained in the hands of Bundelas until 1811. The Craftsmanship and the weaving work were continued by all the Muslim rulers of the City. In the Government Gazetteer Chanderi has been mentioned as long famous city for the manufacture of delicate Muslins, an industry that is still carried on. The cloth/fabric manufactured here is of unusual fineness while the colored silk and gold borders are of great beauty. A common saying refers to this Industry:-
Shahr Chanderi mominwara , Tiria raj, khasam panihara
In Chanderi town ,a city of weavers ,The wives rule while husbands carry water

1. Procurement of raw – material: the master weaver purchases the raw material from the yarn dealers who in turn get the silk from Karnataka. The silk yarn used is largely imported Chinese or Korean silk. The cotton yarn is procured from places like Coimbatore in southern India, and Jaipur and is usually pre-dyed. The yarn dealers of cotton also often get customized colors dyed as per the requirement of the master weaver. However the minimum quantity required for such dyeing is almost 25 kgs. or 10 hanks.
2. The dyeing in Chanderi is undertaken mainly for the silk yarn and by dyers many of whom have been in this skill since long. The silk yarn dying process takes about 45 to 60 minutes depending on the color.
3. After dyeing the yarn is loosened or wound on reels or swiftons. This is a prelude to the preparation of the warp and weft.
4. For the weft the yarn is wound on pirns with the help of a charkha and this activity is usually performed by the members of weavers family. Warping is a specialized process, which is performed by the warpers. The warp yarns are wound on bobbins, which are arranged across a wooden frame called reel. The yarns from these reels pass through a reed to be wound around a vertical drum. A warper in good times would warp 4 or 5 warps for 12 sarees each.
5. The next step is the task of passing the warp through the reed and the healds. The warp threads are then joined to the old war threads with a deft twist of the hand of the women folk. This process takes approx 3-4 days.
6. Before the actual weaving begins the weaver sets the design of the border and the pallav. The respective ends of the design are tied to the a vertical harness called jala and the process is called jala tyeing. This process takes anywhere between 3-4 days depending on the complexity of the design. The figured effects are produced with the help of an extra weft and the number of tillis (or the no of weft yarns will determine the time taken). That is higher the number more will be the time taken. However the time reduces if the number of ply in the weft yarn is more and consequently the weaver can move faster and cover more ground. However in this case the output is less fine. Similarly higher the reed count more is the production time.
7. The weaving is performed by one or two very skilled weavers of the same family. The looms being used are largely traditional pit looms with throw shuttle.
8. The Chanderi fabric does not require any post loom process and is cut off the loom to be packed and sold. It is packed as per the requirement of the buyer and of the trader by way of customized packing methods.

The Chanderi Fabric is known for the centuries for its transparency, Buttis and sheer texture

Since the inception of the Chanderi fabric and primarily ladies Sarees, the butiis on the Fabric are hand-woven and absolutely woven on Handloom. There is no use of any other process of manufacturing and it is Gold coated, Silver coated and as well as Copper coated. Now a days Tested Zari Butti are also common and in use. The Tested Zari is made with the use of Synthetic yarn. The Buttis are made by use of Needles. Number of Needles used depends upon the number of Buttis and its size. For each Butti/Butta separate Needles are used. All the weavers involved in this process are experts in it since they have been doing this for long time. The most popular and traditional kind of Butti is Asharfi Butti, which is in shape of Asharfi (woven in pure gold and silver Zari and now a day it is also woven in Tested Zari). This kind of Butti was in use in past only by the Royal families because it is very expensive as genuine Gold and Silver is used. The Butti which is big is size is popularly called as Butta with all other specifications. More so and it is there ancestral business and trade. The weavers involved in this process are long standing in trade and are well experienced. The handmade Buttis are at Chanderi permanent in its nature and its existence as well, inter laced and its original shape and structure always remain the same even after its long use. Whereas in comparison the Buttis created with the use of Power loom are not permanent and losses its shape and structure after some time. The thread used is of fine quality and even after long use its thread never comes out and its original shape and appearance is retained forever. It has no comparison anywhere else in the country or for that reasons in whole of the world. . It is easily distinguishable from the Buttis made outside Chanderi even with necked eyes because of its manner and process of manufacture and in this manner it is exclusive and this itself is requisite ingredient for legal protection and for exclusive recognition. Initially the use of this quality and products has been a matter of use by the Royal families, which for a long time is used by the common man.

The Chanderi Fabric is also well known for its transparency and sheer texture. The transparency is a unique feature, which is not commonly or found in any of the textile products all over the country. The transparency in Chanderi Fabric products is the consequence of Single Flature quality of yarn used. Flature yarn is the quality of yarn when the Glue of the raw yarn is not taken out. The none- degumming of the raw yearn gives shine and transparency to the finished fabric. This quality is not found in any other Fabric of the country and it is exclusive to the Chanderi Fabric. The special transparent yarn is used both in warp and weft of different varieties and configurations. The transparent yarn is cotton and as well as silk also.

The silk yarn used of 2/2's, 2/100's and 16/18 denier. The term Denier connotes the fineness of yarn. The cotton uses in Chanderi Fabric is 2/120's, 2/100's (plain yarn) and 2/120 and 2/100 mercerized yarns. The yarn used in Chanderi fabric is of high quality and extra fine. Because of non-degumming of the raw yarn, the finished fabric produced is extremely transparent and which in consequence result into sheer texture.
Over the last centuries Chanderi has evolved as a center for excellence for weaving gold embellished fabrics mainly, sarees, for the erstwhile royalty and elite.
Chanderi has been originally producing three kinds of fabric:
1. Pure silk – where the warp as well as the weft is woven in 13/15 and 16/18 denier silk.
2. Chanderi cotton – where the warp and weft are 120's to 200's cotton. The Chanderi muslins have been known to be superior to Dacca muslins because of the softness and feel; this was traditionally achieved through the use of koli kanda a local wild onion which was used for sizing. Today this quality has been discontinued.
3. Silk Cotton – the weaver deftly combines 13/15-denier warp with 100s/120s cotton in the weft.


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