All about Jamdani
Ever heard of Jamdani? That’s a pretty stupid question, isn’t it? All of us know about jamdani sarees. Pretty much every Indian woman wants to wear it. After all, it’s a cultural heritage of humanity, which, I might add, was also declared by UNESCO in 2013. If you are eager to know about it in more detail, you’ve come to the right place. In this westernised India, there are very few of us left who are still interested in our heritage. As much as it hurts to see the decline in these cultures, there is still an extensive appreciation for these arts. Being the origin of this art, Bengal is still the place with the highest number of wearers of this silk.
The art of weaving is not as easy as it sounds. It requires skill, precision and the more the experience, the better the outcome. One little mistake can destroy the whole piece. And well, with all this comes the time requirement of this art. We know that everything good takes time. And that’s precisely the case here. An artisan can only weave between a quarter and an inch of fabric per day. That's too much hard work, isn’t it? Can you imagine yourself working day and night for a single saree? I’m pretty sure you can’t. This is exactly the reason why it should be appreciated more. And especially because it has been existing from an ancient era. Would you like to know the history and origin of this handwoven jamdani sarees?
History and Origin:
It was first mentioned in the 9th century when an Arabic traveller, Sulaiman, wrote about it. He said that the fabric was so fine that it could pass through a signet ring. The magic happened when it was infused with other threads creating magnificent motifs. It gained its popularity mostly in the Mughal era, from when it received its name- Jamdani, the flowered muslin. Yes, that’s true. It wasn’t always known as Jamdani. The fabric’s original name was Dhakai as Dhaka was the centre of many ancient textile weaving arts. Isn’t it amazing to think that back in those days the human mind was so creative? Even today, those motifs can do their magic like nothing else. We are still mesmerised by the creation of it. But how are these floral motifs actually created?
It’s all the work of weaving. The base is Muslin, the finest fabric ever created by human hands. The weft technique involved in this creates the motifs which include both structured and unstructured weft. The standard weft holds the warp threads together creating a sheer fabric while the unstructured weft is used to add the labyrinthine motifs into the piece with the help of thick fabrics. And as I said before, An artisan can only weave between a quarter and an inch of fabric per day meaning it requires roughly a whole year to create one masterpiece of a saree. Understand the importance of it?
There are different varieties of Jamdani that you can and which makes them all the more magnificent. Jamdani designs are not only printed on a saree but also on scarves and handkerchiefs. But because of their intricateness, they are pretty expensive. In the Mughal era, only royals could afford to wear this fabric as a luxury.
Although, sales of this fabric declined as westernisation and import started with the intrusion of East India Company. And you probably are aware of the other effects East India Company brought to the textiles companies in India. Well, to make you feel any better, recently, there has been an increase in the demand of Jamdani sarees and people have become more appreciative towards it.
We are all aware of the effects that technology is having on us. There will come a time when the requirement of human labour will come down to zero. But this is a field, weaving, where no robot can ever compete with the motifs made by delicate human hands. And well, with the increase in the number of robots and automation, people are probably going to appreciate the delicacy of humans more and more. That’s the basic nature of us, animals. We want what we don’t have.
Now, if you are wondering where you can find this fabric with the most beautiful motifs in India, Bengal is your place. The origin of the fabric is, obviously, the best place to get your desired item. And the next best place in Bengal to find is the capital, Kolkata. But what if, you didn’t even need to travel all the way to Bengal just for the Saree? That would make things quite easier for you, won’t it?
The Vama is a premium online retail counter for authentic Jamdani saree coming directly from Bengal. We respect our culture and heritage with all of our heart and mind and make sure that it is shown in our products. The one thing that scares us the most is breaking our customer’s trust and for that, we give our best to provide you with every satisfaction that you need. So, next time when you are thinking of trying out this glorious fabric, think of us. We will be waiting for you.