Types of Jamdani Sarees

Jamdani Sarees are one of the most artistically beautiful and extensively handcrafted. The making of these sarees is like an art and they are prepared by experienced weavers who have learned the skill from their ancestors. Jamdani Sarees have a rich history and it is widely popular even today. Jamdani Sarees originate from Dhaka in Bangladesh and was originally known as Dhakai Sarees. They are made out of a smooth silk and cotton blend with intricate designing handwoven into it. The term Jamdani refers to ‘jam’ meaning flower and ‘Dani’ meaning vase. This name was bestowed upon the sarees by the Mughal royal courts. As fascinating as it is to learn about the history and the art of Jamdani sarees, did you know there are different types of Jamdani sarees all of which are different from one another? That is exactly what we will be talking about in this blog. So, get ready to learn all about the types of Jamdani sarees.

Jamdani sarees are differentiated on the basis of their origin, meaning that Jamdani sarees are made in some very significant production centres that are placed around Bangladesh and West Bengal. All of these production centres create a unique type of Jamdani saree that can be differentiated from the others. They are different in the type of designs and motifs that are used for their designing.

Before we learn more about the different centres of Jamdani production, it is important to learn about the history of the craft and how those production centres emerged.

Jamdani sarees were formerly known as Dhakai Sarees, the saree was originally made from muslin silk and the brilliance of the craft was the most appreciated by the Mughal dynasty who helped popularize this industry in the masses. The main centre of production before the Mughal patronage was Dhaka and muslin silk was a staple of Dhaka that was popular for many centuries. There have been records found of the popularity of muslin in the ancient texts from different civilizations. With the help of the royal patronage, the Jamdani saree weaving became an industry and that period started to be known as the golden age of Jamdani sarees. It was during this time that the craft started to expand outside of Dhaka and into the other production centres as well due to the booming business.

With the decline of the Mughal dynasty, it marked a decline for the Jamdani saree industry as well, the weavers who made handwoven materials could not compete with the British machine-made garments that were cheaper and available faster. The British also ruthlessly suppressed the industry and committed every type of inconvenience possible for the weavers that they were not able to continue with their craft. During the British period in India, the Jamdani saree industry suffered immensely. With the independence of India in 1947 and the partition of Bengal into West Bengal and Bangladesh, a lot of the weavers rehabilitated from Bangladesh migrated to West Bengal and started the revival movement for Jamdani sarees.

This is a brief history of Jamdani sarees. The different production centres used different motifs for the decoration of the sarees. the different types of motifs used were:

  • Panna Hajar (Thousand Emeralds)
  • Kalka (Paisley)
  • Butidar (Small Flowers)
  • Tesra (Diagonal Patterns)
  • Fulwar (Flowers arranged in straight rows)
  • Charkona (Rectangular motifs)
  • Duria (Polka spots)
  • Jalar (motifs evenly covering the entire length of the saree)

And the different production centres that produced these sarees are:

1. Dhaka:

The sarees that are made here are known as, Dhakai Jamdani sarees. These sarees were handmade by experienced weavers who took great care to make the sarees as rich and detailed as possible. A single saree took 9 months to 1 year for making.

2. Tangail:

These sarees were known as Tangail Jamdani sarees. These sarees are produced in the Tangail district of Bangladesh and are unique in its featuring broad and beautiful motifs mostly in floral shapes such as lotuses. Other types of motifs used in these sarees are lamps and fish scale designs.

3. Shantipur:

These sarees are known as Shantipur Jamdani sarees and they are produced in India in the district of Shantipur in West Bengal. They are quite similar to Tangail Jamdani sarees and feature big motifs and broad designs. However, they set themselves apart by having a fine texture and striped motifs that can help identify them.

4. Dhaniakhali:

These sarees are also produced in West Bengal (India) in the district of Dhaniakhali. They are different from Tangail and Shantipur Jamdani as they feature a tighter weave and are marked with bold and contrasting colours for the borders and the insides of the sarees.

So, this is a brief look at the different types of Jamdani sarees. If you are interested in learning more about Jamdani sarees be sure to check our website. We also sell all types of Jamdani sarees that are made in the traditional handwoven methods. We are on a mission to help converse the art of handwoven saree making and thus, if you are interested in that, please feel free to check out our products. We provide worldwide shipping and affordable costs for all our sarees.