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History of Ethnic Sarees

 

Uppada Sarees

 

In recent years Uppada's soaring popularity has led people to back track to its root learn about the creation process of this sarees .The weaving technique is called Jamdani, which is age old technique.  Yet after so much research and writings, people still get lured into the tale of jamdani's history, like they get lured into an old folktale, over and over again.

 

The fabric itself is hypnotic. One can stare at the intricacy of the motifs for hours and still be unable to grasp the amount of patience, work and time needed to create it. During early 19th century the production of expensive jamdani suffered set back. The most important cause of decline and the ultimate extinction of the Jamdani industry was the industrial revolution in England, which introduced modern inventions in manufacture machine-made Jamdani with the support of jacquard and soon it began to capture the world market for jamdani. This old weaving technique has been re-introduced in Uppada during the year 1988 by Ghanshyam Sarode, a textile designer. And thus a new BRAND has been created. i.e. "Uppada Sarees" which took almost a whole one decade, and now the people are fond of the sarees.

 

Jamdani weaves were amongst most prized contribution to the rich textile heritage of India. The various historical references to the superb quality and the high-esteem in which these fabrics were held, are too numerous to elucidate though it can be said that they form part of some of the most valued textiles in collections all over the world. The Victoria and Albert Museum of London have a fine collection of jamdanis. The saris with their distinct decorative patterns,seem to hold an especially high status in the society. Being the work of two people in couple of months, the price for a Jamdani sari lies well above the ordinary weaves of the saree, and one of the costliest sarees.

 

The saris with their distinct decorative patterns,seem to hold an especially high status in the society. Being the work of two people in couple of months, the price for a Jamdani sari lies well above the ordinary weaves of the saree, and one of the costliest sarees.

 

1. Jamdani weaving technique with pattern of the design drawn on paper: 

Woven on a simple frame or pit looms. The pattern of the design drawn on paper is pinned beneath the warp threads and as the weaving proceeds; the designs are worked in like embroidery. When the weft thread approaches close to where a flower or other figure has to be inserted, the weaver takes up on of a set of bamboo needles round each of which is wrapped yarn of a different color as needed for the design. As every weft of woof thread passes through the warp. He sews down the intersected portion of the pattern with one or another of the needles as might be required, and so continues till the pattern is completed. Very often, two persons work together on a sari. Traditionally, jamdanis were white of fine cotton, with designs in bleached white.

 

2. Jamdani woven with the help of jala :

Jamdani traditionally woven in Uppada refers to an extremely fine fabric cotton or zari brocading on cotton fabric. Here, two weavers work on a single loom where the design on paper, kept underneath the warp, is used as a guide in placing the cut threads, according to the design, over the warp. These are, then, interlaced into the warp with fine bamboo sticks in a zigzag manner to form the motif. This is followed by the weft thread, the process being repeated before the shuttle carrying the weft is thrown across again.

 

 

 

 

 

Paithani

 

Paithani is a variety of sari, named after the Paithan region in Maharashtra state where they are woven by hand. Made from very fine silk, it is considered as one of the richest saris in Maharashtra.Paithani is characterized by borders of an oblique square design, and a pallu with a peacock design. Plain as well as spotted designs are available. Among other varieties, single colored and kaleidoscope-colored designs are also popular. The kaleidoscopic effect is achieved by using one color for weaving lengthwise and another for weaving widthwise.

 

Origin of Paithanis

 

Even today Maharashtra is the home of the most celebrated textile's the paithani, gold embroidered zari sari with its wonderful designs and woven borders. Even during the medieval period, the interaction between the Hindu and Muslim rulers gave rise to new styles. The Marathas extended their patronage to textile activities. Some centres became renowned for their textiles and the fabric frequently derived its name from the place of origin. The Peshwas in the 18th century had a special love for paithani textiles and it is believed that Madhavrao Peshwa even asked for the supply of asavali dupattas in red, green, saffron, pomegranate and pink colours. Human skills may have been replaced by machines. However, no machine-made fabric can compare with the hand-made beauty of the paithani sari by the master craftsmen of Maharashtra.

 

1) Background

 

The art is more than 2000 years old, developed in the then splendid city of Pratishthan ruled by the legendary Satavahanas ruler Shalivahana (See Shalivahana era) now Paithan by the Godavari in Marathwada, some 50 km from Aurangabad). In the far past it had been an international trade centre for silk and zari. Paithan was the capital of the Satavahanas dynasty (200 B.C.) and used to export cotton and silks to the great Roman Empire. During the 17th century, Aurangzeb patronized the weavers and the designs in this era came to be known as "Aurangzebi". Yeola is another place where Paithani is still alive, although few families practice the art now. It is said that the Peshwas encouraged this fascinating art of Paithani and patronized the production in Paithan. This technique of tapestry is one of the most ancient methods of creating Paithani with weaving in a multiple weft threads of different colours. The Peshwas in the 18th century had a special love for Paithani textiles and it is believed that Madhavrao Peshwa even asked for the supply of asavali dupattas in red, green, saffron, pomegranate and pink colours. Paithani weave was at the peak of its popularity during the reign of the Peshwas.

 

It is believed that the Nizam of Hyderabad was also attracted to the Paithanis and made several trips to the small town of Paithan. His daughter-in-law, Niloufer, is believed to have introduced new motifs to the border and pallu (outer end of the sari) designs. Literature, both classical and folk, testifies to the existence of Paithani silk even before the Mughal age, though the last munificent patrons were the Peshwa rulers. The men wore the stole over their dhoti and kurta, while their women were resplendent in Paithani saris at weddings, festivals and religious ceremonies. As with most of the traditional arts and crafts of India, Paithani too suffered a decline under the British Raj. Once there were over 500 families practicing this hereditary art which required high technical skill and aesthetic sense, and tremendous discipline to do the slow, tedious work. Their migrations began with Muslim aggressions. The khatri community of weavers got scattered in search of work and settled down to whatever they found.

 

 

2) 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.

 

 

3) Motifs:

 

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.

 

 

4) Traditional Colours:

 

The dominant traditional colours of vegetable dyes included:

Pophali - yellow

Red

Lavender

Purple

Neeligunji - sky blue

Magenta

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

 

 

5) 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".

 

There are two types of motion:

 

Primary motions:

 

Shedding - dividing the warp sheet or shed into two layers, one above the other for the passage of shuttle with the weft threads.

Picking - passing a pick of weft from one selvedge of a cloth through the warp threads.

Beating - dividing the last pick through the fell of cloth with the help of slay fixed on the reel.

 

Secondary motions:

 

Take up motion - taking up the cloth when being woven and winding it on the roller.

Let off motion - letting the warp wound on a warp beam, when the cloth is taken up on the cloth roller beam. Taking up and letting off the warp are done simultaneously.

 

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.

 

Ghanshyam Sarode's work in handloom is interesting, but for the approaching into what goes behind the tempt of the long-established hand-weaving in India. When one buys these sarees, she is buying a feeling in owning such an astonishing design. The exploration in the field of Handlooms has made few accepted techniques emerge from an exasperatingly lengthy, dense &complex with time intense process.

 

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.

 

 

6) 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.

 

 

7) 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

 

 

 

Jamdani

 

 

Jamdani is a fabric of fine cotton muslin of Bengali origin, with colored stripes and patterns. In the first half of the nineteenth century, James Taylor described the figured or flowered jamdani; in the late nineteenth century, T. N. Mukharji referred to this fabric as jamdani muslin. Whether figured or flowered, jamdani is a woven fabric in cotton, and it is undoubtedly one of the varieties of the finest muslin. It has been spoken of as the most artistic textile of the Bangladeshi weaver. Traditionally woven around Dhaka and created on the loom brocade, jamdani is fabulously rich in motifs.

 

The origin of the word jamdani is uncertain. One popular belief is that it came from the Persian words 'jama', which means cloth and 'dana', which means buti or diapering. Jamdani therefore could mean diapered cloth. It is probable that Muslims introduced jamdani weaving and the industry was their monopoly for long.

 

Though mostly used for saris, Jamdani is also used for scarves. Jamdani is believed to be a fusion of the ancient cloth-making techniques of Bengal (perhaps 2,000 years old) with the muslins produced by Bengali Muslims since the 14th century. Jamdani is the most expensive product of Dhaka looms since it requires the most lengthy and dedicated work.

 

amdani patterns are mostly of geometric, plant, and floral designs and are said to originate in Persian and Mughal fusion thousands of years ago. Due to the exquisite pain-staking methodology required, only aristocrats and royal families were able to afford such luxuries.

 

The main pecuiliarity of Jamdani work is the geometric design. The expert weavers do not need to draw the design on paper, but instead work from memory. Jamdanis have different names according to their design (for instance, panna hajar, dubli lala, butidar, tersa, jalar, duria, charkona & many others). Present-day Jamdani saris have on their ground designs of rose, Jasmine, lotus, bunches of bananans, bunches of ginger and sago. A Jamdani with small flowers diapered on the fabric is known as Butidar. If these flowers are arranged in reclined position it is called tersa jamdani. It is not necessary that these designs are made of flowers only. There can be designs with peacocks and leaves of creepers. If such designs cover the entire field of the sari it is called jalar naksha. If the field is covered with rows of flowers it is known as fulwar jamdani. Duria Jamdani has designs of spots all over. Belwari jamdani with colorful golden borders used to be made during the Mughal period, especially for the women of the inner court.

 

The early History:

 

The earliest mention of the origin of Jamdani and its development as an industry is found in Kautilya's book of economics (about 300 AD) where it is stated that this fine cloth used to be made in Bengal and Pundra. Its mention is also found in the book of Periplus of the Eritrean Sea and in the accounts of Arab, Chinese and Italian travelers and traders. Four kinds of fine cloth used to be made in Bengal and Pundra in those days, viz khouma, dukul, pattrorna and karpasi. From various historical accounts, folklore and slokas, it may be assumed that very fine fabrics were available in Bengal as far back as the first decade before Christ. Cotton fabrics like dukul and muslin did not develop in a day. Dukul textile appears to have evolved into muslin. Jamdani designs and muslin developed simultaneously. The fine fabric that used to be made at Mosul in Iraq was called mosuli or mosulin In his 9th century book Sril Silat-ut-Tawarikh the Arab geographer Solaiman mentions the fine fabric produced in a state called Rumy, which according to many, is the old name of the territory now known as Bangladesh. In the 14th century, Ibn Batuta profusely praised the quality of cotton textiles of Sonargaon. Towards the end of the 16th century the English traveler Ralph Fitch and historian Abul Fazl also praised the muslin made at Sonargaon.

 

The accounts given by travelers to the Indian continent have however often given meticulous details about the people's dress. Thus if one is to go through the revealing descriptions from "Periplus of the Erhythreai Sea" and follow it by Megesthanes records of King Chandragupta's court and again read on in the travelogue of Chinese historian Hieun Tsiang in the 7th century A.D. moving on to Alberuni in the 11th century, one finds a continuity of the textiles produced and, perfected in different parts of the country through the ages. Abul Fazal's Ain-e-Akbari, is perhaps our most informative recent account of woven loom textiles developed under the Muslims and records by Abul Fazal in Ain-e-Akbari describe the intelligent patronage of Emperor Akbar. The delicate muslins of ancient Dhaka were used for both male and female attaire in the Moghul court and the province of Bengal flourished both in commercial trade and agriculture at this time. In 1628 we find the writings of Italian traveller Manrique, which describes the patronage of the court of Emperor Shahajahan, and later Emperor Aurangzeb, who received annual tributes of these fine cloths from their governors in Bengal and which were so special as to cost ten times the price of any other cloths made for Eurpeans or others in the Empire.

 

We are further informed that Muslim merchants in 1887 protested against the monopoly of the East India Company's hold on weaver's throughout East Bengal (48, 000 persons), which was done by issuing permits which prevented the weavers from taking on work from private traders. The entry of Muslim immigrant-travelers and traders proceeded the of Islam (11th century AD) to the subcontinent by at least a hundred years. Even though it was not till the early 1200s AD that Muslim conquerors settled in Bengal, contact with Arab traders, and Persian and Turkish religious mendicants had already taken place via the coastal ports in the Bay of Bengal and through the northern western land route.

 

Muslim rule which commenced in Bengal in 1268 with the reign of the Tughlaks, the area of western Bengal then called Lakhnauti, and in the eastern part called Bangalas was receptive to the message of Islam which spoke of social equality. By the time of the first independent Sultan Shams-uddin Ilyas Shah in 1342 an area considered to be a Sultanate was declared, although it did not constitute the entire region of Bengal as we know it after the British held their sway. The excellence of cotton mulmul or muslin produced on the Dhaka loom was raised to an art par excellence by Moghul patronage, and achieved a uniqueness which has remained unparelled among handloom cloth all over the world. When woven for royalty the muslin was called Mulmal Khas (king's special) and the viceroys who placed orders for the Emperor gave it poetic names such as Ab-e-rawan (running water), Shabnam (evening dew) and Sharbati (winelike). The pinnacle of perfection came in the evolution of a special weave with motifs 'embroidered' along the weft and this fabric was named 'jamdani' which became renowned as the figured or flowered muslins. Dhaka jamdani, more than any other woven craft, became synonymous with Muslim weaving skills. The origin of the word Jamdani has no substantiated etymological explanation, but it is a Indo-Persian word and in its strictest meaning describes 'jama' or clothing.

 

The Mughal Era:

 

Without any shadow of doubt, it can be said that the jamdani industry of East Bengla reached its zenith during the Moghul era. The art of making jamdani designs on fine fabric reached its zenith during Mughal rule. There were handlooms in almost all villages of the Dhaka district. Dhaka, Sonargaon, Dhamrai, Titabari, Jangalbari and Bajitpur were famous for making superior quality jamdani and muslin. Traders from Europe, Iran, Armenia, as well as Mughal-Pathan traders used to deal in these fabrics. The Mughal Emperor, the Nawab of Bengal and other aristocrats used to engage agents at Dhaka to buy high quality muslin and jamdani for their masters' use. The golden age of Dhaka muslin began with Mughal rule. Since then the demand for jamdani and muslin fabrics at home and abroad grew and this prompted further improvement in their manufacture. According to 18th century documents of the East India Company, a high official of the company was posted at Dhaka to buy mulmul khas and sarkar-i-ali. He had the designation of Daroga-i-mulmul. Every weaving factory had an office, which maintained records of the best weavers and other exports. Weavers had no fixed salary. They used to be paid the market value of the jamdani or muslin they produced. It was the duty of the Daroga to keep a sharp eye at every stage of production. Mulmul khas worth about Re. 100,000 collected from Dhaka, Sonargaon and Jangalbari used to be sent to the Mughal court every year. According to a 1747 account of muslin export, fabrics worth Re 550,000 were bought for the Emperor of Delhi, the Nawab of Bengal and the famous trader Jagath Sheth. The same year European traders and companies bought muslin worth Re 950,000. Towards the end of the 18th century, the export of muslin suffered a decline. After the English gained Diwani in Bengal in 1765, Company agents resorted to oppressing the weavers for their own gains. They used to dictate prices. If weavers refused to sell their cloth at a lower price they were subjected to repression. To stop this repression the East India Company started buying the textiles directly from the weavers. According to James Wise, Dhaka muslin worth Re 5 million was exported to England in 1787. James Taylor put the figure at Re 3 million. In 1807, the export came down to Re 850,000 and the export completely stopped in 1817. Thereafter muslin used to go to Europe as personal imports.

 

Manufacturing technique:

 

The fineness of muslin cloth used to depend usually on the art of making yarns. The most appropriate time for making yarns was early morning as the air then carried the highest moisture. For making yarns weavers needed taku, a bamboo basket, a shell and a stone cup. They used popcorn, rice or barley for starch. Before making jamdani designs they used to dye their yarn and starch it. For dye they used flowers and leaves of creepers. For quality jamdani they used yarn of 200 to 250 counts. These days weavers buy fine yarn from the market and use chemical dyes instead of herbal dyes. For making jamdani two weavers sit side by side at a loom to work on the delicate designs. Jamdani designs are made while the fabric is still on the loom. Coarse yarns are used for designs to make the motifs rise above the fabric. Originally, the motifs used to be made on gray fabric. Later on fabrics of other colours were also used. In the 1960s, jamdani work on red fabric became very popular. The Victoria and Albert Museum of London has a fine collection of jamdani with work in white on white fabric.

 

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.

 

Design:

 

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 pallow 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.

 

Colors:

 

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. Other jamdani patterns are known as phulwar, usually worked on pure black, blue black, grey or off-white background colours.

 

Weave:

 

For traditional jamdani weaving, a very elementary pit loom is used and the work is carried on by the weaver and his apprentice. The latter works under instruction for each pick, weaving his needle made from, buffalo horn or tamarind wood to embroider the floral sequence. With a remarkable deftness, the weft yarn is woven into the warp in the background colour from one weaver to the other. 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.

 

Varieties of jamdani work:

 

The main peculiarity of jamdani work is the geometric design. The expert weavers do not need to draw the design on paper. They do it from their memory. Jamdanis have different names according to their design. For instance, panna hajar, dubli jal, butidar, tersa, jalar, duria, charkona, mayur pyanch, kalmilata, puilata, kachupata, katihar, kalka pad, angurlata, sandesh pad, prajapati pad, durba pad shaplaful, baghnali, juibuti, shal pad, chandra pad, chandrahar, hansa, jhumka, kauar thyanga pad chalta pad, inchi pad, bilai adakul naksha, kachupata pad, badghat pad, karlapad, gila pad, kalasful, murali jal, kachi pad, mihin pad, kankra pad, shamukbuti, prajapati buti, belpata pad, jabaful and badur pakhi pad. Present day jamdani saris have on their ground designs of rose, jasmine, lotus, bunch of bananas, bunch of ginger and sago. Efforts are underway to revive traditional jamdani designs. A jamdani with small flowers diapered on the fabric is known as butidar. If these flowers are arranged in reclined position it is called tersa jamdani. It is not necessary that these designs are made of flowers only. There can be designs with peacocks and leaves of creepers. If such designs cover the entire field of the sari it is called jalar naksha. If the field is covered with rows of flowers it is known as fulwar jamdani. Duria jamdani has designs of spots all over. Belwari jamdani with colourful golden borders used to be made during the Mughal period, especially for the women of the inner court.

 

Changes with time:

 

We do not know exactly when jamdani came to be adorned with floral patterns of the loom. It is, however, certain that in the Mughal period, most likely during the reign of either Emperor Akbar (1556-1605) or Emperor Jahangir (1605-1627), the figured or flowered muslin came to be known as the jamdani. Forbes Watson in his most valuable work titled Textile Manufactures and Costumes of the people of India holds that the figured muslins, because of their complicated designs, were always condidered the most expensive productions of the Dhaka looms.

 

The designs and colors also changed with time. Originally, the motifs used to be made on gray fabric. Later on fabrics of other colours were also used. In the 1960s, jamdani work on red fabric became very popular. The Victoria and Albert Museum of London has a fine collection of jamdani with work in white on white fabric. The production methods have also changed. Previously, popcorn, rice or barley was used for starch. Before making jamdani, the designers used to dye their yarn and starch it. For dye they used flowers and leaves of creepers. For quality jamdani they used yarn of 200 to 250 counts. These days weavers buy fine yarn from the market and use chemical dyes instead of herbal dyes. Finally, time has also influenced the designs. Keeping up the modern demand, present day jamdani saris have on their ground designs of rose, jasmine, lotus, bunches of bananas, bunches of ginger and sago. Recently, there is a trend of embroidering Jamdanis or putting ‘’paars’’ on saris. However, many traditionalists are vehemently against this trend, claiming this is destroying a tradition.

 

The decline and Fall: From the middle of the 19th century, there was a gradual decline in the jamdani industry. A number of factors contributed to this decline. Use of machinery in the English textile industry, and the subsequent import of lower quality, but cheaper yarn from Europe, started the decline. Most importantly, the decline of Mughal power in India, deprived the producers of jamdani of their most influential patrons.