Handloom sarees of Bengal – Know your tradition
The handloom industry of Bengal has triumphed the trauma of partition & has been keeping alive the heritage of highly diverse & stylized hand weaving since decades. Sarees weaved in the handlooms of Bengal villages are not only superior in quality but they can stand any competition as far as their vibrant appearance & rich designs are concerned.
The original handloom sarees of Bengal are weaved in the looms & it can take as long as two years for a weaver working full time to complete a single premium quality handwoven saree. Different types of fibres are used in looms in different techniques to come up with rich & unique saree varieties. Let’s take a look at the wide range of Bengal Handloom Sarees that have earned praise even in the international market,
Muslin and Jamdani Sarees
The history of Jamdani can be traced back to as far as 321 – 185 BC. Praise for the finest Indian ‘muslin’ can be found in the accounts written by the Greek ambassador Megasthenes who adorned the court of Chandragupta Maurya for around five years (302 – 298 BC). The premium quality muslin defined by Megasthenes can be described as the predecessor of one of the finest weavings of Bengal, the ‘Jamdani’.
The meticulous thread work combined with the finest quality of premium fabric gives Jamdani sarees a perfect classy look. The discontinuous weft technique which is both time & labour intensive, is used for weaving the Jamdanis on the looms. Originally cotton from Kapas was the preferred fabric for Jamdani weaving, but to meet the contemporary market demands currently different varieties of cotton, silk & even blend of silk & cotton are used.
Jamdanis are available in different varieties & they vary extensively in price depending on the richness of motif & the fabric used. There are also imitations of Jamdani available at a cheaper price but they certainly lack the class & the feel of real Jamdanis.
Tant is the other variety of handloom sarees that have been a part of the tradition of Bengal since 15th century. Tant sarees are known for their light texture that make them an ideal regular wear for the humid subtropical climate of Bengal. Tant sarees are woven from pure cotton fabrics. There is a range of variations available in tant sarees depending on the thread count.
Particular areas of Bengal are popular for manufacturing particular types of tant sarees with unique motifs & patterns. Shantipuri sarees, manufactured in Shantipur of Nadia district, are weaved with cotton yarn of 60s to 100s count.
Whereas Dhaniakhali Sarees, manufactured in Dhaniakhali of Hooghly District are weaved with cotton yarns of 80s to 100s count along with an extra wrap of 2/100s or 2/80s yarn. Tant from Fulia is the other popular variety. The different counts of cotton yarns weaved & the use of different motifs & patterns give these sarees their characteristic quality & appearance that is sure to be cherished by connoisseurs.
Bengal, which is home to over 750,000 weavers has a rich tradition in production of handloom silk as well. The silk sarees of Murshidabad, popularly known as Murshidabadi silk has a history that dates back to the 18th century. These silk sarees are weaved in handlooms and are available in myriad patterns & colours. Exquisite Baluchari sarees of Bengal are traditionally weaved in handlooms by the weavers of Murishidabad & Bishnupur.
Malda district of West Bengal is reputed for its Tussar silk sarees, a rich & textured silk produced from pure Mulberry silk. Gorod & Motka are some other silk varieties that stand synonymous with the tradition of Bengali sarees.
Ghicha, gachi tussar, jute silk, mulmul silk, alongkari silk, tissue silk, brasso silk & noil silk are some of the more recent silk varieties that have been introduced to attain more variation in the look & feel of the hand-woven sarees. Original handloom made silk sarees are always expensive not only because of the quality of the material but also because of the time & labour it takes to complete a single saree.
Designer Handloom sarees
The handloom industry of Bengal has efficaciously walked a long path & on this glorious journey different unique saree fabrics have been created. Graced by the artistic ideas of accomplished designers, the handloom sarees of Bengal have got a fresh, artistic touch that has glorified the class of the traditional Bengali sarees.
Designer handloom sarees made from the natural cotton or silk or a combination of both and adorned with unique hand works in myriad patterns, currently has taken the centre stage in the aristocratic fashion space of Bengal. These sarees are being weaved & designed only by the veteran craftsmen with the finesse to create a real piece of art with the six yards.
Designer varieties of hand woven & hand worked Jamdani, tant & silks have added a whole new dimension to the sarees of Bengal. Use of zari, stones, pearls & beads to create beautiful & innovative motifs on the hand-woven sarees have given birth to a gorgeous variety of handloom sarees that do not shy away to face international competition or to galore on the runways.
The real designer handloom sarees are expensive but if you consider the time & labour spent for making a single piece of these sarees that can be easily called a creation of art, you are sure to find the price quite reasonable.
Exclusive collection of original Bengal Handloom sarees
Keya Seth Exclusive has brought a special collection of traditional handmade Bengali sarees & hand -picked designer handloom sarees together to meet the demands of the saree connoisseurs. To find the latest designer Jamdani, Tant or Silk, Keya Seth Exclusive is the one stop destination in Kolkata. The Charka Collection available at the store includes only top quality hand woven & richly hand worked sarees that you are sure to fall in love with.