2017

Jamdani Sarees

Dastkari Haat Samiti

A walk through the bustling Jamdani market of Samudragarh, West Bengal

Jamdani: Sari market of Samudragarh, 2017, From the collection of: Dastkari Haat Samiti
The Market at Samudragarh
The weekly market in Samudragarh is an important day on the calendar. It is open to all – the weaver with a single bag of saris to sell, or the one who has larger quantities. The buyers are mostly traders or shop keepers. They sell their textiles in local villages and towns in the area. They may also take their merchandise further, to the bigger Kolkata bazaars, from where it will go to retailers in distant locations.
Jamdani: Sari market of Samudragarh, 2017, From the collection of: Dastkari Haat Samiti

The weavers carry their bags of saris to the market.

Jamdani: Sari market of Samudragarh, 2017, From the collection of: Dastkari Haat Samiti

At the Samudragarh market, the people seated in the large hall are mostly buyers, collecting their newly acquired merchandise in piles.

Jamdani: Sari market of Samudragarh, 2017, From the collection of: Dastkari Haat Samiti

The weavers go around from one buyer to another displaying their offerings.

Jamdani: Sari market of Samudragarh, 2017, From the collection of: Dastkari Haat Samiti

Retail customers are entertained too.

Jamdani: Sari market of Samudragarh, 2017, From the collection of: Dastkari Haat Samiti

Negotiations among buyers and sellers are a common sight.

Jamdani: Sari market of Samudragarh, 2017, From the collection of: Dastkari Haat Samiti
A Market for Handloom Jamdani's
Handlooms tend to have a different marketing channel. Traders and retailers, mostly from larger towns or from Kolkata, place orders for the bulk of the handloom production of weavers. Local markets were the first stop for handloom Jamdanis till the early 2000, but now handloom products make for only 20% of the business.
Jamdani: Sari market of Samudragarh, 2017, From the collection of: Dastkari Haat Samiti

The advent of power loom weaving brought in much cheaper textiles, and affected local demand drastically.

Markets like the Samudragarh Bazar now mostly trade in power loom saris with new designs.

Jamdani: Sari market of Samudragarh, 2017, From the collection of: Dastkari Haat Samiti

Handloom products makes up less than 20% of the business.

Jamdani: Sari market of Samudragarh, 2017, From the collection of: Dastkari Haat Samiti

Handlooms tend to have a different marketing channel. Traders and retailers, mostly from larger towns or from Kolkata, place orders for the bulk of the handloom production of weavers.

Jamdani: Sari market of Samudragarh, 2017, From the collection of: Dastkari Haat Samiti

It goes directly to them against advances for raw material.

Handloom saris that go to the local markets are at the lower end of the spectrum in terms of quality, design and price.

Jamdani: Sari market of Samudragarh, 2017, From the collection of: Dastkari Haat Samiti

Fine Jamdani continues to be made in select weaving centres of Bengal.

However, now it is a specialised skill, with a specialised market that does not buy directly from the small weaver but from high end shops in cities.

Jamdani: Sari market of Samudragarh, 2017, From the collection of: Dastkari Haat Samiti

The market also sells all things associated with Jamdani weaving such as yarn.

Jamdani: Sari market of Samudragarh, 2017, From the collection of: Dastkari Haat Samiti

Wooden bobbins are sold in the market as well.

Jamdani: Sari Inventory, 2017, From the collection of: Dastkari Haat Samiti

As a state, Bengal is proud of its traditions. In this context, women have firmly held onto wearing saris instead of changing to other forms of dressing.

They are the ones who keep India’s handmade traditions alive successfully.

Jamdani: Narrative Jamdani weaving, 2017, From the collection of: Dastkari Haat Samiti

Read more about Jamdani Weaving here:
- Weaving Centers
-Weaving Process
-Contemporary interventions

Dastkari Haat Samiti
Credits: Story

Text: Aloka Hiremath and Jaya Jaitly
Photography: Chirodeep Chaudhuri
Artisans: Jyotish Debnath, Rajib Debnath and weavers from Phulia and Habibpur
Ground Facilitator: Ankit Kumar
Curation: Ruchira Verma

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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