Centers of Jamdani Weaving

A look at the weaving hubs of Jamdani in West Bengal, India

Dastkari Haat Samiti

Dastkari Haat Samiti

Jamdani: The making (2017)Dastkari Haat Samiti

Jamdani weaving

Jamdani is a word that instinctively brings to mind fine muslin weaves decorated with double weft designs which instantly give the most delicate of fabrics a rich appearance. This particular weaving technique is practiced In India and Bangladesh which, as a part of undivided Bengal before 1947, had common cultural, craft and literary traditions with what is now Bengal in the western part of india.

Jamdani: Around Phulia (2017)Dastkari Haat Samiti

The importance of the industry is evident when one enters the area. From towns to highways - billboards and hoardings announce and advertise textiles.

Jamdani: Around the river Hoogly (2017)Dastkari Haat Samiti

From Phulia in Nadia district to Kalna in Purba Bardhaman disrict, the road takes an hour. The local ferry is by far the more popular means of transport.

Jamdani: Around the river Hoogly (2017)Dastkari Haat Samiti

The local ferry conveys daily commuters to work, as also goods and transport vehicles.

Jamdani: Around the river Hoogly (2017)Dastkari Haat Samiti

Travellers have to go onwards by road to the handloom weavers’ villages.

Jamdani: Jute cultivation (2017)Dastkari Haat Samiti

En route are large areas where harvested jute can be seen standing in the fields.

Jamdani: Jute cultivation (2017)Dastkari Haat Samiti

The state accounts for over 50% of India’s jute production, and this is an important crop in the local economy.

Jamdani: Powerloom Jamdani (2017)Dastkari Haat Samiti

Along the roads are rolls of newly woven saris being dried out before they are taken to market.

Jamdani: Powerloom Jamdani (2017)Dastkari Haat Samiti

There is also evidence of the widespread use of power looms to weave in the area.

Whether powerloom or handloom, colourful saris seen in the process of preparation are a typical sight in Bengal that indicates a healthy demand for this form of dress.

Jamdani: Weaver at work (2017)Dastkari Haat Samiti

Weavers Homes

Jamdani combines a high level of weaving skills, aesthetic colour palettes and sophistication. Nadia and Burdhaman districts in West Bengal are two centres known for the famous Jamdani textiles. Weaving takes place in villages and towns that have been traditional handloom centres for generations. Additionally, some areas have become home to skilled weavers who were displaced from similar centres in Bangladesh.

Jamdani: Community house (2017)Dastkari Haat Samiti

The weavers homes are basic structures.

Jamdani: Traditional weavers house in Habibpur (2017)Dastkari Haat Samiti

The houses are made of brick, natural materials and tin sheets. Their homes are also their places of work.

Jamdani: House of a weaver (2017)Dastkari Haat Samiti

A handloom and a spinning wheel share space with household furniture.

Jamdani: Weavers (2017)Dastkari Haat Samiti

The Weaving Community

The weavers of Bengal are very proud of their ability to weave fabrics that are highly appreciated across the world. While many technological innovations have advanced the nature of textiles in the west, it is hard to beat the psychological pleasure of wearing muslin of the finest quality, knowing they are woven by hand. 

Jamdani: Sizing and strengthening the fine muslin (2017)Dastkari Haat Samiti

Both women and men are involved in the pre-weaving process that readies the yarn.

Jamdani: Weavers (2017)Dastkari Haat Samiti

Women are proud of their capacity to weave what they wear, although some indulge in prints and weaves from other states.

Jamdani: Jacquard mechanism (2017)Dastkari Haat Samiti

The work is evenly shared to make it a family or a collective enterprise.

Jamdani: Sari market of Samudragarh (2017)Dastkari Haat Samiti

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

The Market
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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