Jamdani Weaving Communities
Once adored by the Sultans and Nawabs, Jamdani, the descendant of ancient fine muslin cloth, still remains the pride of Dhaka in Bangladesh. Yet, with all its fame and glorious journey through centuries, the splendid cloth faces a few stumbling blocks that threaten its existence.
Historically, the area around Dhaka and Narayanganj has always been the hub of handlooms. The surrounding area grew the finest quality cotton, Karpash, the key ingredient for weaving Jamdani.
Besides, the aesthetic senses of the royal patrons helped Jamdani weavers make the embroidered fabrics with eye-catching design.
Still the villages in Rupganj, Araihazar, Sonargaon, Shiddhirganj and other places around the Shitalakhya remain the main Jamdani-making belt. Weavers in many other places in the country and in West Bengal tried to make Jamdani, but what they made were not comparable to that made by the weavers of Dhaka.
Jamdani is hand-woven in old-fashioned bamboo looms set up in a shallow trench. One specialty of Jamdani loom is that it does not make any sound while weaving. Artisans use a throw shuttle locally known as maku to weave the intricate fabric. With the choreography of a nifty hand the throw shuttle goes from one end to the other, interweaving the threads, creating and recreating the motifs with precision.
In the beginning it was produced only in whites, later with black, grey and straight golden line borders. Colours appeared in the 19th century.
A very remarkable feature of Jamdani is the designs are never sketched or outlined. Jamdani designs are made while the fabric is still on the loom, inserted by hand during the process of weaving, producing the effect of embroidery.
Another important character of Jamdani sari is the motifs, mostly floral, are of geometric shape, and the sari is embossed with the design often in a diagonal form.