The cotton saris of West Bengal are called Jamdani and they follow the traditional patterns. The Daccai `Jamdani` is a fabric on which the designs are raised in inimitable style. Daccai Jamdani saris distinguished from its mutant cousins by its very fine texture resembling muslin and the elaborate and ornate workmanship. The `Batik` prints originating from Javanese wax-designing, revived in Santiniketan. Floral forms circular `kalka` shapes, pyramidal and variations of geometric designs are typical. Handloom still remains the great employer in rural Bengal. Today hand-painted scrolls also silk-screened and printed are quite popular as wall hangings etc.
Varieties of Jamdani Sarees :
There are at least six varieties of Jamdani Sarees, each deriving its name from the village in which it originated, and each with its own distinctive style. The undisputed queen of the range, however, is the fabled Jamdani, which in all its myriad local avtars continues to retain its original grandeur and sophistication. The original version is referred to as Daccai jamdani, although it is now produced in Navdeep and Dhattigram, in West Bengal.
Daccai jamdani :
Daccai Jamdani is distinguished from its mutant cousins by its very fine texture resembling muslin and the elaborate and ornate workmanship. The single warp is usually ornamented with two extra weft followed by ground weft. While the original Bangladeshi sari is almost invariably on a beige background, the Indian weavers are a little more adventurous in their choice of color schemes. The gossamer thin black Jamdani with its splash of multi colored linear or floral motifs sprinkled generously all over the body and border and crowned with an exquisitely designed elaborate pallu is a feast for the eyes.
The Daccai Jamdani is woven painstakingly by hand on the old fashioned Jala loom, and many take even up to one year to weave a single sari. It feels supple to the touch and drapes gently to reveal the contours of the wearer.
Other Jamadani Sarees :
These sarees are mostly Jamdani motifs on Tangail fabric and are generally known by the confusing nomenclature of Tangail Jamdani. Although beige background is the most popular, these are available in a riot of colors
Tangail, Dhoneokali, Shantipuri and Begumpuri are other popular styles of Bengali. Of these, Tangail which comes from Fulia, has a fine texture, with its 100s count fabric and highly stylized motifs, while Dhoneokali is known for its stripes and checks.
Shantipur in Nadia, Begumpur, Rajbalhat and Dhanekhali in Hooghly; Kenjekura in Bankura; Fulia, Guptipara and Samudragarh in Nadia and Burdwan - are the homes of these legendary weavers.
Twisted yarn is closely woven together and so the saris are more lasting. Initially the Jamdani saris were woven for the nobles of North India. Now this art is still practiced in Tanda and Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh. This inlay technique is fully indigenous. This Jamdani technique of patterning is found in the cotton centers of Venkatagiri in Andhra, Morangfi in Manipur and Kodialkarruppar in Tamilnadu.