Bangladeshi dhakai jamdani saree is one of the ancient muslins and artistic woven textiles originated in Dhaka, has its long old traditional history. In recent years, the art of weaving jamdani saree has been declared by UNESCO as an “intangible cultural heritage of humanity” worldwide. This globally recognized traditional textile was suffering from lack of care and advocacy in our country for many years, but we are fortunate that authority has finally recognized this precious artwork as a national asset and taken necessary initiatives to save this national heritage. Jamdani saree has always been one of the most popular and expensive traditional attires for women in Bangladesh. In occasions like Eid, Puja, Boishakh, Falgun, Wedding ceremony, Holud, Mehendi function and formal gathering women wear jamdani saree as a symbol of tradition and cultural significance. Bangladesh has already obtained a prestigious position in the handloom woven textile industry globally, among them Jamdani saree is the finest woven cotton muslin originated by Bengal (old Dhaka).
Though in recent years, handloom and handcrafted textile demand have increased with time but the demand of jamdani saree has never been faded or gone. Dhakai jamdani saree is a never-ending fashion outfit especially for the women of southern Asia. It has never stopped to mesmerize the eyes of the person whoever come across to see it. For the women in South Asia, jamdani saree is not just an outfit but it’s often considered as a symbol of emotion. It is almost like a tradition in Bangladesh that women from the same family often leave or hand over jamdani sarees as a gift to their daughter or younger female family members as a precious gift.
Brief history of development of jamdani saree in Bangladesh:
In the 16th to 18th century at the time of Mughal rule, Bangladeshi dhakai jamdani sarees were at its peak and became recognized as one of the finest muslins of that time. The weavers of jamdani sarees were used to get royal patronage. But with the decline of Mughal Empire and the uprising of British colonial rule in India, this ancient art seemed to struggle for existence as the weaving cost increased in comparison to the trade was declining. After the partition of Bengal many jamdani weavers had migrated to India which was the beginning of Indian jamdani saree weaving.
Since 1992, the Bangladeshi dhakai jamdani saree has been exported in countries like Dubai, England, India, and USA which became a huge source of foreign earnings for Bangladesh. Along with the fine cotton fabric, the design and color of dhakai jamdani sarees have always been considered as most artistic and stunning categories of muslin textile. Jamdani sarees are made rich with vibrant colors and fine motif patterns all over its body, gives it a gorgeous and flawless look. Due to the design pattern and fabric jamdani saree has never gone out of trend. Behind its huge fandom the bright color of jamdani textile is equally responsible. Its color combination is always multiple, use of different bright colors contrasting with light color makes it look so attractive. There are two basic types of style of jamdani sarees.
Basic types of style of jamdani sarees:
- One is where the base fabric color and the motif pattern colors are same.
- Another most common style is using two or more different complimentary colors in the inner part and the outer part of the saree.
It takes a couple of months to weave a jamdani saree that requires the intensive labor of the craftsman. Motif works those are used to decorate jamdani sarees have their own style identity, like a small flower, polka dots, rectangular motifs, diagonal patterns, flowers arranged in straight rows and motifs evenly covering the entire saree.
Lotus flower motif on jamdani saree After the partition of Bengal, the craftsman of jamdani saree and their successors had left Dhaka forever. As a result, India has its own jamdani saree weavers in the west Bengal region which has unique design style to offer apart from dhakai jamdani sarees. Basically, the dhakai jamdani sarees are the finest muslin textile made of cotton fabric, makes the saree light and airy. Currently, there are other categories of jamdani sarees based on different regions from both east and west Bangla, like Tangail jamdani, shantipur jamdani and dhaniakhali jamdani etc.