THE INDIAN BRIDE'S CHOICE
Zari work, unique to Banaras region of Uttar Pradesh is a world famous centre of hand-made textiles. The ancient tradition of weaving is more preserved in Banaras than anywhere else. The main products are Zari and brocades. The deep red, golden zari saris are popular with nearly all the Indian brides.
The zari thread known as 'Kalabuttum' consists of finely drawn gold, silver or base metal threads wound round as silk thread. Silk traditionally came from Bengal, Central Asia and Italy but now it comes from either Malda, in Bengal or from Kashmir or Japan. Jandhuri, Banaks, Mukta and Sandal are the chief varieties of silk that is used, in the zari work.
The Skillful Artisans
These textiles have been traditionally woven by a team of weavers and assistants, using traditional naksha dran looms. Traditionally, the design of the brocade was done on paper first. Then the naksha-bandh rendered the design onto cotton threads on a naksha, or ceiling-mounted thread device.
The nakshabands of Varanasi were so skilled that they tied the designs for the weavers of other brocading centers such as Surat in Gujarat and Chanderi in MP. Now, the designs used are inspired by folk art of Assam, Bengal, Gujarat, and adaptation of Mughal, Rajasthani and Pahari paintings.
TYPES OF ZARI BROCADES
One of the best known Varanasi brocades, have more Zari work visible than Silk. They were very popular in the Mughal court. They were woven with coarse but durable silk called Mukta. It is heavy enough to take brocading with gold and silver thread. These heavy Kimkhabs were designed for furnishings rather than clothes. Other Zari brocade types were Potthan and batt-hana or batta. They are woven entirely in silk, showing through Amru brocades and donot make use of Zari.
Tanchoi brocades have multiple warp and supplementary weft threads fabric. Abramamn (flowing water) has a distinct transparency. Tarbana has a fine silk warp but the weft of Zari threads gives the brocade a metallic sheen.
The design motifs of these brocades are intricate floral and foliage patterns, kalga and bel, and in sari pallavs and dupattas a string of upright leaves, called jhalar is invariably used.