Online Desk |:| Fri, 22 Apr'2016, 9:40 AM |:| Online Version
Turning the pages of history --- Amongst the many things that can be called the pride of Bengal, jamdani is one of them. Also popularly known as the 'Dhakai' sari– jamdani draping culture is said to have begun in the Maurya period, c. 320 B.C.E. Later it gained popularity during the Akbarian era (Mughal Dynasty) and earned a flared recognition during the rule of Aurangzeb. The Mughal emperor's eldest daughter Zeb –un- Nisa is said to have been extremely fond of jamdani plaits on pure muslin.
Digging up a little more on history tells us that the word 'jamdani' is derived from the Persian 'jam' meaning flower,and 'dani'as vase, or perhaps 'jaamdaar', a Persian weaving term for floral designs. Historians remark that most of the weavers and jamdani artisans were Muslim and to them any sort of figurative representation in art was a direct challenge to the supremacy of God, and thus they stuck to floral imprints and geometric shapes. The legacy was passed on over the years and even today, jamdani designs are still famous for the non-figurative designs.
After the Mughal period, the demand for jamdani fell significantly as it was substituted with cheaper import materials. However, more recently, the jamdani culture has been revived again and today we have our Jamdani Palli at Rupganj, Narayanganj.This particular type ofsari is highly favoured by women of our region because it gives out an aura of purity, dignity and character. Ladies choose to wear jamdani on many occasions, ranging from miladmahfils to elaborate wedding parties.
Jamdani saris are usually weaved in cotton but are also available in the half-silk variety, and the better the quality of cotton, the higher the price.The value also depends on many other factors, such as the intricacies of the details, quality of the threads used,and so on. There are absolutely no age distinctions for wearing a jamdani sari – it can be worn by anyone of any age, young or old.
WHERE TO GET JAMDANISARIS?
Jamdanis are so famous amongst Bangladeshis that they are readily available in almost every sari shop in the country. Jamdani saris are also available in wholesale bazaars like Demra Haat, Noapara Haat etc. If you are into acquiring exclusive collections but you also value saving money,these could be remarkable places for you. However, you must also be able to handle a little commotion, since at the wholesale markets you will not be the only person shopping!There will be many retailers, mahajans(financiers) and even foreigners looking to get their best bargain. The best thing is that at least you will be guaranteed a significant reduction in price compared to what is offered in the air-conditioned upscale markets within the capital.
An impeccable range of Dhakai jamdani saris are also available at Aarong, Bailey Road jamdani shops, Sunrise Plaza in Lalmatia and the Mirpur Benarasi Palli. The prices may range from a mere Tk 4,000 to a little over Tk 100,000. The more expensive ones are worth their price because the qualities of the base material are superior, as are the designs.
If you want to buy a jamdani sari as an heirloom and want to treasure it forever, it is suggested that you buy one from the higher range as these saris will be comfortable to wear and will not easily become lacklustre. Some of the highest priced jamdanis have actual gold threads weaved into the sari.
Traditionally, jamdani saris are meant to have a base colour of white, beige or grey but the recent trends have changed the system; today vibrant colours are used as the base and almost everyone can wear their colour of preference.
When you face the choice of buyinga Jamdani sari, first you must decide on the colour of the base material. Let the event dictate your choice. For example, if it is a trendy baby shower that you are going to attend, then opt for a pink or blue base colour.The motifs can be completely in white or in any light colour that complements the base. If it is a glamorous evening do, perhaps select a jetblack or a navy blue base with sparkling gold motifs. For weddings, choose gorgeous deep red, magenta or orange saris, and for casual parties with friends, go for colours like olive-green or even light yellow,helping to accentuate your natural beauty.
Several jamdanis in the market have different anchals, like having a'kantha stitch' embroidered onto the jamdani to create a different look. You may even see some saris where there are appliqués embroidered onto the main body of the sari. Jamdanis are beautiful on their own and manipulating the basic design sometimes makes the saris look overworked, often destroying the simplicity. The basic suggestion is to wear the original jamdani in different colours and motifs. For any radical change in the look, play with different cuts on the blouse.There are cheap saris available in the market with jamdani imprints on them and they must never be confused with the actual jamdani saris, where the motifs are weaved in articulately. The designs should look like intricate coloured motifs almost floating upon the cloth.
No matter how history unfolds, jamdanis will always remain a matter of pride to a Bangladeshi.Therefore, we must also be able to recognise and pay respect to the weaver for their hard work and artistry. It is because of them that we can still wear one of the most valued and sought after attires in the world. Having said that, living at home or abroad, if any day you wanted to look just a little more belle and a little more Deshi, immediately dress yourself in a jamdani sari and finish off the look with a loosely tied bun, and for that extra special touch, wear a tip and a garland of jasmine flowers. Youwill look like any romantic poet's flamboyant reverie!