As a wedding outfit for a bride and groom, furnishings in a king’s court or presidential suite, an offering for god or saint, in costumes for dolls, as an illustration of the intricacy of Indian textiles, or even as symbols of marital bliss or disappointment, the brocades of Banaras (Varanasi) find…
Sunrise, Assi Ghat, Varanasi
Naksha or design process: Naseem Ahmad at work
Graphed pattern for making jala, Shahjahan Ansari's workshop, Varanasi
Digitally produced design, Shahjahan Ansari's workshop, Varanasi
Pattern drawn on mica sheet, Naseem Ahmad's workshop, Varanasi
Overviews of history, materials and techniques (grouped thematically and by date)
Web-page on Banarasi Saree on the official website of Varanasi district
Web-page on Varanasi Saris, National Centre for Textile Design, Office of the Development Commissioner for Handlooms, Ministry of Textiles,…
A characteristic feature of the traditional brocades of Varanasi is the use of gold or silver zari along with coloured silks to create various motifs. The zari used for weaving is of a special kind and has been produced in Varanasi for centuries.
Agrawal, Yashodhara. 2003. Silk Brocades. New Delhi: Roli Books.
Ali, Abdullah Yusuf. 1900. A Monograph on Silk Fabrics Produced in the Northwestern Provinces and Oudh. Allahabad: N.W. Provinces and Oudh Government Press.
Basole, Amit. 2016. 'Spare Change for Spare Time? Homeworking Women in…
In Varanasi, before the advent of jacquard looms, weaving was done on jala looms. A ‘jala’ is a kind of frame on which the design is first created using threads by nakshabands (pattern-makers). This is attached to the loom as a master harness. Some master weavers still use the jala loom in Varanasi.
The use of gold and silver zari is a characteristic feature of the brocades of Varanasi. Shyam Sunder Jaiswal of Vishwanath Prasad Zari Manufacturers, Varanasi, talks about the history, techniques and usage of zari (traditional gold and silver thread) in brocade weaving.