Introduction to Weaving tradition of India

 

 

Introduction

India has a rich and diverse weaving tradition. One can find different types of handlooms across the country, which produce a variety of fabric. Most of the traditional textile traditions use handspun yarn. India is known for fabrics made out of silk, cotton and wool. Silk and cotton weaving predominates the Indian weaving tradition, though wool is also used for weaving in many parts of the country.

Silk

India is known for its silk fabrics since ancient times. The present day silk weaving tradition revolves around the sari, the ethnic dress that is worn in most parts of the country. Silk is said to be the queen of textiles because of its shine and the glamour associated with it. The combination of the two has lead to the creation of a myriad of traditional sari styles, with each region lending its unique flavour to Indian ethnicity.

The finest silk saris are produced in centers from all over India. Silk saris are often created with zari (fabric woven with thin gold and silver wires) work on them.

The main silk weaving centers are Banaras, Surat, Chander, Murshidabad, Mysore, Assam, Kanchepuram, Tanjore, Dharmavaram etc

Cotton

Indians have known weaving of material from cotton since 5000 years. The traditional Indian cotton weaving revolves around 'Khadi'. Khadi is a cloth woven by hand using handspun yarn only. Fine cotton fabrics are also referred as Muslin. India has been famous for its ultra fine Muslins in the past. As handspun yarn is used in making Khadi, this activity is mainly carried out in the rural areas of the country.

Cotton weaving is the heart and soul of Indian textiles. There are 23 different varieties of cotton found in India and there are about 4 million handlooms producing cotton fabric. Cotton is used in producing a wide range of items like: sari, bed sheets, covers, napkins, shirts, summer wear, tablemats etc.

Cotton fabric is very popular in a tropical country like India, because of the soft twist imparted by the hand, maintains the hairiness of the yarn to an extent, which gives maximum comfort. Handlooms producing Khadi weave cotton in such a way that the interlacing of threads provides maximum passage of air to the body, thus creating a cooling effect, making Khadi an ideal summer wear.