|Weavers are making Fabrics|
Weaving is an old-age heritage of Bengal. There is a glorious history of weaving in Bangladesh. The tradition of weaving cloth by handloom constitutes one of the valuable aspects of Bangladesh culture and heritage. The fine and varied handmade fabrics; the weaving skills of the crafts people of Bengal has marveled and drawn the attention of people around the world for centuries. Exquisite hand-woven Muslin, Jamdani, raw silk as well as refined silks, a wide range of Khadi, Katan, Benarashi and extremely fine cotton have earned a place of honor for the artisans of Bengal all over the world.
The workers that produce the clothes, are called weavers or Tantis. The Tanti Community is a structural group that was formed due to the pressure of demand for woven cloth. In ‘Charjapada’ (The ancient inscription of Bengali language) contains the description of weavers of Bengal where their lifestyle and nature of work was described. This indicates that the artistic occupation existed even in ancient Bengal. Tantis belongs both from the Hindu and Muslim Communities. The Muslim Tantis are called as ‘Jola’ or ‘Joala’, or ‘Karigar’. In Hindu Community people use their own title such as Basak, Baras, Bhedya, Chand, Das, Datta, Pal, Sarkar etc. There are some places in Bangladesh which are specialized in weaving such as Narshingdi, Rajpura, Demra, Tangail, Sirajgonj, Shajadpur, Ullapara, Kmarkhanda, Baburhat, Gaurnadi etc.
Bengal was known to be famous for textile fabrics in old times. During first century, Muslin became famous in Rome and it was highly expensive. But Muslin is very rare now and weavers usually use other types of fabric to make daily wear which tend to be coarse and cheap.
|A woman in Dhaka clad in fine Bengali muslin, 18th-century|
Muslin was a brand name of pre-colonial Bengal textile, especially of Dhaka origins. Muslin was manufactured in the city of Dhaka and surrounding stations, by locals with locally produced cotton, which attained world-wide fame as the Dhaka Muslin.
The finest sort of Muslin was made of Phuti cotton, which was grown in certain localities on the banks of Brahmaputra and her branches. The other kinds of cotton called Bairait and Deshi were inferior and were produced in different parts of Dhaka and neighboring areas; they were used for manufacturing slightly inferior and course clothes
|The Muslin Saris|
Before, weaving was prevalent in the Dhaka district in almost every village , but some places became more famous for manufacturing superior quality of Muslins. These places were Dhaka, Sonargon, Dhamrai, Teetbady, Junglebary and Bajitpur. These places were able to manufacture fine quality cloth because they were situated near places where it was suitable to produce cotton for the Muslin. These were also the places where the headquarters of ruling dynasties, Muslim or Hindu, were established. So the weavers of these places got support and encouragement from the aristocratic class. The best quality of cotton is grown here and for centuries the finest of muslin cloth has been woven around Dhaka. This is due not only because of the quality of cotton but due to the skilled spinning on special spinning wheels and weaving by the masters of the craft who have been plying the trade for generations.
Photo Courtesy: Website