The word Jamdani is of Persian derivation where jam denotes ‘flower’ and dani denotes ‘vase’. The term is indicative of the striking floral patterns that embellish the elegant saris from West Bengal, that are reminiscent of Mughal influence. The Bengali adaptation of the name Dhakai comes from the region of its source - Dhaka in Bangladesh.
The base textile for Jamdani is unbleached cotton thread, and the pattern is woven using blanched cotton strands so that alight-and-dark effect is fashioned. “The process is exceptionally time-consuming as it involves a wearisome form of handloom. The creation of Jamdani involves the auxiliary weft modus operandi along with the standard weft technique. Threads of gold and silver are typically woven into these saris to fashion a variety of designs and motifs on a brocade loom.”
Though formerly made in a variant of complementary bright shades, many Jamdani saris are now coloured. The two most popular varieties today are the self-coloured variation, where the work is in the same shade as the foundation textile, and the half-and-half style, where the interior and external halves of the sari are in corresponding colours.