Handloom in India

August 7 is celebrated as National Handloom Day in India. In order to create awareness about our rich traditional Handloom Industry, the Union Government of India in the year 2015, had selected this day as National Handloom Day. It was on this day, that the Swadesh Movement against the British Government was launched in Calcutta in the year 1905. The said movement was launched to protest against the use of British Goods and to promote the use of Indian Textiles.

History of Handloom in India

Finely Woven and Dyed Cotton Fabrics, were found in India during the Indus Valley Civilization. Prior to Industrialisation, fabrics such as silk, cotton and jute were woven by hands. Post Industralisation, these fabrics were now spun on the machines, which also gave an opportunity to the artist and weavers to experiment with designs.

Though India was famous even in ancient times as an exporter of textiles to most parts of the civilized world, few actual fabrics of the early dyed or printed cottons have survived. This, it is explained is due to a hot, moist climate and the existence of the monsoons in India. It is not surprising therefore, that Egypt which has an exceptionally dry climate would provide evidence which India lacks. The earliest Indian fragment of cloth (before the Christian era) with a hansa (swan) design was excavated from a site near Cairo where the hot dry sand of the desert acted as a preservative. (Reference http://www.indian-craft.com).

India is the only country in the world, which produces all four commercially known silks namely mulberry, tasser, eri and muga.
Some of the famous traditional weaves from India are Madras checks from Tamil Nadu, ikats from Andhra and Orissa, tie and dye from Gujarat and Rajasthan, brocades from Banaras, jacquards form Uttar Pradesh. Daccai from West Bengal, and phulkari from Punjab. 

Eri and Muga silk is made mainly in Assam. Muga is durable and its natural tones of golden yellow and rare sheen becomes more lustrous with every wash.

The ikat technique is commonly known as patola in Gujarat, bandha in Orissa, pagdu bandhu, buddavasi and chitki in Andhra Pradesh. In the ikat tie and dye process, the designs in various colors are formed on the fabric either by the warp threads or the weft threads or by both. The threads forming the design are tied and dyed separately to bring in the desired color and the simple interlacement of the threads produces, the most intricate designs, that appear only in the finished weaving. The Orissa ikat is a much older tradition that Andhra Pradesh or Gujarat, and their more popular motifs as such are a stylized fish and the rudraksh bead. Here the color is built up thread by thread. In fact, Orissa ikat is known now as yarn tie and dye. In Andhra Pradesh, they bunch some threads together and tie and dye and they also have total freedom of design.

Weaving is compiled as one of the oldest surviving craft in the world. Weaving is one of the primary methods of textile production, which can either be done by hand or machines. Weaving done by machines is callled as a loom.

So this was a brief history of the History of Handloons in India.

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