Today we have tent saree to discuss in our this blog-series where I’m sharing the details of beautiful Bengali traditional sarees. ’Tant’, it is referred to the handlooms in West Bengal which are used to weave textiles. If we go through the history of Bengal’s handloom, we could found the earliest record of saree weaving in Bengal can be traced back to the fifteenth century in Shantipur, Nadia district of current West-Bengal. The art of weaving and pro-efficiency has continued to flourish during the Mughal rule, from the 16th to the 18th centuries, when we can see the extensive royal patronage to muslin and jamdani. Later, at the time of post-partition of Bengal in 1947, many Hindu weavers from Bangladesh migrated and rehabilitated in West Bengal.
Phulia tant are another glorious part of Bengal. Lately Phulia, which is also very close to Shantipur became a new home for these weavers from Tangail, situated in Bangladesh where they also brought their ancestral weaving traditions with them. Other weaver communities were settled in the other parts of West Bengal, like, Hooghly and Bardhaman districts etc. Over the years, the time may change but the region has made their own glorious ways to enhance their own creativity with their signature style and varieties of tant sarees.
The material of these sarees are as unique as their beauty. They are woven with locally procured Bengal cotton and the fine hand-spun yarn makes these sarees soft, feather-light and economic as well. Depending on the yarn quality, the sari is fine or coarse.
These sarees are characterised by a thick two-to-four-inch border and a decorative ’par’ (Pallu). The woven motifs are a huge variety of floral, paisley and artistic motifs. Each saree usually takes 7-10 days to come complete the production. Some most favoured motifs named like, bhomra(bumblebee), rajmahal (a royal palace), ansh (fish scales), hathi (elephant), benki (spiral), tara (star), kalka (paisley) and phool (flowers).
These sarees need some extra maintenance. All you need to do is wash with mild detergents followed by use of starch and iron it properly. Tant sarees starting range is around ₹300 and higher, depending on the quality.
Photographs courtesy: Swarnendu Ghosh
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