SILK GOES TO INDIA
The brocade weaving centers of India developed in and
around the capitals of kingdoms or holy cities because
of the demand for expensive fabrics by the royal
families and temples. Rich merchants of the trading
ports or centers also contributed to the development of
these fabrics. Besides trading in the finished product,
they advanced money to the weavers to buy the costly
raw materials that is silk and zari. The ancient centers
were situated mainly in Gujarat, Malwa and South
India. In the North, Delhi, Lahore, Agra, Fatehpur
Sikri, Veranasi, Mau, Azamgarh and Murshidabad
were the main centers for brocade weaving
Silk in India is, as elsewhere, an item of luxury.
For more than four thousand years, this cloth has
been associated with crowned heads and riches
throughout the different ages.
As Oscar de la Renta once said "Silk does for the
body what diamonds do for the hand".
PROCESS OF MAKING KINKHWAB SAREES
Traditionally, the weaving was done with
Naksha draw looms; now jacquard
equipment is used. Before proceeding with
weaving, the design is drawn out, on paper by a
special category of crafts persons called
naqshaband. This design is then woven on a
small wooden frame.
It is first twisted (called 'silk throwing') after which the
threads undergo reeling and checking for uniformity
When the yarn has been processed, it is bleached and
"degummed", as raw silk has a gum-like substance
(sericin) in its composition.
This has to be removed in order to bring out the sheen
and softness and to enable penetration of the dye.
The task has to be done with great care as the fibers
can weaken or get damaged. The silk is boiled in soap
water for a certain duration and then sent for dying.
At the weaving loom, three people work.
One weaves, the other works at the revolving ring to
create lacchis (rolled bundles).
At this juncture, another important process is
initiated. This is designing the motifs.
There are several traditional artists in Varanasi who,
though not formally trained in designing, create
wonderful designs for saris.
When the figure work is in silver threads with a
background of gold threads it is called ‘Tashi Kinkhwab’.
This is a variety of ‘Kinkhwab’ which has a ground
worked with an extra warp of gold [badla (flat wire) zari]
and the pattern created with an extra weft of silver badla
zari or vice versa.
A satin weave is very often used, resulting in a smooth
ground for the fabric. The heavy fabric appears to be in
layers, as the warp ends are crammed drawing three,
four and up to seven ends per dent for the Tipara,
Chaupara up to Satpara respectively.
Zari is generally of two types Badla and Kala batto. Badla Zari was
made of flattened gold or silver wire with the ancient method of
making zari from pure metal without any core thread.
This accounted for its peculiar stiffness. Sometimes cracks would
develop in the metal during the process of weaving which resulted
in the loss of its natural luster and smoothness.
Therefore weaving with Badla Zari was difficult and required great
skill. Often a touch of Badla was given to floral motives to enhance
This type of zari has mostly gone out of favor amongst the
contemporary weavers and they mostly depend on polyester or
pure silk as a substitute.
Kinkhwab was originally an elegant, heavy silk fabric with
a floral or figured pattern known most for its butis and
jals woven with silk as the warp and tilla as the weft,
produced in China and Japan. Tilla in the earlier times
was known as kasab. It was a combination of silver and
tamba (copper) which was coated with a veneer of gold
KINKHWAB IS A HEAVY GILT BROCADE IN WHICH MORE
ZARI WORK WAS DONE.THE ZARI COMPLETES MORE
THAN 50% OF SURFACE.OFTEN USED AS YARDAGES IN
THE EIGHTEENTH AND NINEETENTH CENTURIES, THESE
ARE POPULAR WEDDING SAREES NOW A DAYS.
Khwab means a dream and it’s said that even with such a name
‘Its beauty, splendor and elegance can be hardly dreamt of’.
Kinkhwabs are heavy fabrics or several layers of warp threads with
an elaborate all-over pattern of extra weft, which may be of silk,
gold and / or silver threads or combinations.
There may be three to seven layers of warp threads. Kin means
golden in Chinese. Its specialty is in profusely using the gold and
silver thread in a manner that sometimes leaves the silk
background hardly visible
The Kinkhab saris are woven on silk. Golden and silver
threads are used in such cases. This is one of the major
products of the large zari industry in Gujarat.
Silk materials of dark colors such as purple and bright
red are generally preferred for Kinkhabi work.
Different shades of green are also preferred for
Kinkhabi weaving. The Gujarat region is considered to
be the most important place for brocade works in the
country of India.
Kimkhab with rosettes in gold
And ultramarine ground;
Banaras 1850 AD.
floral design, detailed picked
out in colored silk thread,
Outline black, ground dark pink
Banaras 1850 AD.