THE BENGAL TANT
Sarees have always been a part of our closet. The sarees have a diversity of its own. With the difference in designs, patterns, materials, length, embroidery, etc. sarees have something for everyone. Sarees compliment every festival or occasion and the best part, it never goes out of fashion!
On the onset of summer months, let’s see what sarees have to offer to us.
We know that different fabrics are used to make up a saree. Cotton and summers go along with each other so well, just like best friends! And today we will tell you about one of the cotton-made Bengali saree.
The Bengal Tant!
Tant is a traditional cotton handloom Bengali saree and has been a part of the heritage for a long time. Tant sarees are lightweight and airy texture which are especially suited for hot summer months. The sarees have a characteristic feature which distinguishes them from the rest. They have thick borders and a decorated palla, woven with artistic and creative
The roots are deep!
The roots of the existence of tant fabric date back to the 15th century in the Shantipur district of West Bengal. During the Mughal Rule (16th – 18th century), the manufacturing of tant sarees flourished. Along with muslin and Jamdani fabric, the tant fabric was also highly used and produced. The royalties settled at muslin and Jamdani fabrics whereas common folks used the tant.
In the late 18th century, British Rule commenced in India. The Jamdani tant became very popular among the consumers. Britishers tried their best to break down the age-old tradition and put a stop on the production to safeguard their textile industry. The fabric was widely weaved in the Dhaka and Murshidabad districts of the then Bengal. After the partition of 1947, many weavers from the Dhaka region settled in Bengal.
Bengal along with Indian states like Tripura and Assam manufacture the sarees. The Murshidabad, Nadia, and Hooghly district of West Bengal are typically famous for tant saree weaving.
Over the years, each area has been creating distinctive patterns and designs of tant sarees. They are home to varieties of tant sarees famous all across India.
Every weave counts…
- The cotton threads are brought from the mills to commence the production of tant.
- The threads are washed to remove chemicals, sun-dried and bleached followed by a sun drying process.
- Then the threads are dipped into boiling water mixed with colours to dye the threads.
- The threads are starched and processed further to make them finer and stronger.
- The threads are wound on the bamboo drums to feed them to the looms
- Handlooms and/or jacquard looms are used to weave the tant sarees
- Each tant saree is distinguished by its patterns and motifs.
- The border and palla are given more attention and decorated artistically.
A simple tant saree takes about 10 – 12 hours to manufacture whereas, intricately designed tant sarees take up to 3 to 4 days.
Not every tant saree is the same
Bengal is very famous for the production tant sarees. Different districts of Bengal produce or manufacture a different variety of tant sarees.
- The Fulia and Shantipur towns under the Nadia district manufacturers have developed Fulia Tangail style, manufacturing the best tant sarees today. Shantipur town consists of Indian weavers and Fulia town has migrant weaver from Tangail district of Bangladesh. The amalgamation of two different areas gave birth to a new and best variety of tant sarees. The sarees and soft and fine in texture, vibrant colours and intricate woven motifs.
- The Dhaniakhali (or Dhonekhali in Hooghly) produces good quality tant sarees. The sarees have fewer motifs, striped patterns and are available in pastel colours.
- Begumpur in Hooghly produces deep, vibrant coloured sarees which are loosely woven and light-weighted.
- Kalna in Burdwan stresses on the Tangail style of weaving.
Traditional motifs of blue sky, gem-eyed, half-moon, elephant, fish scale, raj mahal, stars, flowers, etc. are used to adorn the beauty of Tant sarees’
A modern take on Tant
You have to change to endure. Tant sarees too have undergone many changes, mixtures and amalgamations to go with the trend. Tant sarees are also produced with Jamdani fabric, Banarasi silk fabric, Baluchari silk, etc. to expand its horizon.
Also, we can see a change in the borders. Nowadays, zari work is used for the borders than the traditional thick motif borders. The designs of the motifs to have seen changes. Instead of opting for traditional motifs, weavers are using contemporary designs to create a new look. The designs are hand-painted, printed and embroidered on the fabric.
We at The Vama manufacture a wide range of Tant saree both traditional and modern to suffice our audience. The hard work and brainstorming put into the manufacturing of a saree is our sheer dedication towards our customers. Visit us to know more!
Also, not to forget Tant sarees must be taken care and needs maintenance. Dipping the saree in starch water prevents the colour from leaking. Use of mild detergents and sun-dried over a shade ensures the longevity of the sarees.