Varanasi besides being famous as an attractive tourist spot is also known for its silk sarees which are popular both within the country and abroad. The exquisite brocade work and designs have been developed and perfected over the centuries according to the taste of the patrons. Exclusive varieties of the saris are Jangla, Tanchoi, Vaskat, Cutwork, Tishu, and Butidar which are made of silk warp and silk weft, on plain/satian ground base, brocaded with extra weft patterns in different layouts introducing Buties, Bells, creepers, Buttas in ground, border and Anchal for getting glamours appearance.
In the 19th century Benaras silk manufacturers used vegetable or animal forms which were derivations of the Mughal tradition. These unfortunately have vanished now. However the evolution of thi tradition can still be traced back to the 17th and 18th century paintings other fabrics including brocades from Western India and the Deccan region, the Kashmiri shawlsand unbroken history of about three centuries which saw the development of certain other motifs.
Some examples include the Jhar (the tree motif) in which designers of the 19th century used oval forms in which the plant stems out into heavy but graceful foliage, symbolising the fullness of life. This motif though still used by the artisans has lost popularity.
During the Mughal period there was less emphasis on depiction of birds and animals and more on floral designs in which the leaves were more naturalistic and green in colour. The motifs were crowded with alternating colour schemes taking the form of a chequered pattern.
Types of Sarees
Brocade refer to those textiles where in patterns are created in weaving by transfixing or thrusting the pattern-thread between the warp. Zari-brocades are made by using gold and silver threads are use along with or without silk-threads. The silk Jamdani, a technical variety of brocade or the 'figured muslin' ,traditionally woven in Banaras may be considered to be one of the finest products to come out of the Banarasi loom. Here silk fabric is brocaded with cotton and rarely with zari threads. Using a technique similar to that of brocade, weavers of Banaras weave saris using colorful extraweft silk yarn for patterning . This variety is known as tanchoi silk saree. Cut work saree is prepared by cut work technique on plain ground texture after removing of the floated thread which are not design (Woven) during the weaving process which provide good transparent look. Tissue saree the renowned Zari brocade weavers of Banaras has evolved a technique of weaving tissue material which looked like golden cloth. Butidaar Saree the most striking feature of this dark blue silken saree is that it is brocaded with pattern threads of gold, silver and silk.