Brocade - The Conventional Indian Sari Interlacing Technique



This is a standard sari weaving method that is popular in the Banaras and Varanasi regions of Uttar Pradesh, India. The term ‘Brocade’ is a derivative of ‘Broccato’, which is an Italian expression that can be translated as ‘imprinted fabric’. ‘Brocade’ is a highly valued cloth material and is luxuriously ornamented by using mostly gold & silver cords.






Brocade’ was a popular dress material of women even in the middle ages, and the aristocratic ladies of countries such as ‘India’, ‘China’, ‘Korea’, ‘Greece’, and ‘Japan’ wore this brand sarees. It is assumed that the practice of wearing ‘Brocade’ commenced in the Vedic era and thrived during the reign of Mughals. It is also presumed that during the ‘Rig Veda’ period there was a trendy and impressive fabric that was named ‘Hiranya’ and this was almost the same as the present-day ‘Brocade’. ‘Brocade’ got a face-lift during King Akbar’s time, and it was in this period the weaving of complicated designs using gold and silver cords became popular. That being said, the time of ‘Italian Renaissance’ was also a significant era, as far as ‘Brocades’ are concerned. The patterns of ‘Brocades’ were mainly Persian.




Brocade technique:


Brocades’ are specially created fabrics in which the weaving designs are formed by inserting the cords (that are meant for the pattern creation) in the middle of the wrap. While weaving, in normal case, the ‘weft cord’ repeatedly runs above and below the wrap cord continually. In ‘Brocade’ creation, designs are designed by inserting the ‘zari’ cords through the wrap at premeditated periods. It should be also mentioned here that the real ‘zari’ is created from genuine gold. Another point to note is that, for creating ‘Brocades’ a special loom (Jalla/Draw Loom) is utilized. While creating ‘Brocades’, the cords are lifted and pushed down unevenly, and thus bringing in an imprinted image on the cloth.





Recognizing Brocade:


You can identify ‘Brocades’ by the ‘zari’ work that is done using silver and gold metallic cords, and the base cloth will be silk. There will be close weaving and the designs will be very much comprehensive. This stuff will be a bit rigid and coarse due to the metallic cords. For picking the correct and ideal ‘Brocades’, you have to check the embroidery with care. Actual ‘Brocades’ will be highly pricey, because, real silver and gold cords will be used for creating them. However, electroplated cords are also utilized these days and so, you can get economical ‘Brocade’ sarees.


Visit Sanskriti website; you can see the close range images of Brocade sarees, and it will be easy to perceive the zari work.





Popular Brocade Designs:


The Tasvir: The designs will be illustrative and picturesque.





Phulwar: Here there will be flower designs.




Geometrical Design: This will have geometrical patterns.




Shikargah: The designs will be of varied hunting pictures.





Brocade Types:


The conventional Banaras Brocades can be generally categorized as four typical brands.


Zari Brocades:


Zari Brocades’ are widely held as bridal sarees. In this brand, ‘golden’ cords are used for creating deep designs and that is the main attraction. The peculiarity of this brand is that the base cloth will not be clearly perceptible, because of the thickly created design. This material is also termed as 'Kimkhab'.




Amru Brocades:


Silk Brocade’ is another term for this brand, and here, instead of gold and silver zari, silk cords are used for the embroidery work. The generally seen designs are ‘vines’ and ‘flowers’.




Abrawans Brocades:


The base cloths used to design this brand are ‘Tissue’ and ‘Organza’, and ‘zari’ weaving method is employed. Here the created designs and the cloth will be lustrous.




Ganga -Jamuna Brocades:


The name is derived from the Indian holy rivers, ‘Ganga’, and ‘Jamuna’. ‘Ganga -Jamuna Brocades’ is the local term used to denote the ‘Brocade Designs’ that are produced by making use of ‘silver backdrop’ and ‘gold cords’.




Please visit our brocade collection 


Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published