TANT – THE TIME-HONORED SAREE FROM WEST BENGAL (INDIA)
‘Tant Sarees’ are designed for every day use and the stuff is easy on the pocket. ‘Tant’ is an integral part of the conventional dressing style of West Bengal and Bangladesh women.
There was great demand for ‘Tant Sarees’ throughout Dhaka (the present capital of Bangladesh) during the Mughal period. In the later years, it is said that, in order to safeguard the interests of Manchester textile industry, there were attempts to wipe out this craft. However, when the Bengal Province got divided and soon after the exit of British Government, a lot of skilled craftsmen who were experts in ‘Tant’ creation started to colonize in ‘Burdwan’, ‘Nadia’, and ‘Hoogly’ regions of West Bengal. The new governmental machineries began to give all the needed assistance to these people and as a result, this typical weaving method became popular.
Though, conventionally, two shuttle handlooms are used for manufacturing ‘Tant Sarees’, power looms are being used for the same in our time. The process goes like this: the crude cotton cords are initially cleaned, then bleached and parched, and afterwards colored. The colored cords are then given starch treatment using puffed rice; this will bring in potency and firmness to the cords. After making the threads firm, they are rolled into the spindles and inserted into the bobbins. The bobbins are then fixed on a framework in which each cord goes through thin barrel-shaped cones (Shanna) that are attached to the loom. The base material is partitioned into visual quarterns and geometric perforations and then interlaced in conformity with the pattern. Usually, the borders of the sari will be decorated with lotus and lamp motifs.
Generally ‘Tant Sarees’ are taken as a comfy dress material that is appropriate for the typical climatic conditions that prevail in India (hot/humid). You can distinguish ‘Tant Sarees’ by the broad borders and the ornamental ‘pallav’. The ‘pallav’ will have attractive designs like ‘geometrical patterns’, ‘paisley’, ‘flowers’, or other creative designs. In general, cotton cords are used for weaving and the material will be light and translucent. The length of a ‘Tant Sari’ will be 6 meters (a normal sari is just 5.5 meter long). The delicate smoothness is another peculiarity of ‘Tant Sarees’. As this brand sarees are starched, they look firm and will be durable.
Tant Saree Types:
‘Tant’ can be basically grouped into three categories: ‘Daccai Jamdani’, ‘Korial Lal Paar’, and ‘Garad’.
Daccai Jamdani Saree:
In fact this brand stems from Bangladesh and the name of the sari indicates Dhaka, the capital city of Bangladesh. This is a conventional sari and is manually woven. Because of the lengthy production procedure, sometimes the weaving process may take one full year to complete. It is smooth and graceful to wear.
The Korial Lal Paar Saree:
This is a white sari having deep red border and the applied color will be dense. Customarily, ladies dress in this brand saree on days of religious importance and during festival days.
The Garad Saree:
‘Garad Saree’ is somewhat analogous to ‘Korial Lal Paar’, and the lone dissimilarity is that there will be tiny flower designs in the white section of this brand.