The Decline of Varanasi Silk Handloom Cottage Industry: A Case Study of Brocade Weaving Community in Varanasi

Sana Faisal[1]

  Volume 6, Number 2, 2016 I Full Text PDF

Article DOI:  10.21659/chitro.v6n2.07

Received on July 22, 2016.
Accepted on July 30, 2016.
Published on August 29, 2016.


The brocade of Varanasi is the distinct workmanship of the weavers where gold and silver thread is practised on fine silk. Kinkhabs, one of the finest known Varanasi brocades, have more Zari visible than silk. The brocades fabrics are woven in workshops identified as Karkhanas. The weavers are known as Karigars that means craftsmen. In earlier days only silver and golden wire were used, but now it is replaced with duplicate. Bold and complicated floral and foliage patterns are also made with the use of Kalga, Bel, Butis, designs. Banarsi sarees are world famous for this reproduction, Banarsi Zari work comes mainly in pure silk (Katan), organza (Kora), georgette and Shattir. Various types of silk, and other materials are used in contemporary times. This paper tried to explored the main problems of the craftsmen and throw light on an individual capacity and learnt about weaving process of brocade produced by artisans with the help of hand, tools, and machines. The chief features of artefacts are utilitarian, aesthetic, creative, cultural, decorative, functional, traditional, religious and socially symbolic and significant.

Keywords: Varanasi Silk, Brocade, Saree, Craft, Varanasi, Zari.

[1] Sana Faisal is a Research Scholar at Aligarh Muslim University, Aligarh, India. Email: