Project LooM

A Weaving Family: Aminuddin Ansari

The centre of his home is a courtyard.  A guava tree and a sapota (chikoo) tree stand like sentinels on either side, perfuming the air.  It is 11 a.m. by the time the film crew and I reach his house.  His wife, Zamarrud, 34, gives us sliced guavas dusted with salt and chili powder as a welcome.

Ansari-ji as he is called is deeply knowledgeable about the weaving ecosystem. He is also a curious man, a born learner.  Medium of build and height, he loves to learn about other fields and cultivates relationships.  He was as interested in the filmmaking process, questioning us in reverse about camera angles and spotlight.  The next morning too, he woke early to join us atop the fort to watch the filming.

We begin with the basics.  Where does the yarn come from?

From Coimbatore in South India, comes the mercerized cotton.  From China, the silk.  It used to be Korea and before that, Japan, but now Chinese silk has taken over the world.  The zari comes from Surat.

The yarn is first dipped in a solution of water mixed with acetic acid and soda.  This softens the yarn and makes it ready to receive the dye.

Different looms require different counts of yarn.  The more the thread count, the finer and more refined the saree, as in 100-count, 90-count and the less refined 80-count.

For Chanderi sarees, the warp is usually silk.  The weft can be cotton, katan (what we call organza), or silk.  If the weft is zari, it is called a “tissue” saree.  “All the work on Chanderi sarees is done by hand,” says Ansari-ji.  “No power loom.”

Real zari sarees cost Rs. 30,000 and above.  Tested zari sarees can start at Rs. 2000.

Once the yarn is secured, it is usually dyed to preordained shades, depending on the saree that is being planned.

How many weavers exist in Chanderi, we ask.  “Let us say that there are 6000 looms and there are 2 or 3 people per family using these looms.  That would make it 18,000 weavers in Chanderi,” Ansari-ji replies.

Each has a style and a signature.  Some weavers prefer bird motifs: peacock, duck, chidiya (sparrow), parrots.  Others like banyan tree vines, shrubs and plants.  Some work with animals: sheep, cows.  “Even the peacock motif can be of hundreds of types,” laughs Ansari-ji.  “Sitting, standing, flying, dancing.”

The more complex the motif, the more the labour and therefore price and payment for the weaver.  The more complex the motif, the easier it is to rationalize weaving in a jacquard loom.  The reason: it takes a certain amount of money to “set up” a jacquard loom and punch the holes for the motifs.  It doesn’t make sense to undergo this expense for a simple saree with buttis that can be woven on a pit loom.  This is the calculation that master weavers and designers need to make.  So if you are buying a saree with complex “jaala” vines that spread all over, realize that it is done in a jacquard loom.

Ansari-ji has two sons, both of whom help him weave.  He holds the whole operation together, spinning like a top, going to his looms to make sure the saree is of a good quality.

Come Friday afternoon and he takes a break to go to Namaz at the mosque.  All the men: his father, brothers, sons, and nephews change their clothes and head to the mosque for prayer and communion.

Related posts

Dance of the LooM: portrait of a female weaver

Shoba Narayan

Portrait of a Weaving Household

Shoba Narayan

The Clothing of Royalty

Shoba Narayan


Davidscave October 1, 2023 at 2:18 am Reply
DavidAvext November 10, 2023 at 12:38 am Reply
user-997859 March 21, 2024 at 10:41 am


najtańszy sklep March 27, 2024 at 5:20 pm

You are really a good webmaster. This web site loading pace
is amazing. It sort of feels that you’re doing any unique trick.
Furthermore, the contents are masterwork. you have performed a magnificent task on this subject!
Similar here: sklep internetowy and also here:
Sklep online

Rastrear teléfono March 30, 2024 at 12:03 am

La mejor aplicación de control parental para proteger a sus hijos – monitoriza en secreto GPS, SMS, llamadas, WhatsApp, Facebook, ubicación. Puede monitorear de forma remota las actividades del teléfono móvil después de descargar e instalar apk en el teléfono de destino.

Rastrear Teléfono Celular March 31, 2024 at 1:12 pm

Si te preguntas cómo saber si tu esposo te engaña en WhatsApp, quizás pueda ayudarte. Cuando le preguntas a tu pareja si puede revisar su teléfono, la respuesta habitual es no.

vpn coupon code 2024 April 8, 2024 at 4:13 pm

I’d like to thank you for the efforts you have put in writing this website.
I really hope to view the same high-grade content by you later on as well.
In truth, your creative writing abilities has motivated me to get my own blog
now 😉

Here is my web page: vpn coupon code 2024

vpn special coupon April 11, 2024 at 10:34 pm

Very good blog! Do you have any recommendations for
aspiring writers? I’m planning to start my own site soon but
I’m a little lost on everything. Would you suggest starting with a free platform like WordPress or go for a paid
option? There are so many choices out there that I’m completely overwhelmed ..
Any recommendations? Thanks a lot!

Here is my web blog vpn special coupon

user-949496 April 24, 2024 at 2:34 pm


facebook vs eharmony to find love online May 16, 2024 at 2:30 am

naturally like your website but you need to test the spelling on quite
a few of your posts. Many of them are rife with spelling issues and I in finding it very bothersome facebook vs eharmony to find love online inform the reality
then again I will definitely come again again.


Leave a Comment

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. I Agree More Info