Banarasi brocade is one of the finest fabrics produced in India. Made in Varanasi, it derives its name from the city as it was formerly known as Banaras. One of the oldest cities of the world, Banaras for eons of years has been weaving brocade which is a luxurious fabric similar to jacquard with a raised pattern or floral design. Worn by nobility in the past, the brocade pattern son Banarasi fabric were produced with gold or silver threads and were of an extraordinary weave quality. There is evidence of different textured brocades since the Rig Vedic period c. 1750-500 BCE, including fabric of gold known as HiranyaVastra. A classic mixture of silk and cotton called silkora is a modern innovation of Banarasi brocade.
There are many varieties of Banarasi sarees seen today that are mainly categorized into four types: Katan Silk, Organza or Kora Silk, Georgette, Shattir.
Katan Silk: A plain fabric woven using pure silk threads that are twisted and woven into pure silk sarees, Katan silk is the purest silk fabric available today. Katan silk sarees are woven using handlooms with a beautiful creation of patterns and motifs.
Organza or Kora Silk: Organza or Kora silks are sheer and lightweight brocades that have most beautifully and richly woven patterns patterned into the saree in zari.
Georgette: It is a finely woven light fabric with a simple and plain weave. This fabric is made of crepe yarn where S -twisted and Z- twisted yarns are inter-woven with both warp and weft and is the most popular among all types of Banarasi.
Shattir: Shattir is another variant of Banarasi that is used in creating exclusive and contemporary designs of Banarasi sarees. Based on the design and patterning, they are divided into Kincab brocade, Amni brocade, Tanchoi brocade, Jamdani silk and Tarbanaalos known as abarwan.
Kincabbrocade is a variety of Banarasi brocade that’s heavy gilt brocade which is made usingupto50% of zari on the fabric surface. As a result, they are the most dazzling varieties of Banarasi brocades that are famous since the 18tgh and 19th centuries especially amongst the royal members of the societies.
Tanchoi Brocade saris find their basis in China. Tanchoi brocade sarees feature a complex weave with more heavy, dense patterns and typical floats or reverses are absent in this kind of weave.
Amni Brocade Banarasi saris list in the most traditional saris of India. Authentic and traditional, these saris make use of silk and not zari in their supplementary weft patterns. These saris are generally made in both thick designs using untwisted threads and more fine, dense patterns too using twisted yarns.
Jamdani silk Banarasi saris are a variety of figured of muslin. They are created by passing the pattern thread through varying warp threads while keeping the proportion of design in mind. Traditional motifs used in this type of intricately patterned Jamdani sari are Chameli ( Jasmine), Panna Hazar ( Thousands Emeralds), Pan Butti( Leaf form) etc.
Tarbana Banarasi saris meaning woven water, boasts of a silk wrap with a zeri weft. The transparent tissue materials of these saris when woven with finest of silks give an impression of flowing water, hence the name abarwan. Border of these types of saris reflect a diamond pattern with paisley motifs. The more traditional tissue saris encompass designs like JunglaButidaars, Shikargah Menadar etc. Because of their high gold brocade designs, they are the most expensive variant of Banarasi brocades and are highly popular as bridal sarees.