Traditional art of Jamdani weaving

Inscribed in 2013 (8.COM) on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity

Country(ies): Bangladesh



Traditional art of Jamdani weaving

Jamdani is a vividly patterned, sheer cotton fabric, traditionally woven on a handloom by craftspeople and apprentices around Dhaka. Jamdani textiles combine intricacy of design with muted or vibrant colours, and the finished garments are highly breathable. Jamdani is a time-consuming and labour-intensive form of weaving because of the richness of its motifs, which are created directly on the loom using the discontinuous weft technique. Weaving is thriving today due to the fabric’s popularity for making saris, the principal dress of Bengali women at home and abroad. The Jamdani sari is a symbol of identity, dignity and self-recognition and provides wearers with a sense of cultural identity and social cohesion. The weavers develop an occupational identity and take great pride in their heritage; they enjoy social recognition and are highly respected for their skills. A few master weavers are recognized as bearers of the traditional Jamdani motifs and weaving techniques, and transmit the knowledge and skills to disciples. However, Jamdani weaving is principally transmitted by parents to children in home workshops. Weavers – together with spinners, dyers, loom-dressers and practitioners of a number of other supporting crafts – form a closely knit community with a strong sense of unity, identity and continuity.


Decision 8.COM 8.4

The Committee (…) decides that [this element] satisfies the criteria for inscription on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, as follows:

  • R.1: Passed down through generations particularly within families, Jamdani weaving provides its community a sense of cultural identity and continuity as well as a source of income and empowerment;
  • R.2: Inscription of the element on the Representative List could promote dialogue and mutual understanding thanks in particular to the collective nature of the weaving tradition and could foster appreciation of the creativity, skills and knowledge of the craftspeople;
  • R.3: Safeguarding measures involving both the craftspeople and governmental agencies and reflecting their shared commitment aim to create favourable conditions for the transmission of knowledge and marketing of the textiles;
  • R.4: Tradition bearers were consulted widely throughout the nomination process, in cooperation with researchers, non-governmental organizations and local authorities, and provided their free, prior and informed consent;
  • R.5: Jamdani weaving was included in 2007 in a survey of the tangible and intangible cultural heritage of Bangladesh, prepared by the Asiatic Society of Bangladesh for the Ministry of Cultural Affairs.

Invites the State Party to take heed of paragraphs 116 and 117 of the Operational Directives concerning the commercialization of the intangible cultural heritage, and in particular to ensure that the producers are its principal beneficiaries.



© 2012 by Bangla Academy

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