Nepal’s Dhaka woven cloth a dying art ??

Nepal’s Dhaka woven cloth a dying art ??

My journey with Duti on the trail of the Dhaka weavers of Nepal.

Dhaka fabric and its Beautiful patterned tones of blue .

The Discovery

The art of Dhaka hand-loomed weaving  is at risk  of being  lost in time to a mere paragraph in a history book.”


The Dhaka designer explained as we sat chatting over coffee in a small shop in Kathmandu one late  afternoon on brisk winters day. We sat marveling at the geometric pattern and the colour combinations of the shawls . Each piece a unique individual article of weaving. One has to  have admiration for the consummate skills of the weavers.

Intricate Geometric pattern of the cotton/rayon Dhaka fabric

Difficulties of Dhaka

The designer told me that it was becoming difficult to locate skilled weavers. Many weavers were retiring or  looking for easier ways of making money. The hand loomed weaving skills that are passed from mother to daughter for generations are in decline due to lack of interest. The designer has been working with weavers from eastern Nepal for over 20 years. Providing them with designs, colour combinations, threads and  workshops to improve their skill level. It is important to loom patterns with colours that will compliment  modern fashion.


The production of Dhaka cloth is very time consuming and the exquisite geometric patterns depending on it’s complexity, dictates the hours of creation time  and sets the selling price .
After making my purchases we departed, myself deep in thought regarding the discussion.Merging into the shadows of the deepening  twilight Duti hailed a beaten up  taxi and we joined the frantic rush of peak hour traffic of Kathmandu.

History

The history of Cotton Dhaka is over a thousand years old. Dhaka first appeared in Eastern Nepal, created by women of the Rai and Limbu tribes. The Dhaka fabric was created into everyday clothing. The weavers in these remote villages spun and dyed the cotton threads. Weavers today purchase the threads from suppliers.

Threads used

Other combinations of threads used now are rayon  & cotton. The threads on the warp and weft of the loom  give the fabric this luminescent  sheen that adds an elegance to the finished shawl.


Dhaka has survived turbulent times competing against the cheaper fabrics derived from the power looms. Only the dedication of the village weavers to retain their culture and art has kept it from ceasing to exist.

Survival


Dhaka has played an important role in the culture and history of Nepal.
To loose this remarkable hand loomed fabric would be a great loss. In supporting these  talented weavers we need to purchase their products. The next generation is encouraged to keep the art and tradition alive by the strength of interest from us.
Check out the Nepal Dhaka shawls on this website and help support the weavers of Nepal retain their ancient craft. 

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6 Comments
  • Max Peters
    Posted at 14:31h, 17 February Reply

    Fascinating history in words and pictures of a highly skilled and beautiful craft which should be preserved.

    • intrica1
      Posted at 21:15h, 19 February Reply

      Thanks for the comment, it is very much worth preserving.

  • suzanne giddins
    Posted at 11:25h, 19 February Reply

    just love the story and pictures to illuminate a magnificent history and heritage in weave.,

  • intrica1
    Posted at 21:14h, 19 February Reply

    Glad you enjoyed the story.

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    Posted at 07:05h, 06 March Reply

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    • intrica1
      Posted at 19:04h, 06 March Reply

      Glad you enjoyed the blog.

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