Of all the different fabrics that are originally made in India, the Banarasi brocade has to be the most sought after and luxurious variety. So what exactly are brocades? Brocades are a type of handcrafted or machine made heavy fabric that is distinguished by an imprinted and dimensional physical appearance that looks raised instead of appearing embedded within the fabric. Brocade work requires great skill and takes years of experience to master and perfect. Although the weaving process of brocades is lengthy and complicated, brocades are considered luxurious because of the gold and silver embroidery work that is done on them.
In this regard, Banarasi brocades, therefore, refer to brocades that have been made in the Banaras region of India, which is the capital of the world’s silk-making industry. The Banarasi brocade is said to trace its origins from the ancient Buddhist era, however, brocade work became more popular in the Mughal Empire during the 14th century.
Banarasi brocades are made from Jaala looms using two types of materials, one being Kimkhab. Banarasi Kimkhab is very heavy, which is why it was reserved for heavy items such as trappings and wall hangings. Wearable brocades, on the other hand, are lightweight because they incorporate zari patterns, which are more suitable for clothing.