Friday, October 29, 2010

Satpara Kamkhwab of Mughals: A Seven Layer Brocade Fabric

Kam means little or scarcely. Khwab means a dream.

Kamkhwab or Kinkhwabs are heavy fabrics or several layers of warp threads with an elaborate all-over pattern of extra weft, which may be of silk, gold and / or silver threads or combinations. There may be three to seven layers of warp threads. Tipara means three layers and Chaupara means four layers to Satpara meaning seven layers. Its specialty is in profusely using the gold and silver thread in a manner that sometimes leaves the silk background hardly visible.

Often a touch of Badla was given to floral motives to enhance the beauty. This type of zari has mostly gone out of favor amongst the contemporary weavers and they mostly depend on polyester or pure silk as a substitute.

Silk brocade of Banaras, Ahmedabad and Surat (Mughal India) were well known in the seventeenth century. 

Kinkhwab was originally an elegant, heavy silk fabric with a floral or figured pattern known most for its butis and jals woven with silk as the warp and tilla as the weft, produced in China and Japan. Tilla in the earlier times was known as kasab. It was a combination of silver and tamba (copper) which was coated with a veneer of gold and silver.