Saturday, 20 February 2016

Word Origins of Some Textile Terms


Cotton originated in Arbic qutn, the name for cotton plant.


Word silk originated in Chinese si. Greek called Silk traders Seres, "silk people". This is the origin of the words like Sericulture and Serge. 

However, the 'l' rather than an 'r' came through Russian Shelk.


The word comes from old Germanic "lin" meaning "Flax"which is an origin of the words such as linseed.

It has contributed to other words such as Lingerie, crinoline, linoleum and lint. 


It came from Indo-European "wlna". the word flannel is related to it.

Source: Bloomsbury Dictionary of Word Origins by John Ayto.


Spin comes from Indo-European Base "spen" which means to stretch. The logic seems to make sense as spinning essentially involves stretching or drafting of a strand of fibers.

The words span, spinster, spider, spill and spindle are related to it.


The origin is from Germanic "Weben"- to weave. This is the source of the words wafter, wasp, web and weft. 


The source of this word remain unknown.


The origin comes from Latin "premere" meant press. The words impression are related to it.


The origin comes from Germanic base "blaik-"means to whiten. The words blight and blink are related to it.


Latin texere means to "weave" which came from Indo European base "tek-" to make. It is the origin of the words text, context, pretext, subtle, texture, tissue and toilet, technical and architect.


The history of the word cloth is Germanic "kleid"- means garment.


The word fabric is related to carpenter. The origin is the word "Faber" which means a carpenter. Other related words are fabricate and forge.


It has the same source as apparatus, which came from apparare "make ready". The other related words are parent and prepare.


The root came from prehistoric German "garn" which is originated from Greek "Khorde"- sting. The other related words are chord and cord. 


The word came from Latin factio "make" or "do". The words related to it are difficult, fact, faction and factory. 

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Tuesday, 16 February 2016

Warli Painting

Warli is one of the major tribes in Maharashtra in Thane District.

Traditionally only white is used on a red ochre background. Only married women used to draw these paintings.

They use basic vocabulary of a circle, a triangle and a square.

The Tarpa Dance motif is very famous.

Know more by watching this fantastic video:

and this:

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Saturday, 13 February 2016

Banarasi Sarees- Kadiyal, Katan, Kadhuan, Brocade, Tanchoi...

When someone searches for the Banarasi Sarees or goes to buy the sarees, various types of terms are used to describe the sarees. Let me try to explain a few of the terms. I have dealt these terms elsewhere also in this blog.

1. Katan

Katan is the name of the silk yarn used to produce sarees. Simply speaking katan is degummed- very slightly twisted pure silk yarn. It is softer in feel.

2. Kadhuan or Jamdani. 

This is one of the most used (and misused) terms in Banarasi sarees. Kadhuan involves producing designs using extra weft technique, without producing any surfeit yarn floats at the back of the fabric. It is epitome of weaving. It is manual, painstaking and mimics the tapestry weaving technique at much micro level. In India this is also called Jamdani in producing Kotas, Chanderis and Uppadas.

 3. Brocade

It is a fabric where design dominates. Thus it can be a Resham brocade ( where the extra warp figuring is done with viscose or silk yarn) or Zari Brocade ( where the figuring is done with gold or silver yarn). When 60% of the fabric is covered by zari it is called Kimkhab.

4. Jamavar

Basically this paisley design in found in shawls. However in Banaras, they combine it beautifully in the pallu and hence are called Jamavar Brocades.

5. Cutwork

Unlike Kadhua, in cutwork, there are yarn floats at the back of the fabric which are cut after the fabric is woven, thereby creating an embossed effect on the fabric. Cutwork fabrics are cheaper as they can be made on machine Jacquards.

6. Raw Silk

Raw silk is the filament silk obtained from mulberry cocoons, from which it is not possible to obtain. These are non degummed and hence have their characteristic slubby appearance.

7. Summer Silk

Summer silk sarees have non degummed in the warp and twisted yarn in the weft.

8. Kora Silk

Kora silk is both organza in the warp and weft. It is non degummed.

9. Dupion Silk

It is produced by fine threads in the warp and uneven weft reeled from two or more entangled cocoons in the weft. It produces very deep colors.

10. Tanchoi

Tanchoi is the self design produced on the surface of the fabric with the help of resham or silk thread. There is no float either at the back or at the front of the fabric.

11. Tissue

In tissue fabric one or more warp or weft is of zari yarn. Thus it can be a silver tissue or can be a gold tissue.

12. Kadiyal

Kadiyal or Korvai is an ancient three shuttle technique of weaving sarees. Three shuttles are used for creating two border and the body. The borders are joined with the body in an interlocking way. Hence it is called Kaiyal technique. Apart from Banaras it is used in many handloom clusters of India.

Source of Images

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