Tant sarees, Bengal’s own story
A saree that truly has been reigning Bengal since ages now, is Tant saree without any dithering. Tant
sarees are an integral part of Bengali culture and thus, also known as Bengali saree in various parts of
India. It represents the Bengali handloom in a true sense. For its magnificent design and quality along
with comfort tant sarees easily win a woman’s heart. Tant sarees are convenient and comfortable to
wear protecting one from hot and humid weather of Bengal and India. Also, it has verity in style , design
and elegance making tant one of the most loved and worn sarees in Bengal. For its diverse designs tant
can give a perfect look to a woman in every occasion.
‘Tant’ is a bengali term meaning handloom. Bengal is the home of tant saree that is not less than a piece
of art. The beginning of this art dates back to 15th century. It is a unique concoction of ancient Hindu
culture, Mughal patronage and the handloom art and design of Bengal. According to history and
legends, Shantipur, Nadia district, West Bengal is the hometown of this saree art. Also, in Tangail,
Bangladesh a different form of tant sarees originated and after partition in 1947, some of the handloom
weavers and artisans came to West Bengal, India with their art. Later in Phulia, a neighbouring town of
Shantipur these artisans settled and developed their beautiful tant saree art in a bigger manner. Around
same time in Dhaniakhali, Hooghly district another variety of tant sarees was in making, bearing same
name as its birthplace, with stronger weft and fabric. Besides, various weavers settled in Murshidabad
and Barddhaman district as well and developed their own style of tant sarees amalgamating various
other forms and designs of tant.
In recent times there are plethora of variety of tant sarees that ranges from cotton tant to tussur tant,
tant banarasi, tant baluchori, Tangail and printed tant sarees and many more such. Tant sarees are
mostly adorned for their beauty, softness, comfort and great variety of designs in motifs with different
kind and colourful threads. Primarily, these sarees are made with locally produced cotton fabrics of
Bengal, popularly known as muslin and mulmul which are superfine, soft and feather light in nature.
In a modern version of tant, cotton is now interwoven with silk threads to make it stronger and more
lustrous. Basically woven in handlooms by tant weavers and artisans a tant saree takes approximately
one to twelve days to come to life. But now a days power looms are also in use making it time efficient
process. The real attraction of a tant saree, besides its soft texture, lies in abundance of motif designs it
offers. Mainly golden zari, and other colourful threads are used to make these motifs. These designs
include normal floral works to rajmahal or palace, bhomra or bee, chandmala or garland, tabij, kalka
design, nilambari, ardha chandra or half moon, hathi or elephant design and many more making tant
one of the most alluring and desirable sarees of all time.