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Indian Crafts >> Durries
Durries
Indian Crafts - Durries
History of Durries

Durrie weaving in India has been a cottage industry for a many centuries, historically in many small villages and towns of Uttar Pradesh. Apart from this, during late 19th and early 20th centuries, the prisoners in Indian jails worked arduously on this cottage craft creating spectacular narrative durries. These durries would have sceneries depicting village activities, natural flora and fauna. A large number of landless weavers were sustaining themselves on durrie weaving. The Ansaris believe that they were the first weavers of cloth. Their core describes weaving as the work of the devil and the older generation still refers to the profession as shaitani kaam. The devil, though a master weaver was unable to tie a simple knot around two warp threads. It was only when a mortal accomplished this, weaving ceased to be the devils domain.

The Ansaris believe that they were the first weavers of cloth. Their core describes weaving as the work of the devil and the older generation still refers to the profession as shaitani kaam. The devil, though a master weaver was unable to tie a simple knot around two warp threads. It was only when a mortal accomplished this that weaving ceased to be the devils domain.Durrie weaving in India has been a cottage industry for many centuries, historically in small villages and towns of Uttar Pradesh. The durrie weaving related activities such as spinning, sizing and dyeing were present as a cottage industry in every province and the primary state in Uttar Pradesh. Apart from this, during late 19th and early 20th centuries, the prisoners in Indian jails worked arduously on this cottage craft creating spectacular narrative durries. These durries would have sceneries depicting village activities and natural flora and fauna. A large number of landless weavers were sustaining themselves on durrie weaving.

Floor coverings have always been an important part of the interior of home in India, the use of furniture being very limited. Weaving of durries in various designs, especially by the young Punjabi girls has been a long tradition in Punjab. This handicraft still has an undoubted importance in Punjabi art.

Historically, Durrie weaving in India has been a cottage industry for many centuries in small villages and towns of India. Apart from this, during late 19th and early 20th centuries, the prisoners in Indian jails worked arduously on this cottage craft creating spectacular narrative durries. These durries would have scenaries depicting village activities, natural flora and fauna. A large number of landless weavers were sustaining themselves on durrie weaving.

The art of carpet weaving was brought into the Indian subcontinent by the great Mughal Emperor Akbar in the middle of 16th century.As one of the oldest and major industries, Indian carpets are known world over for their design, colour and craftsmanship. Haryana has today emerged as a major carpet producing center, as a result of long years of research and practice. The tools that the weaver uses are simple and these have remained unchanged with time.
Fine Art
The kinds of patterns created in durries were and continue to be varied. The striped durrie is the quintessential Indian feature over rug. Blue and white striped durries were known by their literal translation such as nili chithi meaning blue spot and nili pattidar meaning the simple blue stripped durrie. Uniformly repeated geometric motifs framed by simple borders as well as pictorial designs, with a woven narrative including images of flowers, birds, reptiles and people were woven in Mugal karkhanas (work shops). Farshi or floor durries were large striped and geometric, used by ordinary towns people, affluent traders and merchants. Tent durries carpeted outdoor marriage pavilions and large ones were often laid on the floor beneath pile carpets spread in the darbar halls of Maharajas. The largest durries are still commissioned for palace decoration and may extend over eighty feet in length and twenty-five feet in width. The colours used in durries were very bright hues earlier, but have now changed to subtle colours due to market demand.India, had the minimal concept of furniture. The floor furnishings were used for day to day activities in villages and towns of Uttar Pradesh. The weavers in Uttar Pradesh are now manufacturing rugs, which are tediously improvised on their actual processes of designing weaving, washing and finishing. Kanghi and Panja are the two devices used for setting the weft in seats in the warp while weaving.



Durries, mostly cotton, are woven all over the state, especially in the rural areas. Both plain and patterned, they are attractive and useful as occasional rugs, and cot and settee covers. They came in sizes of 3x 6 and 6x 9. Nikodar in Jullundur district is famous for its durries with designs of animals, birds and geometrical flowers.

Durrie is a handy substitute to carpets made of velvet cotton material, display a multitudenal array of colors to suit all tastes from the very chic to the very casual. Durrie is a floor covering with impressive designs in different shapes and sizes. These are generally made either on cotton or wool. They are either in geometrical designs or colourful lines on bright ways of different colours.

Durries are familiar objects in almost every home in the villages of Haryana. Mostly hand woven in cotton and cotton/wool mixtures, in bright basic colours such as yellow, red green and blue, they are made in Panipat, Ambala and Kurri (Hissar). Punja durries with floral, geometric, bird and animal motifs are especially attractive. They are used on floors, beds and divans. Durrie fabric is also used to make colourful, practicalshoulder bags. Panipat carpets are woven in wool, on traditional looms, in designs which have come down from generation to generation, with some old Persian design still being used. A small quantity of woollen druggets are also made at Panipat and Marni Hill.
Procedure
The cotton is first sorted to remove waste and carded to align the fibres. Winding/spinning is done on a charkha or traditional spinning wheel. Then it is plied by twisting two or more strands of yarn to create a thicker cord. The twist, usually in a direction opposite to that of each component yarn is a balancing act. The weft often uses thick unspun yarn called sut. Cotton yarn is dyed in copper pots heated over a wood fire. The yarn is soaked in a solution of castor oil and sodium hydrosulphide to wet it thoroughly. The dye bath is brought to a slow boil and the dye, caustic soda & more sodium hydrosulphide are added. Hanks of yarn hung on metal rods are dipped into the solution and rotated to ensure even dye penetration. The hanks are removed and the process repeated three more times, the color darkening with each immersion, then the yarn is cooled and rinsed. All durries are woven in weft faced plain weave. The weaver lays the warp, which must be tied with even tension throughout. The wefts are wound into little rectangular bundles. The graphic replica of the design where one square represents one knot or a color-coded design sketch on graph paper may be used as an aid during weaving. After the creation of the shed, the weaver inserts a single weft bundle as per requirement of design. The weaver moves from side to side, weaving colour by colour. A weft-placed plain with dovetailed joins is used, for locking the two colours together in same row. On completing one line of weft, it is tightened by beating it down with the panja, to create a rug, which is crisp in design and texture. Finer durries with the warps set closer use more delicate seven-tined rather than the usual five-tined panja. Turning the weft threads around the last few warps of each horizontal row reinforces the two vertical edges. A blade, scissors and crescent-shaped knife are all used to trim excess weft threads, which may protrude from the rugs surface. The needle and awl are used to pry loose unwanted material (such as hair, straw or fluff) trapped between the wefts during weaving. Washing and finishing follow this.

Wool fleece is hand-sorted and separated according to colour and quality. Combing is then carried out by repeatedly drawing across rows of small teeth, disentangling the fibres and making them more or less parallel. After this the yarn is twisted or spun to create the desired count. Now a days, these processes are largely mechanised. Several grades of wool are blended, carded, spun on a rotating machine, wound onto bobbins and converted into long hanks.All durries are woven in weft faced plain weave. The weaver lays the warp, which must be tied with even tension throughout. The wefts are wound into neat little rectangular bundles. The graphic replica of the design where one square represents one knot or a color-coded design sketch on graph paper may be used as an aid during weaving. After the creation of the colour shade, the weaver inserts a single weft bundle as per requirement of the design. The weaver moves from side to side, weaving colour by colour. A weft-placed plain with dovetailed joins is used for locking the two colours together in same row. On completing one line of weft, it is tightened by beating it down with the panja to create a rug, which is crisp in design and texture. Finer durries with the warps set closer together use more delicate seven-tined rather than the usual five-tined panja. Turning the weft threads around the last few warps of each horizontal row reinforces the two vertical edges. Blades, scissors and crescent-shaped knives are all used to trim excess weft threads, which may protrude from the rugs surface. The needle and awl are used to pry loose unwanted material (such as hair, straw or fluff) trapped between the wefts during weaving. Washing and finishing follow this.

The basic technique of weaving a durrie in its most primitive form can be seen in the villages. Here durrie-weaving is practised by Jat women for their personal use. The warp of hand-spun white cotton is prepared by stretching two bamboos secured on the floor by four pegs. The length and width of the warp are then prepared according to the requirements of the size of finished durrie by winding it over stretched bamboos. The warp runs parallel to ground and is six inches above it. Weaving starts at one end with the help of a forked stick, throwing the weft thread across for a single colour going across the entire width of the warp. The weaving of the patterned durrie is done with a series of colours, depending on the pattern and colours to be used. One colour is woven upto the required width after which it is inter-locked again, thus creating a pattern by multiple threads of weft without any extra weft, with the result that there is no wrong side in durrie-weaving. These are locally known as Panja Durries.

The cotton is first sorted to remove waste and carded to align the fibres. Winding/spinning is done on a charkha or traditional spinning wheel. Then it is plied by twisting two or more strands of yarn to create a thicker cord. The twist, usually in a direction opposite to that of each component yarn is a balancing act. The weft often uses thick unspun yarn called sut. Cotton yarn is dyed in copper pots heated over a wood fire. The yarn is soaked in a solution of castor oil and sodium hydrosulphide to wet it thoroughly. The dye bath is brought to a slow boil and the dye, caustic soda and more sodium hydrosulphide are added. Hanks of yarn hung on metal rods are dipped into the solution and rotated to ensure even dye penetration. The hanks are removed and the process repeated three or more times, the colour darkens with each immersion then the yarn is cooled and rinsed. All durries are woven in weft faced plain weave. The weaver in weft faced plain weave. The weaver lays the warp, which must be tied with even tension throughout. The weft are wound into little rectangular bundles. The graphic replica of the design where one square represents one knot or a color coded design sketch on graph paper may be used as an aid during weaving. After the creation of the shed the weaver inserts a single weft bundle as per requirement of design. The weaver moves from side to side weaving color by color. A weft placed plain with dovetailed joins is used for locking the two colours together in same row. On completing one line of weft, it is tightened by beating it down with the panja, to create a rug, which is crisp in design and texture. Finer durries with the warps set closer use more delicate seven-tined rather that the usual five tined panja. Turning the weft threads around the last few warps of each horizontal row reinforces the two vertical edges. A blade, scissors and crescent shaped knife are all used to trim excess weft threads, which may protrude from the rugs surface. The needle and awl are used to pry loose unwanted material (such as hair, straw or fluff) trapped between the wefts during weaving. Washing and finishing follow this.

The durrie, is essentially a cotton woven thick fabric meant for being spread on the floor. The weaving of it in its most primitive form can be seen in the villages of Haryana. The Jat women weave durries with a warp of hand-spun white cotton which is prepared by stretching two bamboos secured on the floor by four pegs. The length and the width of the warp are then prepared according to the requirements of the size of the finished durrie by winding it over stretched bamboos. The warp runs parallel to the ground and is six inches above it. Weaving starts at one end with the help of a forked stick, throwing the weft thread across for a single colour going across the entire width of the warp. For carpet ,the weaver follows the pattern and colours from a design. A knot is made over the foundation threads and the wool is cut off with a knife. When one row of knots had been tied, the weaver passes weft through the warp, running it alternately over and below the warp threads, and presses this thread against the row of knots with a blunt komb like instrument. After a number of rows have been made the wool is cropped. When the whole carpet has been knotted and cropped, it is taken off the loom and the warp threads cut from the carpet. Finally the carpet is carefully brushed to remove the remnants of wool clippings and is ready for the market.
Resources
Basic Material : Base material cotton- 30S/60S 5-ply cotton yarn; warp10S 6-ply cotton yarn. Jute yarn/hemp- weft unspun cotton/jute yarn.
Decorative Material : Color coded design sketch.
Colouring Material : Direct, reactive nd vat dyes, natural indigo and madder

Basic Material : Woollen durries warp- 10s- 6 ply cotton yarn; Weft- 60s 2-ply dyed woollen yarn/100s count worsted undyed woollen yarn (for complex curvilinear designs);

Decorative Material : Colour coded design sketch.
Colouring Material : Acid, metal complex and chrome mordant dyes, natural lac, madder, indigo.

Basic Material : Hand-spun white cotton warp, bamboo, forked, stick, weft thread, colours

Basic Material : Cotton, cotton yarn, weft unspun cotton, color coded design sketch, panja (a woolen comb with metal tines), blade, scissors, crescent shaped knife, needle, awl, Dyes - natural & synthetic

Equipments
Panja (a woollen comb with metal tines)

Panja (a woollen comb with metal tines)





Artifacts
Cotton/jute/hemp- large durries for decoration of large halls, lobbies, stair cases, upto about eighty feet in length and twenty-five feet width, durrie as a saddle cloth or animal cover, large grain carrying bags.Cotton- smaller room durries, bed durries, jainamaz (prayer mat) with single or multiniches

Woollen- smaller room durries, jainamaz (prayer mat) with single or multiniches, bed durries

durries in sizes of 3x 6 and 6x 9, rugs, cot and settee covers

Smaller room durries, bed durries, jainamaz , prayer mats, various sizes, 8ft x 6ft, 6ft x 2ft; 5ft x 2 ft, upto 10ft x 14ft

durries, carpets etc.

Indian Crafts : History of Durries