zari (Indian subcontinent)

Indian metallic-thread weaving used for traditional Bengali, Indian, and Pakistani garments, especially seen as brocades in saris. The term zari, derived from Persian zar- gold, suggests it originated in ancient Persia (now Iran) before flourishing in India during the Mughal era. The tinsel threads, synonymously called zari, were historically made of pure metal drawn directly from gold, silver, or copper wires and used for the clothing of royalty. The value lost from unused zari fabric remnants begged the question of how to reduce the fabric’s weight while preserving its elegance. This led to today’s lighter and less costly metal threads consisting of a silk, cotton, or polyester core wrapped or plated in silver or gold tape. Zari work remains a practice mastered by few. To date, all zari is fabricated from start to finish in one location to ensure the industry remains self-sufficient. In 2003, dosa began producing our own silver and gold zari cloth woven on pit looms in Kolkata.