Jamkhanas (durries) in Kannada means floor covering mats which are usually used during marriages and functions. These durries from Navalagund near Dharwad, Karnataka are well known for their structure, bold colours and form that makes them unique as compared to other durries. This craft is believed to have originated during the time of Ali Adil Shah of Bijapur. In the sixteenth century during the tussle between Deccan Sultanate and Vijayanagar Empire in 1565 AD, Jamkhana weavers migrated from Bijapur to Navalgund and continued this craft.
Navalgund or Navelu in Kannada means peacock. These birds are found in abundance in this area and later got incorporated as a part of the pattern in the jamkhana.
Dhurrie weaving is done on a vertical loom locally called Khadav Magga which means vertical or upright loom. Yarn is purchased in Hulkoti in Karnataka and is dyed nearby in Ron taluk of Gadag. Six cotton yarns are unwound and plied together to form a finger hanks or butterflies to be used as weft. Jamkhana looms are permanently installed in corners of houses
Traditional Designs and Tools
Each jamkhana is divided into three parts with centre and two ends, where centre is woven with geometric and simplified natural forms and the ends woven in reflected symmetry.
Dominant color used is red which is used as the background in most jamkhanas, yellow to set the other colors to place within it. Green, black and white are used as accenting colors.
Some of the traditional names of the motifs used in the jamkhanas in the local language are based on geometrical shapes:. Badi Ghari – Zigzag diamond shape with double edge.
. Nanhi Ghari – Zigzag diamond shape with single edge.
. Laheri – Geometrical pattern like a wave.
. Phul – Geometrical flower.
. Bel (bael) – Creeper pattern with zigzag edge.
. Chinda – Vertical stripes.
. Chunnat – Twill diamonds with extra weft.
. Mor (Navelu) – Peacock
. Dhara – Horizontal stripes.
. Pagadi Aata – Board of Traditional Indian dice game
extending along one side of the wall. Two bamboo poles (rods) of the warp yarns are tied at the upper and lower extremities. This is a combination of a of pit loom and a vertical loom.
Unbleached cotton yarn of 3/10s (10s is count of yarn) is used in the making of warp yarns for the required width and spread across evenly.
Heddles are made by looping each set of warp yarns to operate as the individual shafts to raise and lower the yarns. Weaving is mainly done indoors by the women in the house, where two weavers facing each other can work together on this loom. Weaver who sits at the backside of the loom operates the heddle raiser and weaves one half of the dhurrie width. Jamkhanas are woven weft faced where different colored yarns are inserted from the finger hanks moving in one direction and then return in opposite direction. Tibni (wooden tool) is used to guide the weft down its place.
Weavers don’t refer to any manuals or graphs and weave from their experience and memory which gives each jamkhana a human, individual touch. After yarns are inserted completely it is taken off the loom and the extra threads are trimmed.
Typical sizes of the jamkhanas are 1.5’x7.5′, 2’x2′, 2’x4 ‘, 2×6 ‘, 3’x6′, 4’x7′, 5’x7′, 10’x6′ and 12’x6’ and are mainly used as floor mats.
.• Tottale Jamkhana It is the smallest of the jamkhanas of 1.5×4′ width with a square at the centre filled with geometrical forms, serrated edges and flanked by horizontal stripes on either ends.
. Sadaphul It is a floor covering which has big geometrical flowers at the centre and borders at two ends.
. Bada Mor This is a large sized peacock at the centre with smaller peacocks at the two ends.
. Char Mor Center with chaupada (traditional Indian dice game) surrounded by four peacocks at the corners.
. Guddara Long stripes of different color stitched together usually used as a protective cover