The Journey of Tanchoi Silks and Banarasi Weaves: A Rich History and Exquisite Beauty

The Journey of Tanchoi Silks and Banarasi Weaves: A Rich History and Exquisite Beauty
Tanchoi Saree From Sanskriti Cuttack’s collection

Tanchoi silk is not just a fabric; it’s a piece of art that tells a fascinating story. Its journey began in China and continued in India, where it was embraced by Banaras weavers and became an integral part of Indian culture and tradition. Today, Tanchoi silk is back in fashion, with its exquisite beauty, intricate patterns, and vibrant colors, making it perfect for formal occasions, weddings, and festivals.

The Origins and History of Tanchoi Silk

The origins of Tanchoi silk can be traced back to the mid-19th century when a Parsi merchant named Sir Jamsetjee Jejeebhoy enlisted the help of three weavers from the Joshi family of Surat to travel to China and learn the art of weaving brocade silk. Upon their return, the three brothers took on the name of their Chinese teacher, Chhoi, who had taught them the skill of silk weaving. The name “Tanchoi” was derived from the Gujarati word “tran” meaning “three,” which referred to the three brothers involved in creating this type of silk.

Regrettably, in the early 1900s, the port city of Bombay succumbed to European fashion, leading to the substitution of Tanchoi silk with lighter fabrics such as Georgette. Until the 1950s, the production of Tanchoi saree continued in Bombay. However, a turning point in the story occurred when Banaras weavers discovered the art of crafting these brocades and began to produce the same fabric at a significantly lower cost. As a result, some of the intricate Banarasi designs found their way onto Tanchoi silk.

Weaving Process of Tanchoi Silk

The Tanchoi saree is characterized by the use of a single or double warp and two to five weft colors of the same shade. The fabric background of the sarees has a Satin finish, which is a unique feature. The process of weaving Tanchoi saree is considered to be a complex and technical one, as it involves the use of one or two warp and two to five weft colors. In spite of this, the sarees are incredibly lightweight and soft, making them easy to drape.

Varieties of Tanchoi

Banarasi Tanchoi has several different varieties:

  • Satin Tanchoi – The Satin Tanchoi style derives its name from its use of Satin fabric as a base, which is usually of a single color. The weft threads, on the other hand, can be of one or more colors, with the additional colors also being utilized as a body weft.
  • Satin Jari Tanchoi – This type of Tanchoi is an expansion of Satin Tanchoi. It features a weft made up of either one Silk and one Gold thread or two Silk threads and one Gold thread.
  • Atlas or Gilt – The surface of the fabric is composed of pure satin, which gives it a distinct shine. Atlas or Gilt fabric is comparatively heavier than other fabrics, due to the extra use of zari.
  • Mushabbar – The distinctive feature of this variation is the net-like woven pattern resembling bushes or tree branches, commonly known as the ‘Tree of Life’ or Mushabbar design. The technique involves double warp and a single weft, with each side having a different color. This method results in a visually stunning effect that sets the Mushabbar design apart, making it one of the most sought-after and exceptional forms of Tanchoi silk.

Colors and Patterns of Tanchoi Silk

One of the defining features of Tanchoi silk is its vibrant colors and intricate patterns. The fabric is available in a wide range of colors, from bold and bright hues to more subtle and muted shades. The patterns on Tanchoi saree usually floral or geometric in design, with intricate details and a high level of craftsmanship.

Many of the traditional Banarasi designs, such as the butidar, jangla, and amru, have made their way onto Tanchoi silk, adding to the richness and variety of the fabric. The combination of different colors and patterns creates a stunning effect, making Tanchoi silk sarees perfect for special occasions and weddings.


Tanchoi silk is not just a fabric; it’s a piece of history and a work of art. Its journey from China to India and its adoption by Banaras weavers is a fascinating story that speaks to the power of cultural exchange and the resilience of traditional crafts. Today, Tanchoi silk is back in fashion, with its vibrant colors, intricate patterns, and satin finish, making it perfect for formal occasions, weddings, and festivals. Whether you’re looking to add a touch of elegance to your wardrobe or to connect with a rich cultural heritage, Tanchoi silk saree is beautiful and timeless choice.

Sanskriti Cuttack is your one-stop-shop to find and support handmade handloom Banarasi silk attire. You can easily purchase them online from our website. Don’t forget to like and follow us on our social media channels including Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest.

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