The Resurgence of Tanchoi Weaving in Banarasi Sarees: A Tale of Silk and Tradition

Tanchoi Silk Banarasi Saree

The Art of Tanchoi Weaving in Banarasi Sarees traces its origins back to China and its journey to India through Parsi traders. This exquisite silk craft found its way to Banaras in the mid-19th century, where it was embraced and evolved into a unique fabric known as Tanchoi. Over the years, Tanchoi sarees faced challenges but eventually made a triumphant return to the fashion scene. This article delves into the history, weaving process, varieties, colors, and captivating patterns that define the beauty of Tanchoi sarees.

A Journey from China to Banaras – The Birth of Tanchoi:

Parsi traders introduced Tanchoi to India around 1856 CE. Three Joshi weavers traveled to China to master the art of brocade silk weaving, adopting the name of their Chinese teacher, Chhoi. The silk they created, known as Tanchoi, paid tribute to the three brothers (Tan), thus creating a splendid legacy.

Tanchoi’s Rise and Fall – The European Influence and Banaras Embrace:

By the early 20th century, European fashion dominated Bombay, causing Tanchoi sarees’ popularity to wane. Lighter fabrics like Georgette replaced the exquisite silk. However, the Banaras weavers found hope as they mastered Tanchoi weaving and offered these gorgeous sarees at a more affordable price. This fusion of Banarasi designs with Tanchoi technique breathed new life into the fabric.

The Weaving Process of Tanchoi Sarees:

Tanchoi distinguishes itself in weaving with its intricate use of single or double warp and two to five weft colors, frequently in matching shades. The fabric’s satin finish creates an incredibly lightweight and soft drape. This intricate weaving process involves one or two warp and two to five weft colors, resulting in the creation of stunning and unique patterns that are truly a work of art.

Exploring the Varieties of Banarasi Tanchoi:

Banarasi Tanchoi offers a range of captivating varieties, each catering to different preferences and occasions:

  1. Satin Tanchoi – This variety features a single-colored Satin fabric base, adorned with additional weft threads in one or more colors, which can also be used as body weft.
  2. Satin Jari Tanchoi – An extension of Satin Tanchoi, it showcases a delightful combination of one Silk and one Gold thread or two Silk threads and one Gold thread in the weft.
  3. Atlas or Gilt – Featuring a pure satin surface, Atlas or Gilt offers a heavier feel and enhanced shine, thanks to the extensive use of zari.
  4. Mushabbar – With its net-woven design resembling branches or bushes, Mushabbar sarees evoke the essence of nature’s greenery or a lush jungle.

The Allure of Colors and Patterns in Tanchoi Sarees:

Tanchoi textiles are renowned for their vibrant colors and intricate patterns. Multiple silk yarns are used in the weaving process to create distinctive patterns over the satin ground. The sarees feature designs of flying birds, paired cocks amidst floral sprays, and charming flower-filled baskets. The pallu may showcase peacocks, hunting scenes, or more solid patterns, creating an enchanting visual treat. The seamless fusion of Chinese and Indian motifs results in exquisite pieces of art that celebrate tradition and innovation.


The Art of Tanchoi Weaving in Banarasi Sarees weaves a tale of history, tradition, and craftsmanship. From its origin in China to its arrival in Banaras through Parsi traders, Tanchoi’s journey has been both challenging and triumphant. Despite facing European fashion’s competition, Banaras embraced the Tanchoi technique, leading to the resurgence of Tanchoi sarees in India. Today, these captivating sarees stand as a testament to the rich heritage and artistry that define the culture of Banaras, enchanting saree lovers and fashion enthusiasts across the nation and beyond. Embracing the threads of history and cherishing the art of Tanchoi, this exquisite fabric continues to be cherished as an eternal symbol of beauty and craftsmanship.

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