Aghabani fabrics are embroidery type of fabrics with unique designs of leaves, flowers, branches or other arabesque geometry inspired by the environment of Syria. Silk yarns, colourful or golden, are used in the stitch and silk fabrics are used to form the base of the Aghabani. However, nowadays rayon viscous threads and cotton fabrics are used instead. This fabric first appear in Aleppo and then it flourished in Damascus. It is believed the name is generated form the two families who started this type of fabric in Damascus, Al-Agha family and Al-Bani family, Aghabani.
Types of Aghabani
There are many types of Aghabani depending on the materials used.
The base fabric for this types is thin woven silk fabric and the stitch yarns used are thick silk yarns. This type is mainly used in wedding dresses.
2. Damascene Aghabani
The base fabric for this type is linen with 1/1 design. Thick silk threads are also used for stitching. In this design there are no empty spaces left on the face of the base fabric. There is another name for this kind which s also ‘Tals’.
3. Aghabani Rush
Cotton base fabric is used in this type. And for the design there are many spaces are left, design is smaller than the base.
Currently, as we said earlier, rayon viscous is used as embroidery threads instead of silk yarns.
The making of Aghabani
The Aghabani base, which is a woven fabric is made, on handlooms previously, at specific dimension according to the final product. The fabric piece then is sewn at the edges and then send to the drawing. The required design is printed on the fabric using wood printing moulds.
After the design is being drawn the piece will send for embroidery, which is still done by hand by many house wives in the area surrounding Damascus.
The Aghabani is used to be used in many traditional clothing and accessories, however lately it is mainly used as table cloth and napkins.
For more designs, you can visit: damascenetreasures.ca
- Classification of Syrian traditional fabrics, Mohammad Issam Yousef and Manhal Hasan, Textile Department, Damascus University, 2006.