Photo of the Day: The Fabric of History

Varanasi is the center of the silk weaving industry in India and much of the work is still done by hand in the surrounding villages. Most weavers are members of cooperatives that furnish the equipment and raw materials and guarantee a fixed price for the finished products. The looms are usually set up inside the weavers' homes and use a mid-nineteenth century punch card technology known as a Jacquard machine to reproduce complex designs.