Silk Saris At The Intersection Of Artwork, Structure And Heritage


Artwork is all about inspiration. Varied types of artwork take inspiration from one another. They encourage new ideas and meet at an intersection, unleashing the creativity that could be a supply of sheer pleasure. Temples, textiles, structure, music, and icons connecting them are an integral a part of Indian tradition. They’ve typically been studied in isolation, not often can we see that they’re interconnected by the tales they inform, the motifs they use, and individuals who patronize them.

Artwork, Structure and Heritage on Silk Saris

Allow us to have a look at the intersection of textiles with historical past, structure, and heritage on Silk Saris.

Temples on the Silk Sari Borders

Ask any Kanchipuram Sari fanatic, they’d instantly speak about temple borders. The beautiful wealthy Saris woven in Kanchipuram put the temples on prime of the borders in such a means that it appears like a collection of temples one is wrapped in. Now I do know temple borders are fairly widespread however are you aware several types of temple borders?

Gopuram Borders – The colourful tall gopurams with intricately carved figures throughout them are the ceremonial gates of south Indian temples. They announce the temple from a protracted distance. Their tall tiered construction is recreated on prime of the border piercing the principle physique of the Sari, similar to the Gopurams look like piercing the sky when seen from the bottom. The tiers of the Gopurams are stylized with sharp geometrical patterns, tapering slowly as they go up, to spotlight them. In contrasting colours, they stand out proudly.

Gopuram Temple Border. Picture – Hema Singh

Small Temple Borders – The smaller temples are often depicted by their Shikhara or the Superstructure over the sanctum. On Saris, they’re denoted by a row of small triangles on prime of a wealthy or golden border. At instances they’re given names like ‘Moggu’ which implies bud in Tamil, because the triangular shapes additionally appear like a contemporary bud.

Rudraksha Borders – Rudraksha is related to Shiva, thought of a teardrop from his eyes. Devotees of Shiva put on Rudraksha on their our bodies. Transporting the custom on Saris, the weaver weaves the Rudraksha beads on the border together with the Gopurams, indicating that he has woven a Shiva temple. If you maintain the Sari in your palms, it’s like holding the sacred Rudraksha Mala.

Tales on Saris from Mithila

When the famend Tussar silk of Bhagalpur and the traces of the geometrical designs of Mithila come collectively on a chunk of cloth, they inform one million tales. Madhubani artwork has its roots within the ritual worship drawings of the area when auspicious patterns are etched on the partitions for events like weddings and births. Currently, we see it being finished on paper making it simpler to hold on the wall. When the identical patterns and tales are painted on the Saris, it enhances its worth manifold. Artists, largely ladies, painstakingly hand paint the Saris, treating it as a canvas for his or her inventive expression.

Ram Janaki Vivah on a Madhubani Sari
Ram Janaki Vivah on a Madhubani Sari

The preferred story that girls like to color is Ram-Janaki Vivah or the marriage of Sri Ram and Sita. Bear in mind, the marriage came about in Mithila and is rooted within the ethos of the area. Motifs of Durga and Kali on purple silk are additionally widespread, particularly across the competition of Navaratri. On beige – the bottom coloration of uncooked Tussar, even the floral and pure components look lovely – making the wearer really feel wrapped in nature, be it on the Silk Saris or on free-flowing dupattas.

Learn Extra – Mithila Work of Ganga Devi

Silk Saris and Terracotta Temples

Bishnupur and Bankura in West Bengal are identified for pretty Baluchari and Swarnachari Saris with the previous woven with silk thread and the latter with gold. If you stroll across the city, you might be mesmerized by the brick-red terracotta temples, with baked clay panels telling tales of deities, kings, merchants, and customary individuals. Choose up Silk Saris from an area weaver and also you see the identical tales woven with silk threads.

Gitopadesh on Baluchari Saris of Bengal
Gitopadesh on Baluchari Saris of Bengal

I’ve a Sari with Gitopadesh – the scene from Mahabharata the place Sri Krishna is telling Gita to Arjuna, woven on the border and pallu. Terracotta temples belong to medieval instances whereas silk weaving custom is certainly older. So, the query is – Did the silk weaves encourage the temple builders or vice-versa? There will not be a easy reply, because the tales generally tend to port themselves to each medium doable to protect themselves for posterity.

For the reason that temples are largely devoted to Krishna, we see his tales greater than others on the Saris borders, on Conch Shells, on Dhokra jewellery, and on the clay panels of the terracotta temples.

Narmada on Maheshwari

Narmada is believed to be the oldest river, older than the Ganga. For the individuals who dwell on her banks, those that are nurtured by her, she is at least a mom. Maheshwar, the capital of Rani Ahilya Bai Holkar on the banks of Narmada is house to weavers who give us lovely Maheshwari Saris. Strolling across the city you possibly can hear the rhythmic motion of Khaddis or the looms.

Waves of Narmada on Maheshwari Silk Sari
Waves of Narmada on Maheshwari Sari

In case you sit by the river when the morning or night solar rays are falling, you notice that the rays make the river look golden. These are the precise moments that the weavers have chosen to weave on borders of Maheshwari Sarees as if freezing the great thing about golden Narmada in textile. Waves of Narmada are in truth a signature sample on the Maheshwari Saris, a technique to take Narmada with you. Different widespread patterns are impressed by on a regular basis life like Chatai from the on a regular basis mat, Chameli from flowers round, and so forth.

Gitagobinda Khandua of Puri Jagannath

The well-known 12th CE poem Gitagobinda by poet Jayadeva is on the coronary heart of Odisha’s tradition. Gitagobinda Khandua is a silk cloth with the shlokas of the poem written on it – both utilizing the tie and dye method or woven utilizing the Ikkat that’s so widespread within the area. Legend says that Jayadeva wished to supply his poem to Jagannath and he couldn’t consider a greater means than to weave it on a material, which is the closest factor that is available in contact with the deity. Initially, he used to get it woven in his native village of Kenduli, however later it shifted to Nuapatana by the king of Puri. In case you go to the temple early morning for Mangala Arti, you possibly can see Jagannath on this Khandua. Weavers who weave Khandua keep ritual purity by strictly consuming solely vegetarian meals and following Shauch rituals typically.

Gitagobinda Khandua of Odisha
Gitagobinda Khandua of Odisha. Picture – Wikimedia Commons & Prateek Pattanaik

Other than this, there’s Baralagi Pata, a silk cloth used to decorate up all of the deities on the Jagannath temple. It follows a coloration code for every day of the week like purple on Sunday, black and white on Monday, multi-colored on Tuesday, Inexperienced on Wednesday, yellow on Thursday, white on Friday, and black on Saturday.

Temple traditions in a means ensure that the textile custom of the area is preserved and enriched by the followers.

Banarasi Silk Saris

Banarasi brocades and jamavaras are each silk connoisseur’s dream. Nobody is aware of since when the weavers of Kashi have been weaving magic in silk. We do know that they lived throughout the time of Buddha which takes them at the least 2600 years again. Well-known saint-poet Kabir proudly referred to as himself a Weaver of Kashi in a lot of his poems. He makes use of a number of imagery of weaving to elucidate the deep philosophy of life when he calls life Tana-Bana or Warp and Weft. Not quite common, however we do see uncommon materials with Kabir’s verses woven on silk.

Heritage Banarasi Sari
Heritage Banarasi Sari

Banarasi Saris are identified for wealthy borders and Pallu in Zari, with Butis on the physique. These Butis are impressed by nature like – Mango, Betel Leaves, flowers, and typically creepers on them. Heavier ones have a jaal or a internet of motifs woven on them. Currently, designers have been innovating and creating ghats of Ganga on the borders of the silk Saris. It’s fascinating to see the enduring ghats woven on the enduring silk of the town, it’s one other means of taking the oldest dwelling metropolis on the planet with you as a Banarasi Memento. It’s just like the heritage map of the town on the Sari.

Inviting Water by Weaves

lehariya Saris
The Lehariya Saris – Should Purchase in Jaipur

Within the Thar desert of Rajasthan, within the colourful lanes of the bazaars of Jaipur and Udaipur, the Lahariya and Bandhani are two widespread cloth designs. Lahariya is a wave-like sample created utilizing two or extra colours. One view on this heritage design says that the waves fashioned on the sand dunes of the desert are replicated on the material by the weavers. Certainly, they appear like waves on sand, and the brilliant colours seem vibrant on a golden backdrop of sand.

One other story says that Lehariya represents the waves on water, meant to draw rain and water to the land. As we all know Thar desert is probably the most densely populated desert on the planet and the credit score for this goes to the water administration capacity of the individuals right here. Making wave-like patterns on cloth gives the look of abundance of water, a case of creating the regulation of attraction work. You’ll be able to select which one to go along with, I believe each of them are equally inspiring.

The Bandhani Work Fabrics from Jaipur
The Bandhani Work Materials from Jaipur

Coming to Bandhani, the phrase comes from the Sanskrit phrase Pulakband – replicating the goose pimples which are fashioned by raised hair on our physique once we are comfortable, indicating happiness. Even the phrase Polka comes from the identical root. In English this system is known as – Tie and Dye, it’s created by tying part of the material with threads and dyeing the material, making a raised pimple-like sample on the place the place it was tied. Bandhani designs are quite common in each Rajasthan and Gujarat.  It has been discovered on the clothes depicted in historical work of Ajanta caves.

Ikkat from Ajanta Work

The Jataka tales painted within the caves of Ajanta within the Marathwada area of Maharashtra date again to 2- fifth CE. The characters in these tales put on garments with criss-cross patterns of the Ikkat weaves, making it one of many few constantly dwelling heritage for 2 millennia at the least.

Jataka Tales at Ajanta Caves
Jataka Tales at Ajanta Caves

Ikkat weaves in our instances come from many areas, from Patan in Gujarat to Pochampally in Telangana to Sambalpur in Odisha. Yow will discover them on Silk and cotton Saris, on shawls worn by the clergymen at Puri Jagannath temple, and in Dupattas. Ikkat is available in two major variants – single Ikkat and double Ikkat – one of the troublesome weaves that require a high-level talent. Patan Patola from the city of Patan in Gujarat is thought for its delicate and complicated double Ikkat weaves.

Even brocades and zardozi might be seen at locations within the historical work.

Auspicious symbols on Silk Saris

Auspicious symbols on Silk Sari
Auspicious symbols on Sari

Girls sporting Saris are thought of embodiments of Lakshmi – the goddess of prosperity and auspiciousness. So, no marvel, a number of their Saris are woven with auspicious symbols like a Kumbha or a full pot, Swastika, Elephants, birds, peacocks, Rudraksha. Artists play with symbols by inserting a few of them on the border, others on the Pallu, and sprinkle on the remainder on the physique of the Sari.

Isn’t it a beautiful jugalbandi or symphony between our visible artwork types?

References – Odisha Journal

Silk Mark of IndiaThis publish has been written in collaboration with the Silk Mark Organisation of India, Central Silk Board.


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