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A burst of textures and colours

PUSHPA CHARI
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EXHIBITION Of exclusive Maheshwari and Chanderi saris

ELEGANT SPLENDOUR Creations from Madhya Pradesh
ELEGANT SPLENDOUR Creations from Madhya Pradesh

S ilken soft texture, cotton weaves that go to an incredible count of 400, and zari borders — these are what define the Maheshwari and Chanderi saris of Madhya Pradesh. And, both have a fascinating history.

The Chanderi weavers came to Madhya Pradesh from Dhaka nearly 300 years ago, while the present-day Maheshwari weavers' ancestors are from Surat, Gujarat. By the 1940s, both Maheshwari and Chanderi weavers had begun to weave with silk in the warp and cotton in the weft.

A sign of tradition

Both the traditions used only vegetable dyes and continue to do so, to a great extent. Local flora and fauna as well as myth and legend have influenced the design template of their butties.

And, here's how Chennaiites can take in the splendour of these two traditional weaves. Mrignayanee brings a selection of classic Chanderis and Maheshwari saris in an exhibition celebrating the traditional pallu, woven border and soft, muted colours. Maheshwaris with Dalimbi checks and intricately-woven borders are on display alongside quintessential off-white Chanderi with its traditional butties. Later innovations of bright hues showing the dyeing of both the warp and the weft are also on view.

Many of the saris are one-off pieces. Such as the boldly-striped Maheshwari with a tussar pallu or the festive ivory-coloured Chanderi with an all-gold pallu and a dramatic scattering of gold leaves. The drama of jewel colours such as red, green and blue are set off with gold borders. The saris come in a range of colours from soft shades to vibrant oranges, magentas and greens. Vegetable dyes have been used in most of these saris.

The Maheshwari Chanderi show is on at 180, Luz Church Road, Mylapore, till January 14.

PUSHPA CHARI

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