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Magical weaves

Captivating Kanchipuram weave

FOR FRONTLINE : Silk Saree borders manufacturing units at Anna Co-operative Society in Kancheepuram. Photo : S_Thanthoni

FOR FRONTLINE : Silk Saree borders manufacturing units at Anna Co-operative Society in Kancheepuram. Photo : S_Thanthoni

Located around 70km from Chennai, Kanchipuram is renowned for two things — ancient temples and spectacular silk. It is often said that when it comes to silk, no other type comes close to the Kanchipuram variety. Handwoven using mulberry silk and zari , these shimmering saris are protected by Geographical Indication labels that certify their origin. The town’s expert weavers belong to the Devangas and the Pattu Saliyar communities that migrated from Andhra Pradesh in the 15th century.

Charming Chikankari

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One of Lucknow’s most well-known art forms is the chikan , a style of embroidery. Generally involving white cotton threads on muslin, this fabric is perfect for hot summers. According to folklore, it was brought to India when a traveller passing through a village near Lucknow taught it to a peasant in return for drinking water, more than 200 years ago. Other stories say it was introduced by the Mughals. The word chikan comes from the Persian word ‘chikaan’ meaning drapery.

Blissful Banarasi brocade

VISAKHAPATNAM, ANDHRA PRADESH, 07/12/2015: Banarasi saris at one of the counters put up at the two-day handlooms and crafts exhibition 'Aakruthi Vastra Visakhapatnam-2015' organised by Crafts Council of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana at The Gateway Hotel in Visakhapatnam on December 07, 2015. Photo: C.V. Subrahmanyam

VISAKHAPATNAM, ANDHRA PRADESH, 07/12/2015: Banarasi saris at one of the counters put up at the two-day handlooms and crafts exhibition 'Aakruthi Vastra Visakhapatnam-2015' organised by Crafts Council of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana at The Gateway Hotel in Visakhapatnam on December 07, 2015. Photo: C.V. Subrahmanyam

Among the many things Varanasi is famous for the opulent Banaras brocade sari. This luxurious fabric, with gold and silver zari designed with raised patterns, historically adorned royals around the country. The designs are so intricate that weaving a single sari can take months, making them truly precious. The neighbourhood of Pili Kothi houses one of the few remaining weaving communities in the city.

Ravishing Rajasthani block print

A worker doing block printing at the Anokhi factory.

A worker doing block printing at the Anokhi factory.

In Rajasthan’s ever-evolving cultural landscape, one craft form has been constant, going back to around the 12th century. This is the technique of block printing. Intricately carved blocks are dipped in dyes and stamped onto cotton fabric to to make saris, dupattas, bedsheets, curtains, and so on. An important centre for block printing is the village of Bagru near Jaipur.

Enchanting Kutch mirror work

MYSORE: Kutchi embroidery works on display at the 'Gujarat Exhibition' in Mysore on February 19, 2007. Photo: M.A. Sriram

MYSORE: Kutchi embroidery works on display at the 'Gujarat Exhibition' in Mysore on February 19, 2007. Photo: M.A. Sriram

Generations of women in the Kutch region of Gujarat, create beautiful and intricate designs using different types of stitches and highly skilled needlework. What makes this style easily recognisable is the use of mirrors or abhla . The women traditionally teach their daughters this skill. Originally appearing in clothes, Kutch work can now be found on bags, wall hangings, cushion covers, purses, and now even in face masks.

Magnificent Madurai sungudi

DINDIGUL, TAMIL NADU, 10/07/2019: Waiting for sunshine: Dyed Sungudi saris being dried up in an open place near Chinnalapatti on July 10, 2019. Photo: G. Karthikeyan

DINDIGUL, TAMIL NADU, 10/07/2019: Waiting for sunshine: Dyed Sungudi saris being dried up in an open place near Chinnalapatti on July 10, 2019. Photo: G. Karthikeyan

From the land of the majestic Meenakshi temple and the fragrant jasmine comes a distinctive dotted fabric called the sungudi. The stories behind its inspiration are plenty — that the weavers took inspiration from the starry sky to create the dotted patterns; that they began using the tie-and-dye method after seeing women knot their hair into a bun, and so on. The Madurai Sungudi weavers hail from the Saurashtrian community who migrated from Gujarat in the 17th century.

Priceless Pipli appliqué work

The_Colourful_World_of_Pipli Chic_against_the_sun

The_Colourful_World_of_Pipli Chic_against_the_sun

The village of Pipli in Odisha is synonymous with its unique appliqué work, which is a style of sewing fabric on to fabric in different patterns. Initially used to create items associated with the daily rituals of the famous Jagannath Temple in Puri, this craft form gradually reached a wider audience. Today this technique finds its place in a wide range of products such as handbags, purses, wall hangings, bed sheets, pillow covers and so on.


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Printable version | May 29, 2022 6:44:28 am | https://www.thehindu.com/children/magical-weaves/article38317216.ece