Art

Hand-crafted elegance

Vibrant array of Kota saris at the Kota Weaves exhibition.  

Back in Khaitoon village, near Kota in Rajasthan, Noor Mohammad and his sister Tahira stretch the delicate hand spun cotton yarn to nearly 30 metres on the ground. They then sprinkle ‘maand’ or warp paste made out of wild onion, which only grows in the region over the yarn to make it strong, soft and lustrous. The criss-cross warp threads spread over the village common by some 4,000 weaver households gives it a gossamer thin, ethereal ambience much like the Kota sari itself.

The Kota sari, which according to textile historians, was actually brought to Kota from Mysore by Mughal General Rao Kishore Singh around the 17th century. He brought weavers from Mysore and got them settled in Khaitoon, Bundi and Baran districts, where their woven saris are still called ‘Masura Mulmul’ or Kota Doria. The distinct features of the Kota weave are the ‘khats’ or square checks which are created through the differential beating of silk and cotton yarns.

The process

Noor Mohammad says, “We make our own looms of wood and iron, and get to work once the ‘maand’- brushed yarn has been dyed by professional dyers in both pigment and vegetable colours made out of local flowers, leaves, bark, root and stones. Once the piecing is done the warp yarn (silk, cotton, zari or all three) is set on the loom as per the design graph which has already been made. Warping is done through a laborious process with the silk threads making the transparent background while the thicker cotton threads form the checks.”

The designs are made by Noor Mohammad and his fellow weavers in his Self Help Group. Today enormous floral and vine patterning, amris, abstracts and polka dots are the order of the day though the pristine pastel coloured gold bordered Kota is also greatly in demand. Noor Mohammad and a 450-member strong SHG has woven more than 700 saris for the ‘Kota Weaves’ exhibition which opens in the city today, at ‘The Palace’ T23A, 7th Avenue, Besant Nagar, till May 27. For details call 98400 12523.

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Printable version | May 10, 2021 1:13:42 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/friday-review/art/handcrafted-elegance/article4720544.ece

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