KASUTI SAREES

KASUTI SAREE

The word “Kasuti” is a variation of Kasheeda, which was used for embroidery in the districts of Karnataka, Bijapur and Dhariwal. Articles like Kunchi, Cape Kulai and Kubsa are frequently made by the Karnataka women to be given as gifts at functions, festivals and other happy occasions.

HISTORY OF KASUTI SAREE

The history of Kasuti dates back to the Chalukya period.Kasuti embroidery is believed to have originated from north Karnataka which spread all over the region. THere are literary references which date back to 15th century. Kasuti developed mostly in Lingayat communityThe name Kasuti is derived from the words Kai (meaning hand) and Suti (meaning cotton), indicating an activity that is done using cotton and hands. The women courtiers in the Mysore Kingdom in the 17th century were expected to be adept in 64 arts, with Kasuti being one of them. It is also said that the Lambani clan left their traditional home of Rajasthan and settled down in Karnataka and brought the Kasuti craft along with them. Sareesembroidered with Kasuti were expected to be a part of the bridal trousseau of which one saree made of black silk with Kasuti embroidery called Chandrakali saree was of premier importance.

FABRIC USED

This embroidery is done mainly on handloom irkal saris.The motifs here range from architectural designs to a cradle and from an elephant to a squirrel. The main motifs are religious and are found to be larger near the pall”;” as they move downwards in a sari the motifs get smaller and smaller. Vertical, horizontal, and diagonal stitches are used. The motifs have to be completed as the stitching line comes back to fill in the blank spaces.

DIFFERENT STITCHES OF KASUTI EMBROIDERY

Kasuti employs the counted thread method and has 4 types of stitches

  • Gavanti / Ganti, (meaning knot), a double running stitch worked in a straight line, i.e. vertically, horizontally or diagonally.
  • Muragi, a zigzag, running stitch ladder-likein appearance. It is used to create small geometrical motifs and for floral or architectural designs.
  • Neygi, (derived form the Kannada word for weave), darning stitch. Long and short straight lines are used for a woven effect.
  • Menthi, (meaning both fenugreek seed and forked stitch), used mainly to fill in the motifs. This is the cross-stitch.

PROCESSOF IMPLEMENTING KASUTI EMBRODERY ON FABRIC

  • Graph to yarn-countable cloth
  • Graph to fabric following the traditional voile net process
  • Graph to butter paper and then to fabric

DESIGN PLACEMENT

Design placement is very important process to learn for quality product because through this process one can develop one’s visualization power. Design placement is done before starting Kasuti work on any product. This is because one has to be clear about the placement of design on the product and work accordingly, which makes the process easy and smooth and the final quality also best.

  • In this one has to first decide the product, then select the motifs and borders, number them and also make their graphs.
  • Then make a flat drawing on the paper of that particular product.
  • Now where one want to put the numbered designs they have to decide and put the number instead of drawing the whole motif or border.
  • Decide the colour for the designs according to the product.
  • After that decide the process which one wants to follow for implementing Kasuti on product.
  • Now start Kasuti following the chosen process.

FINAL SAMPLE MAKING PROCESS

  • Decide the product.
  • Design placement variations and selection.
  • Selecting the motif according to the design placement.
  • Making graph.
  • Making butter paper / printing.
  • If voile net technique, then process of marking the fabric with tailors’ chalk, place the voile net fabric accordingly and start the embroidery.
  • Staring Kasuti on fabric.

 

 

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BANARASI SAREE

BANARASI SAREE

Benaras or Varanasi has the pride of being the one of the most famous Handloom centers in the entire world. In fact it is among the few centers in the world that has painstakingly preserved the ancient tradition of hand weaving. In fact, in spite of persistent assault by technology, globalization and market forces Benaras stuck to handloom and didn’t switch to Power loom as some other famous centers such as Malegaon, Bhiwandi and Murshidabad did. The main products in Varanasi are Zari and brocades.

70% discount on Banarasi Silk saree

Brocades are actually textiles woven with warp & weft threads of different colors and often of different materials. The brocades are woven in silk with profuse use of metal threads in ‘Pallars’ (end pieces) and the field of the Sarees. These Sarees have been named Banarasi Sarees and are the most popular and beautiful Saree in India.

Banarasi Saree holds a unique status in the world of fashion. It is an Indian woman’s coveted possession. An Indian woman, clad in a Banarasi silk saree, complete with her solah sringar (16 makeup items), is the dream girl of every Indian man. There is hardly any woman in India whose wardrobe does not include Banarsi sarees. Benarasi Sari offers such grace to a woman that can hardly be matched by any other dress.

HISTORY OF BANARASI SAREE

The tradition of making Varanasi or Banarasi sarees in Varanasi or Banaras is very ancient. But it has continued to be passed down from one generation to another and continues to flourish. One will find thousands of weavers making the Varanasi silk saree in this scared city even today.

Several first-millennium Buddhist texts mention Benaras fabrics, giving the indication that Benaras has been the center of fine textile weaving for at least two millennia. During the past few centuries, the weavers of Benaras have been overwhelmingly Muslims belonging to the Julaha community. Some of the weavers have been able to trace their lineage back to 990 AD. The Mughal era was the time when the fame and recognition of Banarsi silk sarees of India reached its pinnacle. Even the motifs underwent a change and the saree saw new designs, resulting from the combination of Indian and Persian patterns. Today, Indian craftsman are exporting Banarsi sarees, the specialty of Benaras/Varanasi, to the remotest corners of the world. Numerous weavers, in and around the city of Benaras, are engaged in this ever-expanding industry. The silk used in the making of Indian Benarasi silk sarees is being sourced from the southern parts of the country, mainly Bangalore.

TYPES OF BANARASI SAREE

Zari and barcode are main products

There are following four basic varieties of Banarasi silk saree:

  • Pure Silk Saree (Katan)
  • Organza Saree (Kora), with Zari And Silk
  • Georgette Saree
  • Shattir Saree

BROCADE

Brocade refer to those textiles where in patterns are created in weaving by transfixing or thrusting the pattern-thread between the warp. In regular weaving the weft thread passes over and under the warp thread regularly. But when brocade designs in gold, silver silk or cotton threads are to be woven, special threads are transfixed in between by skipping the passage of the regular weft over a certain number of warp threads (depending upon the pattern) and by regularising the skipping by means of pre-arranged heddles for each type of patterning. There may be several sets of heddles so arranged that on different occasions, they raise and depress irregular number of threads in turn, as required by the exigencies of the pattern.

The Banarasi Brocade based on the design and patterning and the type of material used can be divided into following:

  • Opaque zari brocade
  • Amni brocades
  • Tanchoi brocades
  • Banaras brocades
  • Zari brocades
  • Kincab brocades

Kincab Banarasi saris can be recognized as heavy gilt brocades. They make use of at most 50% or less zari in fabric surface. As a result more zari is visible than the silk these type of saris were quite famous in the 18tgh and 19th centuries especially amongst the royal members of the societies. The designs were also called as bafta or bafthana at that time. Kincab Banarasi saris have evolved over the years with changing fashion trends 1950s- Light weight opaque silks with heavy zari borders Early 1990s- More dense, heavy silks with thin bordersOpaque Banarasi saris come with different variations which is easily identifiable through the difference in supplementary weft zari used.

Tanchoi Brocade saris found their basis in China. They border on the lines of ‘figured silk’. This type of sari features a complex weave just like the lampas. You will find heavier, dense patterns in Tanchoi saris with absence of floats or reverse.

Amni Brocade Banarasi saris are counted amongst one of the most traditional Indian saris. These saris make use of silk and not zari in their supplementary weft patterns. Normally, one can revel in the beauty of theses saris available in both thick designs (untwisted thread) and more fine, dense pattern (twisted yarns).

Zari Brocade Banarasi saris are also known as amru. The sari is made up of transparent silk muslin or organza with fine colored silk and zari. Perhaps the light prints of this sari can be owed to the use of contrasting color supplementary weft patterning. These weft designs are done up in silk, zari, synthetic fibers and sometimes even wool.

OTHER STYLES OF BANARASI SILK SAREE

BANARAS SILK JAMDANI

  • The silk Jamdani, a technical variety of brocade or the ‘figured muslin’ ,traditionally woven in Banaras may be considered to be one of the finest products to come out of the Banarasi loom. Here silk fabric is brocaded with cotton and rarely with zari threads. jamdani is woven by transfixing the pattern thread between a varying number of warp threads in proportion to the size of the designed then throwing the shuttle to pass the regular weft. By repeating this process, where in the size and placing of the cut-thread is in accordance with the character of the pattern, the Jamdani weaver produces arrange of intricate designs.
  • Some of the traditional motifs of Jamdani included Chameli (Jas mine), panna hazar (Thousand emeralds) genda buti (marigold flower)pan buti (leaf form) tircha (diagonally striped) etc. The most attractive design feature of the Jamdani sari was konia or a corner-motif having a floral mango buta.
  • It has own special character of (URTU) Binding in the figured disignes on ground fabrics using extra weft designs thread dampatch technique for the or namentation of the sharee. It is silk x silk base fabrics or-namented with extra looking and technique of weaving in karhuwan.

JANGLA SAREE

  • Brocade weavers of Banares have often endeavoured to add a sense of gaiety and festivity by brocading patterns in colourful silk threads amidst the usual gold and silver motifs ;of the brocade convention. The present sari is an example in which muga silk motifs have been in laid. Jangala wildly scrolling and spreading vegetation motif is among the eldest in Banares brocades. This old rose sari is embellished with beautifully contrasted gold-creepers and silver flowers of the Jangala motif.The borders have brocaded running creepers in muga silk and gold and silver-Zari threds.The end panel is a combination of motifs of the borders and condensed Jangala of the field. Muga silk brocading in-hances the beauty of the sari while reducing the cost. All over Jal Jangla design to get the stylish work of the sarees and also used mena work for the decoration of the fabrics. The exclusive design saree has time taking skilled work, costly fabrics are widely accepted during the wedding occassion.

JAM WAR TANCHOI SARI

  • Using a technique similar to that of brocade, weavers of Banaras weave saris using colorful extraweft silk yarn for patterning . This varietyis known as tanchoi. This maroon-coloured sari in satin weave is brocaded with elaborate motifs from the Jamawar shawl tradition from Kashmir, the characteristic feature of which was paisley motif, often elaborated into a maze which would look kateidos-copic in character. The field has a densely spread minute diaper of Jamawar style paisley. The end panel has large motifs of multiple paisley forms-one growing out of the other. The border, as well as the cross-borders of the end panel, have miniature paisley creepers. Tanchoi fabric has remarkable fame in the India as well as all over in the world widely acceptable to all kind of the people.

TISSUE SAREE

  • The renowned Zari brocade weavers of Banaras has evolved a technique of weaving tissue material which looked like golden cloth. By running Zari in weft a combination of Zari and silk in extra-weft (pattern thread) and silk in warp, the weave of this sari has densely patterned with golden lotuses floating in a glimmering pond.The ‘drops of water’ are created by cut work technique. The borders and the end panel have a diaper of diamond patterns enclosed by a border of running paisley motifs. Tissue saris are most popular as wedding saris among the affluent. Tissue sari has glazed, shining character due to the use of real gold Zari/Silver Zari in weft on silk worp ground are ornamented with the particulars traditional design such as Jangla Butidar, Shikargah menadar etc.

CUTWORK SAREE

  • This type of saree prepared by cut work technique on plain ground texture after removing of the floated thread which are not design (Woven) during the weaving process which provide good transparent look.
  • Cut work is the cheaper version of the Jamdani variety. In cut work the ;pattern is made to run from selvage to selvage letting it hang loosely between two motifs and the extra-thread is then cut manually, giving the effect of Jamdani.

BUTIDAR SAREE

  • The most striking feature of this dark blue silken saree is that it is brocaded with pattern threads of gold, silver and silk. Due to darkar shade of gold and lighter of silver this variety of patterning in brocade is conventionally known as Ganga-Jamuna, indicating the confluence of these two river whose waters are believed to be dark and light receptively. The end panel has a row of arches, in each of which a bouquet of flowers is placed. A slightly smaller and variegated bouquet is diapered all over the field.
  • The butidar saree is a rich kind of the Banaras Saree in high traditional pattern and motiff of the design locally popularised such as Angoor Bail, Gojar Bail, Luttar Bail, Khulta bail, Baluchar bail, Mehrab bail, Doller butti,Ashraffi Butti, Latiffa Butti, Reshem Butti Jhummar Butti,Jhari Butta, Kalma Butti,Patti Butti, Lichhi Butti, Latiffa Butta, Kairy Kalanga Thakka Anchal, Mehrab Anchal, Baluchar Butta with the use of real gold and silver Jari and Katan silk in the weft.

MAKING OF BANARASI SAREE

Sari weaving is kind of a cottage industry for millions of people around Varanasi. Most of the silk for the Banarasi saris comes from south India, mainly Bangalore. . An ideal Banarasi Sari comprises of somewhere around 5600 thread wires, all of them 45-inch wide. The Sari weavers weave the basic texture of the sari on the power loom.In case of weaving the warp, the craftsmen make the base, which is around 24 to 26 m long. The weaving of Banarasi sari involves teamwork. Ideally three people are engaged in making the Sari. One weaves, the other works at the revolving ring to create bundles.

At the time of bundling a new process of designing the motifs begins. For creating design boards, the first thing that is done by an artist comprises of sketching the design on a graph paper, along with color concepts. Before selecting the final design, punch cards are created. A single design of an Indian Benarasi saree requires hundreds of perforated cards for the implementation of the idea. Different threads and colors are used on the loom to knit the prepared perforated cards. The knit perforated cards are then paddled in a systematic manner. This is done to ensure that the main weaving picks up the right colors and pattern.

At this point, another important process begins. This is related to designing the motifs. For one design of Banarasi sari, one requires hundreds of perforated cards to execute the idea. The prepared perforated cards are knitted with different threads and colors on the loom and then they are paddled in a systematic manner so that the main weaving picks up the right colors and pattern. The normal Banarasi Sari takes around 15 days to one month and sometimes more time to finish. However, this is not a hard and fast rule as all depends on the complexity of designs and patterns to be produced on the sari.

Banarasi sarees are no doubt expensive due to its material, thread, design and meticulous labor involved but even then it is a must have possession for every Indian woman.

Kantha Embroidered Sarees

KANTHA EMBROIDERED SAREE

Kantha is an indigenous household craft, made the rural women in West Bengal; it is a specialty of Bolpur-Santiniketan and remains also the most creative of all embroidery styles in this part of India. The use of kantha is popular in saris but any garment or cloth with kantha embroidery (having a border of decorative running stitch motifs) may be called a kantha garment.In the best examples, the entire cloth is covered with running stitches, employing beautiful motifs of flowers, animals birds and geometrical shapes, as well as themes from everyday activities. The stitching on the cloth gives it a slight wrinkled, wavy effect.

Today, Kantha embroidery work has become the fashion label in the Indo-Western world. Lets find out the fascinating history of this unique art form that remained in mystery until it was revived.

HISTORY OF KANTHA

Kontha` or `Kantha` is a Sanskrit word, which means `rags`. It is also called as the `recycling art`. There are several legends that are associated with the origin of this art form. It is said that in the past, the precious clothes that were torn out were piled in layers and stitched by the women. Another legend relates `kantha` origin to Lord Buddha and his disciples because they used the thrown away rags to cover themselves. They used to stitch those thrown away. Kantha also means throat. The name Nilakanth is given to Lord Shiva, literally meaning, “blue throat” after he swallowed the poison that arose as a result of the churning of the ocean, It is also known as the “Throat charka”. The origin of Kantha traces its history to a period not less than a thousand years. Its images reach back to even earlier sources, pre and post- Vedic. Some symbols such as the tree of life, the swirling cosmos, and the sun are taken from the primitive art. The later influence of Hinduism, in the making of Kanthas for religious ceremonies, pujas, weddings and births, gave the art its place as a vehicle of significant cultural meaning.

The earliest mention of Bengal Kantha is found in the book, “Sri Chaitanya Charitamrita”, by Krishnadas Kaviraj which was written some five hundred years back.There the poet says, Sachi, the mother of Chaitanya, sent a homemade Kantha to her son at Puri through some pilgrims. The same Kantha still can be viewed in Gambhira, at Puri, displayed in a glass case. The second earliest reference is in Zaman’s book about the famous artist A. Tagore. Who seemed to have encountered a woman in a village in a district of Srihatta of Bangladesh, who recorded her life story in her Kantha spanning a period starting from her marriage to old age. Bengal Kantha making is a little different from other quilting artistry. The material is different as well as the stitching method.

From a very long time, Bengal cotton and silk have been known in the world market for its finesse and quality. Bengal Kantha makers reflect their traditions in choosing their designs. The real value of Kantha embroidery lies in its fine craftsmanship and vignette of daily folk life motifs being a favourite of the embroiderers.

TYPES OF KANTHA

There are seven different types of Kantha

  • Archilata kantha –Archilata kantha are small, rectangular covers for mirrors or toilet accessories with wide, colorful borders in assorted motifs.
  • Baiton kantha –Baiton Kantha are square wraps used for covering books and other valuables. They are elaborately patterned with borders of several rows of colorful designs.
  • Durjani/thalia –Durjani/thalia kantha are small rectangles with a central lotus design and embroidered borders. Three corners of the rectangle are folded inward to form a wallet.
  • Lep kantha –Lep kantha are rectangular wraps heavily padded to make warm coverlets. The entire piece would be stitched in wavy, rippled designs over which simple embroidery was executed.
  • Oaar kantha –Oaar kantha are rectangular pillow covers in simple designs with a decorative border sewn around the edges.
  • Sujani kantha –Sujani kantha are rectangular pieces of decorative cloth used as blankets or spreads on ceremonial occasions.
  • Rumal kantha –Rumal kantha are used as absorbent wipes or plate coverings. They also feature a central lotus with ornamented borders.

PROCESS OF MAKING KANTHA

Kantha is basically close running stitch filled inside a design. Kantha work involve complex artistic work done by the weavers with the blend of exquisite embroidery in ornamental running stitch. The traditional work on the Kantha saris in the form of floral motifs, animals and birds figures and geometric shapes looks amazingly fabulous.

Materials required

  • Embroidery frame
  • Embroidery thread
  • Tracing paper
  • Carbon paper
  • Needle

The working of kantha involves following steps

  • The designs are pierced on a tracing paper
  • Cut the chosen cloth such that the motifs designed on the paper will perfectly fit on the cloth.
  • The motifs pierced on the tracing paper are printed on the cloth.
  • Add colors to the motifs designed on the sheet of paper; they will be the final model of the pattern for the hat; the more beautiful combination of colors are selected.
  • Start stitching on the cloth, accordingly to the final colored model of the design.

FABRICS AND STITCHES USED IN KANTHA

Fabric on which the kantha is done are usually muted as the old fabrics are already underwent various washings. The threads used for embroidery were usually drawn from the colorful borders of the discarded saris mainly White, red, green, yellow, black and blues in colour. Cotton threads are usually used for embroidery.

The stitches used in kantha embroidery are: running, darning, satin and loop. Stem stitch is also used to outline the figures.

Running Stitch: Take two strands of thread, tie a knot at one end and start stitching. Take the needle up from below the fabric, leave some space, take it down and up again repeatedly till the outline is fully done. Start stitching inside the design in the same way until the whole design is filled.

KANJEEVARAM SILK SAREE

KANJEEVARAM SILK SAREE

Kanjeevaram silk saree is a magnificent creation of the craftsmen living in a small town, Kanchi (Kanchipuram), situated near the Bangalore city of South India. The saree has been named after the town in which it is produced. The silk used in the creation of Kanjivaram saree is extremely fine as well as durable and is one of the most popular forms of silk in the state of Tamil Nadu. The bold and bright color of the sari is very much preferred by the South Indian women, whose trousseau remains incomplete without this amazing outfit. The Kanjeevaram sari is not only the choice for weddings in South India and elsewhere but also worn at all other auspicious and religious occasions. The Kanjeevaram sari is a tradition often passed on from mother to daughter over several generations as an heirloom in much the same way they might pass on jewellery or diamonds. A Kanjeevaram sari is made to last a lifetime.

HISTORY

Kanchipuram has been weaving silk sarees for the past 150 years and specialises in a heavy silk sari woven with tightly twisted three-ply, high-denier threads using thick zari threads for supplementary – wrap and — weft patterning. Interlocked-weft borders are common. Along with silk sarees, Kanchipuram also specialises in cotton and silk-polyster blended sarees with the demand of the current market.

Many of today’s established Kanchipuram Silk weavers trained in the cultural centre of “Kalakshetra” during the 1970’s producing sarees with designs that are some what ‘heavy’ in both style and fabric weight, with very wide bordes. Traditional motifs such as, mango, elephant, peacock, diamond, lotus, pot, creeper, flower, parrot, hen, and depiction of stories from mythology are very common in Kanchipuram sarees. Cotton sarees are ornamented with threads and some silk sarees are also woven with thread instead of pure zari.

FABRIC IN KANJEEVARAM SAREE

The Kanjeevaram sari is made of a heavy silk called Kanjivaram silk, so durable that it can be washed in water at home. It is one of the most finest and most popular forms of silk in Tamilnadu. Kanjee silk is thicker than almost all other silks, and is therefore more expensive. The heavier the silk, the better the quality. While there are light weight Kanjee sarees made from Korean and Chinese silk, only mulberry silk produced in Karnataka and few parts of Tamil Nadu, is right silk for the classic Kanjeevaram sari.

DESIGN

Kanjeevaram silk sarees are always of bold and bright colour contrasts, favoured by almost every Indian woman. Some common designs woven on the saree are as follows:

  • Peacock and parrot are the most common motifs.
  • Major attractions are the also beautiful tribal designs.
  • Now focus is also on contemporary patterns.
  • These are sarees of vivid colour contrasts with traditional patterns derived from the Pallava temples, palaces and paintings.
  • You will also find scenes from the Ramayana and the Mahabharata and Bhagwad Gita being incorporated into these works of art.
  • A decorative saree contains Zari interwoven with the silk; the ‘zari’ work in the border and the Pallu are generally woven in gold-dipped silver threads. The more the Zari the more expensive you can expect the sari to be.
  • The sarees can also be a plain silk saree.
  • There can also be little gold motifs scattered all over its body.
  • There are also sarees with gold squares or stripes.

EXTRACTION OF SILK

Kanchipuram silk is hand woven from mulberry silk thread, generated by the silkworms, feeding on mulberry leaves. In fact, the skilled artisans of Kanchipuram town, who are engaged in sericulture, rear the silkworms in cane baskets, filled with plenty of mulberry leaves as the food-provision. Daily fresh mulberry leaves are fetched from the nearby mulberry plantation. These leaves are pieced into bits, and distributed evenly inside the basket. Gradually, with time, after many weeks, the worms start maturing. At this stage they are re-installed inside circular, baskets, with inner compartmental sections. Here the worms start ejecting thread-like secretion, which construct around themselves a semi-transparent cocoon. And from this cocoon, silk-thread is derived. It is this numerous strands of silk tread, which consist of the silk fabric of Kanchipuram. The smooth, glazy and supple quality of the fabric, contribute to the dazzling aura, associated with the saree.

PROCESS

The creation of a Kanjeevaram sari is no easy task. The process begins with the the silk thread being twisted, then dyed and dried in the sun after which it is ready for the weaver’s loom. The weaver creates the border, body and pallu separately and then interlocks them together in an impossible to detach joint. A weaver takes about 10-12 days to weave a simple Kanjeevaram sari while decorative ones could take up to 20 days. his sari is made in parts; the body, border and the pallu are made separately, and then they are interlocked together. The motifs used on these saris are mostly figures of animals and birds like peacocks, deer, elephants, swans etc. Scenes from great Indian Epics like Mahabharata and Ramayana, and even The Bhagwad Gita are also woven to make special pieces.Now days, sarees are increasingly woven on mechanical looms and made of artificial fibers such as nylon or rayon and many other fabrics which do not require starching or ironing.

Baluchari Sarees

Baluchari Sarees

The most well-known Bengal Silk sari, which carry its legendary name, is the Baluchari sari – a product of exquisite design and fabulous weaving technique. Produced in the town of Baluchar in Murshidabad district of West Bengal, Baluchari sarees are nation and world wide popular because of their artistic and unique design. ‘Baluchari’ is one of the most popular weaving techniques of Bengal. Baluchari saree is inspired from the Jamdani Sarees of Dhaka in Bangladesh. Although, one can find these sarees in other parts of India, but Bengal in East India remains its largest maker. Murshidabad in west Bengal serves as the epicenter of the Baluchari sarees all over India.

HISTORY

In the history of textile in Bengal, Baluchari came much after Maslin. Two hundred years ago Baluchari was used to be practised in a small village called Baluchar in Murshidabad district, from where it got the name Baluchari. In the eighteenth century, Murshidkuli Khan, Nawab of Bengal patronized its rich weaving tradition and Baluchari flourished from that time onwards. But this flourishing trend later declined, specially during British rule, due to political and financial reasons and it became a dying craft as most of the weavers were compelled to give up the profession.

Later in the first half of twentieth century, Subho Thakur, a famous artist, felt the need of recultivating the rich tradition of Baluchari craft. Though Bishnupur was always famous for its silk, he invited Akshay Kumar Das, a master weaver of Bishnupur to his center to learn the technique of jacquard weaving. Sri Das then went back to Bishnupur and worked hard to weave Baluchari on their looms.

Once Bishnupur was the capital of Malla dynasty and different kinds of crafts flourished during their period under the patronage of Malla kings. Temples made of terracotta bricks were one achievement of these rulers. A major influence of these temples can be seen in Baluchari sarees. Mythological stories taken from the walls of temples and woven on Baluchari sarees, is a common feature in Bishnupur.

The history of the Baluchari goes back centuries. During the rule of the Mughals, Baluchari was in high demand. It was mostly reserved for the elite class due to its high quality. Only royal families and members of the royal court used to wear Baluchari.

At the time of the British, Bengal silk was very popular, mostly because it was high in quality and cheap. The silk industry of Bengal was flourishing at that time and giving employment to many silk weavers. In the 18th century, it was Nawab Murshid Kuli Khan of Bengal who patronized the weaving tradition of Bengal. It came into fashion some 200 years ago and has since then became a favorite of Indian women all over India.

CHARACTERISTICS

Baluchari is usually five yards in length. These sarees have colors, which harmonize with one another. You will not find any contrasting colors in it. Even if the sari is red, you will find intricate golden work on it, which will give it an elegant and royal look.

Mostly nature designs like flowers, shrubs etc. are woven into the silk base of these sarees. Narrative designs such as people on horses, musicians playing, men and women in various poses are also popular Baluchari designs.

Baluchari sarees are rich and sophisticated. They can be worn by young girls, middle-aged women as well as elder women; such is the beauty of the Baluchari.

It takes a lot of time and hard labor to weave a Baluchari. Firstly, the silk worms are reared. When they turn into cocoons, the silk thread is extracted from the cocoon. Then the silk threads are processed and dyed in various colors. Then patterns are woven onto the silk, using various threads. Now when you see a Baluchari in a shop, you will know how much time and labor goes into making a single piece.

FABRIC IN BALUCHARI SAREE

Silk weaving of Baluchar continues to be an important landmark of Bengal’s handloom tradition. Baluchari sarees are woven in Bengal silks which are much acclaimed in the world over, since ancient times. Like silk, cotton baluchari sarees are also woven in a fascinating and exquisite range. The cloth is very fine and transparent with a soft drape. These are created on draw looms, which contains a complicated mechanism for weaving multi-warp and multi-weft figured textiles.

DESIGN AND COLOURS

Baluchar Sarees are similar in appearance and in weaving techniques to many Banaras Brocades although they never contain Zari threads, only silk. They have intricate supplementary weft or warp borders and end pieces created in untwisted silk threads of colors that contrast with the ground, with elaborate floral borders. The figures are commonly involved in such activities as smoking a hooka, riding a train, or smelling a flower, and are often dressed in Mughal style or European cloths, the grounds of these saris are generally dark with purple, dark brown and red being common, while the wide range of colors found in the supplementary threads are always light, such as white, yellow orange of pink

The various designs depicting narrative folktales in the pallu of the sarees are as:

  • A woman riding a horse holding a rose in one hand with her plait flying behind her.
  • Pleasure boat, with two lovebirds on top.
  • Traditional muslim court scenes.
  • Women smoking hookah.
  • Puranic tales or legends of Ramayana and Mahabharata are also depicted on the classic baluchari sarees etc.

METHOD OF PRODUCTION

The production process of Baluchari can be divided into several parts:-

  • Cultivation of cocoons: –Since the discovery so many years ago that the fibre or filament composing the cocoon of the silkworm can be constructed into a beautiful and durable fabric, silkworms have been bred for the sole purpose of producing raw silk.
  • Processing of yarns:-To make the yarn soft, it is boiled in a solution of soda and soap and then dyed in acid colour, according to the requirement of the saree. The yarn is stretched from both the sides in opposite directions putting some force with both palms. This process is needed to make the yarn crisper.
  • Motif making:-Making of the motifs for ‘pallavs’ and other part of Baluchari is in itself an intricate process. The design is drawn on a graph paper, it is coloured and punching is done using cards. After punching, these cards are sewed in order and fixed in the jacquard machine.
  • Weaving:-After jacquard loom has been introduced, weaving of a Baluchari saree takes five to six days to get completed. Two weavers work on it on shifting basis.

Baluchari thus prepared becomes the sign of aristocracy, the attire of status. Maintenance of quality of Baluchari saree is taken care of precisely. The quality is checked from the stage of dying of the yarn to the packaging of the saree.

Japanese Marriage Tradition

Japanese Marriage Tradition

 

Japanese Marriage presents a mixed blend of various customs. In Japan, marriage is an occasion for gathering, fun and frolic. It is practiced with the rituals which represent it as a sacred union of two souls. Once girls and boys are of the age to marry, a search for the suitable match is set. In ancient Japanese myth, all things were created by the marriage of the male and female gods, ‘Izanagi’ and ‘Izanami’, who were basically Japan’s Adam and Eve. According to legend, these two gods came down to primeval earth from the heavens on a rainbow bridge. Out of their union came the islands of Japan, the sun, the moon, the mountains, the trees and the wind.

The Engagement
The engagement is sealed by a ceremony called the ‘yunio’. The highlight of this ceremony is the giving of symbolic gifts wrapped in ornate rice paper. The gifts include: dried cuttlefish, for its phallic shape; kelp or ‘konbu’ because it looks like the character that can be written to mean “child-bearing woman”; a long, linen thread to symbolize the gray hair of old age; and a folded fan which spreads out to show future wealth and growth in numbers.

The Wedding Outfits

The all-white silk wedding kimono dates back to the ‘Edo’ era (1700-1900) and the traditions of the brides of the samurai. White symbolizes both a new beginning and an end, because the bride “dies” as her father’s daughter and is reborn a member of her husband’s family. The bride traditionally wears her hair up, fastened by tortoise-shell combs. A white cloth and veil cover her head, and her face is painted creamy white. The bride changes several times, once to an ornate gold, silver and red robe embroidered with symbols on it such as cranes and flowers, and again to a deep-colored, highly patterned kimono usually reserved for young, unmarried women. This is the last time she will be able to wear this kimono. Irises are a beautiful choice for the Japanese American bride; the color purple is the color of love in Japan and was used at m,any an ancient wedding. The groom wears a black silk kimono with his family crest on it in white, in five different places. Under this kimono is a striped, pleated skirt, or hakama. The man would carry a white folded fan and wore white sandals. Many Japanese Americans still treasure kimonos handed down through the generations. Renting an outfit is quite expensive: One New York store charges upwards of INR 75000 which includes the services of a professional to dress you.

The Ceremony

The traditional Shinto ceremony honors the ‘kami’, the spirits inherent in the natural world. After a purification ceremony using a special branch called the ‘harai-gushi’, the priest calls to the gods to bless the couple. The ceremony ends with a ritual sharing of sake from three flat cups stacked on top of one another. Popularly called ‘san-san-kudo’, this ritual can be performed any number of ways, depending on the family’s customs. The groom may lead, taking three sips from the first cup, followed by the bride, who also takes three sips from the first cup. Then they move on to the second and third cups. The sake is then offered to the couple’s families. In the U.S., Japanese Americans seeking a traditional ceremony turn to the country’s Buddhist traditions. One highlight of the ceremony is the rosary, or ‘o juju’, which has 21 beads of two different colors. Eighteen beads represent the couple, two represent each family, and one represents the Buddha. Joined on one string, the beads symbolize the joining of the families. The san-san-kudo, more cultural than religious, is also performed at the Buddhist ceremony.

The Food

Each dish in the Japanese wedding banquet is a symbolic wish–for happiness, prosperity, long life or many children. For example, ‘konbu’ is served because the word sounds like the last half of the word for joy, yorokobu. Fish can be served with the tail and head forced up from the plate forming a circle, the symbol of eternity. Clams are served with both shells together, the two halves symbolizing the couple. Lobster is often served for its deep red color, the color of luck. The number of courses never equals a multiple of four, since the word for four, ‘shi’, sounds like the word for death. For dessert, a Japanese bride might choose to serve ‘komochi manjyu’, which is made of gummy, sweetened rice with fillings inside.

 

Assyrian Wedding Tradition

Assyrian rituals consist of many different types of elements that have shaped today’s modern rituals for the past 3,000 years. An Assyrian Wedding traditionally lasted a week and consisted of different rituals for each day. Today, weddings in the Assyrian homeland usually last for 2 to 3 days while Assyrian weddings in the diaspora go for 1 or 2 days.
The Blanket Ritual

A week before the Marriage all the women of theneighbourhood and the women in the family go to house of the bride and make her a very big honeymoon blanket. Everybody had to make sure they sewed a bit of that blanket. So the needle would be passed from one woman to the other and this way all the women sewed a bit. The younger women would dance around it and the older women would sing and do the dabke. During the party food and sweets are served, and the party ends when the blanket was done. This ritual is mostly observed by Assyrians in Syria.

The Washing of the Groom

Also referred to as khyapta d’khitna or zyapta d’khitna. Before the wedding all the men in the neighbourhood and the men who are related to the groom go to his house and they cut his hair and shave his face. The groom’s male relatives give a him a good scrubbing from head to toe, cleaning him of evilness. A young boy is usually bathed first, typically by his mother or aunts, then the groom takes a shower or bath afterwards.

m’pulatad’chalo

A tradition symbolic of the bride leaving the home of her parents. Usually the bride is in her home taking pictures with family and the groom’s family visits to take her out of the home and to the church. While in the house, the women sing tradition lilyaneh and dola and zurna is played as they dance. Before the bride leaves the house, the groom’s family makes an offering, usually cash, to the bride’s family and upon acceptance, they head to the church.

Burakha

Is the wedding tradition where the bride and groom are blessed by a priest in a church. The burakha traditionally
lasted about four hours, but more recently the event goes for about one hour. Pins in the shape of two crosses are usually placed on the groom’s back. There are some details during the ceremony that differ from village to village. The Assyrians of the village of Baz are known to have someone poke the groom with a needle to ward off any evil spirits while Assyrian from the village of Tyari make noise with the cutting motion of scissors to ward off evil spirits.
At the end of the burakha as the bride and groom are coming out of the church, dola and zorna is played while rice, candies, and coins are thrown at the bride and groom and people take part in traditional Assyrian dances.

Henna

Henna is mud-like material that is prepared on the day before the wedding. On the wedding night, in the old days all the ladies would gather at the house of the bride (but nowadays it’s mixed, also male relatives and family friends are invited.) A bowl is filled with henna. Henna is celebrated differently throughout the Assyrian community. In some areas, whoever holds the bowl with the henna will dance with it around the others. The groom and bride put in the bowl their little finger and their little finger will be wrapped and connected to each other by a ribbon. In other areas, everyone is given a turn to wrap their finger with henna, and after everyone, the person that is getting henna on their hand starts the chant of praise for the future couple, as everyone else follows along.

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