Patola silk is often termed as the queen of all silks. The Patola saree produced in Patan, North Gujarat, is another type of saree that is well known. These sarees are handwoven and involve traditional patterns such as leaves, flowers, parrots and dancing girls. Patolas are generally produced in the red color with white, dark green and yellow patterns. Patola sarees are also considered to be wedding sarees. Simple traditional looms are used for weaving and natural dyes made from vegetable extracts and other natural colors are made use of. These colors are fast and do not fade easily. In fact, there is a Gujarati saying “The Patola will tear, but the color will not fade”.
HISTORY OF PATOLA SAREE
Historical evidences show that Patola sarees have existed since at the thirteenth century and have always had upper-class and ritualistic associations. The walls of some south Indian temples, such as at Mattancheri (Kerala) and Padmanabhapuram (southern Tamil Nadu) exhibit eighteenth-century depictions of Patola designs. Gujarat is believed to have exported Patola sarees to South-East Asia since the fourteenth century. Traditionally crafted by the Hindu Salvi caste and traded to South-East Asia by the Muslim Vohra community, these expensive, high-status sarees were worn by the Vohras and wealthy Jains and Hindus (Brahmins and Bhatia traders) in weddings and other auspicious events.
Slowly the Patola Sarees became a status symbol among Gujarati girls and graduated as an indispensable part of the women closet.
The patola saree is one of the best hand-woven sarees created today. Patola silk sarees are the pride of Gujarat. These sarees are fashioned by using the resist dying technique. There are two types of Patola sarees:
- Rajkot Patola: This is only vertically resist dyed (single ikat).
- Patan Patola: This is horizontally-resist dyed (double ikat).
- DESIGN AND COLOUR
Patola saree is woven from silk known as the patola silk. The patola silks are still made by a handful of master weavers from Patan and Surat known for their zari work.
The colors used in this process are dyes made from vegetable extracts and other natural colors. These colors are so fast that there is a popular Gujarati saying about the Patola sarees that “the Patola may tear, but the color will not fade”. The average time taken in creating a Patola marvel is usually 4 to 6 months, depending on the complexity of the pattern and design. These affluent sarees are thus, priced accordingly. The specialty of Patan patola is fine intricate patterns and typical geometric designs, with soft hazy outlines. This is the natural effect produced by the technique.
The designs of this saree principally fall into three types that comprise purely geometric forms, reminiscent of Islamic architectural embellishments and ajrak (complex geometric print designs of the Sind), such as the navaratna bhat (nine jewels design). Other designs that are included in the Patola sarees are the floral and vegetal patterns. These gratified the needs of the Muslim market which spurned depictions of animals and people, such as the Vohra bhat (Vohra community design), paan bhat (paan leaf or peepal tree leaf design), and chhaabdi bhat (floral basket design). The Patola sarees are also designed with patterns that portray forms as the nari (dancing woman), kiinjar (elephant) and popat (parrot). Among the Vohra Muslims, a version of Patola sarees is used as their marriage sarees.
A Patola Saree takes 4 to 6 months to make, depending on how complex the design is. The Patan patola is done in the Double ikat style, which is possibly the most intricate textile design in the world. Every fabric consists of a sequence of warp threads and a lone weft thread, which binds the warp threads collectively. Each one of the warp threads is tied and dyed according to the pattern of the saree, such that the knotted sections of the thread do not catch the colours. The result is that both sides of the saree look precisely similar as if it is printed on both sides with identical designs, and can be worn both ways.
Patola Sarees are the most time-consuming and intricate sarees produced in the western region. These sarees may have elaborate five-colour designs, resist-dyed into both warp and weft threads before weaving, ensuing in an entirely reversible fabric. The sarees are produced with great meticulousness and excellence by the artisans of the western region. Patola saree is a gorgeous saree which you can where for any formal occasion. Moreover, the Patola sarees are expansively used in each region for the diversity and the designs they manifest. As the custom exemplifies, the sarees have accomplished a grand position in the list of Indian Traditional Sarees, indeed becoming the pride of Gujarat.