Weaves of India
The beauty of India textiles spans a truly vast range that goes beyond the more well-known Kanjeevaram and the Banarasi. Come, travel across the country with Lounge
The sheer diversity of Indian textiles, the oldest manufacturing industry in the country, is vast. And while some weaves are fairly well-known, there are some that are only now finding a mention in the mainstream discourse on textiles. Lounge illustrates some exquisite weaves from around the country. The ones featured here were selected with help from textile experts Pavithra Muddaya, designer and founder, Vimor Sarees; Arita Kashyap, founder of the label Doyna; and Rosaline Varsangzuali, associate professor, department of history, Hrangbana College, Mizoram.
Muddaya says: “While many of the weaving techniques and patterns may seem similar, it’s important to remember that they are a result of the weaving conditions and environment in which the weavers work. It’s why there are slight differences in every weave, because of how the weavers made the existing practices their own, depending on their own circumstances."
APATANI, ARUNACHAL PRADESH
The tribal communities in the state weave their own textiles, including the Apatani. Their eponymous cotton weave has nature-inspired geometric designs, with blue, red and yellow-ish orange being the predominant colours. The fabric is generally used to weave shawls known as jig-jiro and jilan or jackets called supuntarii.
Among Odisha’s wide variety of textiles, the Bomkai—which gets its name from the village it is woven in—stands out for its extra weft. The jala weaving tech- nique results in the Bomkai’sikat design. The initial designs are embroidered with thread on a frame and then interwoven with the ikat pattern on the loom. The textile is woven in both cotton and silk, with motifs inspired from nature.
TELIA RUMAL, TELANGANA
Literally meaning“oily handkerchief", the textile is a double ikat weave. The yarn is treated with oil and castor ash to help it retain its colour—hence the name. Each of the warp and weft yarns—which can be cotton or silk—are tied to the loom precisely before weaving. Usually, only three colours—red, white and black—are used to create geometric motifs.
This textile comes from the Lepchas, one of the three predominant tribes in Sikkim. Traditionally, it was woven with nettle yarn but is now spun from cot- ton and wool too. The cotton is used as a base to weave the wool in different geometric motifs in white, red, green and black colours. The textile is tradition- ally woven by women and is used to make women’s coats. Now accessories such as bags are also made from it.
KOORAINADU, TAMIL NADU
Famous for its check patterns, the Koorainadu sari—which originated in a Tamil Nadu village of the same name—is the go-to ensemble for Hindu Tamilian brides. The sari is woven from silk and mercerized cotton yarn. The warp and weft alternate between silk and cotton in a ratio of 2:1, which gives the textile its sheen.
KOTA DORIA, RAJASTHAN
It is so wispy and airy that it is hard to believe that the Kota Doria is woven from both silk and cotton. Its fine check pattern comes in various sizes, with each square known as khat. It’s usually made up of 14 yarns, eight of cotton and six of silk, woven in a translucent way. They can also be printed upon or embellished with zari.
One of the most difficult weaving techniques, Kashmiri kaniwork is usually seen in pashmina shawls. The intricate colour patterns seen in the flora and fauna motifs are woven separately from multiple yarn bobbins, one for each colour, using the interlocking twill tapestry technique.
One of the more utilitarian weaves, the Kunbi gets its name from one of the oldest communities in Goa. Woven from cotton, it comes in a simple check pattern, with different colour borders. What’s special about the Kunbi is the bright colour palette of red, yellow and green, all symbolic of the different stages of life.
This durable silk textile from Assam, one of the costliest silks, is woven in a jacquard technique. The lustre increases with every wash. The woven motifs, mostly geometric, differ from one tribe toanother. The fabric is usually used to make women’s garments, like the mekhela-chador and saris.
VENKATAGIRI, ANDHRA PRADESH
Ultra-fine, the Venkatagiri sari—which gets its name from the town it originated in—uses cotton and silk woven in a jamdani weave. Like the Gadwal sari, the body is of cotton and the borders of zari. The woven motifs are inspired by nature but are executed in a precise and distinctive fashion.
The cotton textile, which means “cloth", is popular among Mizo women, and is particularly popular during festivals and special occasions. While the body is usually white, the pattern is in red, green and black. The weaving technique gives the cloth a raised, ribbed effect.
FIRST PUBLISHED10.04.2020 | 07:22 PM IST