Saturday, August 29, 2009

Bandhani Sarees

Bandhani Sarees:

Bandhej or Bandhani is the Art of royalty - The tie-dyed fabrics of Gujarat are perhaps the best produced in India. Also known as Bandhej.
Bandhni sarees are created by dyeing the cloth in such a manner that many small resist-dyed ‘spots’ produce elaborate patterns over the fabric.
The traditional bandhani saree market has shrunk however, because of the rise of low-cost silk-screened imitations and most modern bandhani sarees are made with larger designs and fewer ties than in the past.
There are varieties of bandhej saree available in two contrasting colors, with borders, end-pieces and one or more large central medallion called a pomcha or padma (lotus flower). Red and black is the most common color combination but other pairs of colors are also found. For instance, the panetar saree is a Gujarati-Hindu saree of satin weave and Gajji silk with red borders, central medallions and a white body, which may contain regularly spaced red tie-dyed spots.
Bandhni was introduced in Jamnagar when the city was founded 400 years ago. This city has now become one of the principal centers of bandhni, creating new pattern and experimenting with modern colors.
The earliest reference to bandheni is in Bana Bhatt's Harshacharita, where he describes a royal wedding, "the old matrons were skilled in many sorts of textile patterning, some of which were in the process of being tied (bandhya mana)". This material was used to make the skirts for women. Abandhoni garment was considered auspicious for the bride. One also finds the maids in the Ajanta wall paintings wearing blouses of tie and dye patterns. Another type of tie and die sari is shibori sari.
Today women and girls can be seen sitting in their homes with pieces of malmal (fine muslin), handloom or silk cloth. This cloth is first bleached and then folded into two or four layers depending on the thickness of the cloth. A rangara or designer marks the layout of the pattern on the material using wooden blocks dipped in geru, a burnt sienna color mixed with water. The craftsmen then begin to tie the cloth, which is not to be dyed. The folds of the material within the small motif are lifted and tied together. The material with the first set of ties is dyed yellow.
The raw materials required for bandhni sarees (tie & die saree) are - muslin, handloom or silk cloth, ordinary thread for tying, starch and colors for dyeing. Traditionally vegetable dyes were used but today chemical dyes are becoming very popular. The tools required are also very basic - wooden blocks for marking designs and the simple implements for dyeing.

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