We continue our textile tour of India through @theindianheritagehut with S, T, U
S for Sujani
Whenever one goes through different craft forms of different states in our country, there is a common theme found in its origin i.e. recycle , reuse and minimum wastage. Sujani is also born out of a need to recycle old clothes and give them a new lease of life.
Sujani is said to have originated around the 1920s from the Bhusura village of Bihar in India and was only practiced by the Rajput women. The word “Sujani” is derived from the words ‘su’ which means facilitating and ‘jani’ meaning birth. Quilts for new-born babies were made by stitching together colourful patches of old clothes and then Sujani embroidery was done with colourful threads to create motifs and designs.
It is also believed that Bihar had a ritual named “Chitiriya Maa”(Lady of the Tatters). It was said that the natural things were the blessings of the goddess. And each colour has a thematic significance, eg red indicates vitality, yellow symbolizes the sun etc.
The craftsmen of Sujani Work are experts that make the textile industry of the state unique. The chain-stitch embroidery prospered in Monghyr District of Bihar. This embroidery work is simple in its style and appearance. It involves tracing simple running stitches with short gaps under which designs like an animal, floral and bird motifs on both cotton and silk cloths. The local people are fond of creating beautiful embroidery of gods and goddesses and hang them on walls. The fabric used for Sujani Embroidery is a cloth made up of fine muslin. The colour of the base cloth is white or red. The outlines of the main motifs are highlighted with thick chain stitch. The inner spaces of the motifs are filled with threads of vibrant colours. Other motifs are filled with red colour or the colour of the base fabric.
Due to its uniqueness, Sujani art was awarded the UNESCO Seal of Excellence 2019, which is also called the Seal Award.
Text & Image credit – patnabeats.com
T for Toda Embroidery
Toda embroidery is an elegant art form practised by the Todas, a tribal community residing amidst the rumbling hills of Nilgiri. Todas lead their lives as an intimate, close-knit community.
The embroidery is conventionally performed on a thick, rugged white cloth, with black and red woollen threads. It is believed that black thread represents the goings-on of the netherworld, the red colour indicates the essence of the earth and the white signifies heavenly elements. The motifs used in the embroidery are inspired from nature such as local flowers, animals, farming nuances etc. Sometimes folklore and religious songs, too, find a place in a traditionally stitched Toda shawl. The motifs are so delicate that to the untrained eye, it may seem like they are merging into the cloth as if they were an entire weave by themselves. The thread count is key for the embroidery to yield clean, impeccable, and detailed geometric motifs. The whole process is carried out by a darning stitch needle. Colloquially known as ‘pukhoor’, the embroidery is usually worked by women of the tribe.
In recent times, Toda embroidery finds itself incorporated in day to day lifestyle in the form of table cloths, cushions, mats, bedspreads, shawls, tunics, dupattas, skirts, bags and sometimes in Christmas decorations.
The Toda embroidery achieved its rightful Geographical Indication (GI) status in 2012.
Image credit: DesiKarigars
Info credit – Isha foundation
U for Unparalleled beauty of Banarasi
Let me be honest with you that I was unable to find a textile craft starting with U. But at the same time I had a nagging feeling of incompleteness for this ABC series without covering the legendary banarasi weaves. So here it is to ‘Indian Sun’ of the Fashion industry – Banarasi.
Banarasi Silk is a fine Silk originating from the city of Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh. The timeless Jataka Tales and Pali texts support the evidence of a bustling cloth trade on the banks of the holy Ganga, in Kashi. Banaras has always been an important centre for weaving since ancient times. With a mention in the Mahabharata and in the Buddhist scriptures in the first millennium, Banarasi silk has its roots seeped into the rich cultural history of India. But it was Mughal Emperor Akbar who promoted and glorified this art and craft of weaving and designing. He not only used it for clothing but also had his palace draped in it – carpets and wall hangings made from Banarasi silk. Later, even the British were enamored by the charms of it.
Banarasi sari was originally created only for the royalty from real gold and silver threads, taking as much as a year to make. The important characteristics of these sarees are heavy working of gold, small detailed figures, metal visual effects, compact weaving and Mughal inspired motifs such as flowers, foliage, a string of upright leaves (Jhallar) etc .
These sarees can be divided into 6 main categories as below:
• Jamdani – Silk fabrics will be brocaded with the cotton.
• Jangla Sarees – Wildly spreading as well as scrolling designs with colorful silk threads to show the nature and heaviness of festivity.
• Tanchoi Sarees – Colorful extra-weft silk yarn to form the outline and the designs are formed as a kaleidoscopic maze
• Tissue Sarees- Its a combination of Zari and silk and zari brocade looks like golden cloths.
• Cutwork Sarees – Use of cutwork technique on the plain texture which gives dazzling and glowing transparent looks.
• Butidar Sarees – The dark blue silken saris, brocaded with threads of silk, silver and gold in a distinctive manner. Due to the darkness of shade of gold and lightness of shades of silver, it has been called Ganga and Jamuna as well.
Info credit – Utsavpedia