Textile tour of India G, H, I

Textile tour of India G, H, I

After D, E, F come G, H, I - we continue our textile tour of India through @theindianheritagehut with these letters 

G for Gota Patti 

An Indian wedding is incomplete without Gota Patti embroidery outfits. 

Gota, in its true essence, implies the use of gold, silver and other metallic strips (zari) woven onto delicate and light weight fabrics such as georgette, chiffon, silk and Bandhani . Colloquially known as ‘lappe ka kaam’, (appliqué work), it comprises a series of motifs running through the fabric and further accentuated by the use of kinari, meaning border decoration.

Gota work was quite prevalent during the Mughal period and was used to adorn almost everything. The lace used for gota embroidery is believed to have its roots in Lucknow. It is also said that the craft was earlier practised by the Bisayati denomination of the Muslim community, subsequently spreading to other communities.

The process of working gota embroidery is laborious. The base of the cloth is first tied to four sides of a khaat, a wooden bed-like frame and followed by chhapaayi or the printing of the pattern onto the cloth with the help of tracing paper and a paste prepared from chalk powder and kerosene. If zari threads are to be incorporated, they are first tied around a fatelah, a wooden instrument that looks like an enlarged stick. Following this, a gota ribbon (which is traditionally woven from the likes of resham yarns) is cut into desired motifs and stitched onto the fabric with a variety of threads. Then, the fabric—and the embroidery therein—is expertly beaten with a peetan, a wooden hammer, to set the overall piece in place.

The cities of Jaipur, Bikaner, Ajmer, Udaipur and Kota are the epicenter of uniquely styled Gota work.



H for Handlooms

India produces 95% of the world’s handwoven fabric. The beauty and variety of Indian handlooms is exemplary. From Kashmir to Kanyakumari, each state has its own different handloom techniques and textile traditions. 

Archaeological evidence traces the beginning of handloom in the Indian subcontinent back to the Indus Valley Civilization. Subsequent Aryan settlers in the region also adopted and further honed techniques of weaving cotton and wool followed by embellishing these fabrics with dyes and embroidery. Spinning, weaving, dyeing and other textile related artforms gave rise to a flourishing cottage industry. Indian cotton and muslin fabrics were traded with the Roman Empire and Indian silk traded through China via the Silk Route to western countries. Indian textiles have been praised in several accounts by explorers and historians, from Megasthenes and Herodotus to Marco Polo.

The advent of the Mughal empire saw weavers getting patronage from the royalty and creation of new fabrics such as ‘Mulmul’, ‘Benarsi Brocade’, ‘Jamawar’ etc. Demand for Indian textiles grew by leaps and bounds as the world marveled at the mastery of Indian weavers. 

The arrival of the East India Company, however, sounded the death knell for the Indian textile industry.  The decline was further accelerated by the industrial revolution. 

The freedom struggle brought the Indian handloom sector back to the fore, with Mahatma Gandhi spearheading the Swadeshi cause. In no other nation has something as basic as one’s clothing or an act as simple as spinning cotton become so intertwined with a national movement. The humble charka (spinning wheel) and khadi became a dominant symbol of self-reliance, self-determination and pride.


I for Ikat

The word ‘Ikat’ is derived from Indonesian mengikat, meaning “to tie” – a reference to the distinctive technique used to create them.

Textile experts believe that the art of Ikat evolved in various places in Indonesia and other Southeast Asian countries. It is thought to have come to India long, long ago; because of its trade ties in the ancient times with China and Indonesia. In fact, the fine quality of ikat from India became so popular that at one point in history, ikat was taken as currency on the famous Silk Route in ancient times. The oldest surviving example of Ikat was an Indian Odishan style found in a Pharaoh's tomb. 

Ikat is an elaborate dying process done with silk or cotton fabrics. In this method, the yarn is tied and dyed before it is made into the fabric. A complex, skill-intensive process of marking, tying and dyeing the design into the yarn. This process may be repeated multiple times to produce elaborate, multicolored patterns. When the dyeing is finished all the bindings are removed and the yarns are woven into cloth. The weaving process then reveals the rich and intricate patterns in the resulting fabric. 

In India, Andhra Pradesh/Telangana, Gujarat, and Odisha are popular for producing the finest quality of Ikat.

Odisha Ikat scarf -Etsy

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