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The Attire Of Elegance Sari Continued….. Tanta,Baluchari & Kantha Sarees from the Looms of West Bengal.

Friday, July 3, 2009

This is in continuation of my earlier post 'The Attire Of Elegance Sari'

Formerly “Calcutta”, Kolkata is acknowledged as the cultural capital of India and its friendliest metropolis. It is also home to India's heaviest concentration of political activists, poets and artists. Nestling in rural Bengal, amidst lush green paddy fields, punctuated by picturesque pukurs (ponds) are entire weaver villages engaged in creating the equivalent of poetry on fabric. Triumphing over the trauma of partition, weaver families which migrated to West Bengal in the 50’s have helped keep alive a priceless heritage of highly stylized weaving techniques honed over generations. The handloom industry in the eastern region has had its share of bumpy rides, but Bengal handlooms have survived the ups and downs to become a household name among connoisseurs of textiles.

Tanta/Taant Cotton - The Tant sarees are popular not only among the Bengali women but are liked all over India for their unique appearance and colors. The word literally means ‘Made On The Loom’, Taant is the traditional sari of Bengali women in India. Popularly known as Bengal cotton, taant is hand-woven in various districts of West Bengal. These saris come in a variety of colors with simple yet beautiful designs. Bengali handlooms are known for their transparent and crisp muslin like finish that is a joy to wear on a hot day. The lightness of the body cloth, combined with wide and silky threadwork borders and elaborate pallus with supplementary threadwork ornament give the sari it's unique evenness of drape. If you are a cotton lover then you must have these unique Taant sarees in your wardrobe.

Baluchari Sari: The Baluchari sari of Murshidabad district, West Bengal is made of silk and woven on special looms is approximately 200 years old. The borders and pallu of the sari are very striking because of its use of intricate thread work to depict stories from the Mahabharata and Ramayana. Baluchari Sari is similar in appearance to Benarsi sari but the only difference is that Baluchari sari use only silk thread, they do not use zari thread. The contrasting colors like deep red, pruple, deep blue with motifs of flowers, mythology, traditional Muslim court scenes, pleasure boat on two love birds on top are some of the designs often seen in these traditional Balcuhari sarees. The most distinctive feature of Baluchari sarees is their elaborate borders and pallu sometimes inspired by epics of Bishnupur temple.

Kantha Sari - Kantha is really the name for the embroidery itself, rather than the sari. Any garment or cloth with Kantha embroidery (which forms or outlines decorative motifs with running stitch) is a Kantha garment. Kantha is the specialty of Bolpur/Shantiniketan. The entire cloth is covered with running stitches and usually has beautiful folk motifs, floral motifs, animal and birds figures and geometrical shapes. Except for the straight Kantha stitch, it is customary to represent illustrations from well-known epics such as the Ramayana or Krishna Lila, and also legends evolving from folk-rituals of Bengal Kanthas in Bengal and as Sujanis in Bihar. This art of Kantha is practiced by rural women in West Bengal in spare time and each Kantha sari is the labour of love.

West Bengal is not untouched from the wide range of sarees from Bangladesh like Jamdani, Jamdani Khulna, Dhakai Benarosi and Rajshahi silk.


Konfucious said...

this was my 1st visit to your blog..........but i must say that the topics that you have covered are amazing and they are very Indian........
great work...

Shankar said...

hey..I dont know anything about sari's... how do you get such a lot of info on saris??

Meghana said...

Hello Shankar!,

Have seen my mom wearing these sari's from my childhood days.Now these Indian traditional sari's are a part of my wardrobe.

Also I have always been keen to know about Indian tradition so keep exploring..also now what I know sharing it with my readers :)

Juhi said...

wow...beautiful post...reading your posts about sarees makes me want to wear sarees to work :)
Taant and Kantha sarees have always been my favorites...even though I dont wear sarees a lot I love gifting these to my mom....