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The Passage of Banarasi: A Tale of Grandeur
A stimulating reflection of Mughal opulence and intricacy, the Banarasi weave has carved a niche for itself worldwide. Often a favourite ornament to complement the crimson flush of the bride, the Banarasi is a woven tale of fantasy and elegance. It has journeyed through time and people, draping itself around the royal highness while adoring the curves of the women of nobility. The Banarasi is bigger than heritage itself, having taken a contemporary turn to indulge you in all its aristocracy and refinement.
Banarasi Weaves: Inspiring Royalty
The Banarasi weave marries the richness of Persian motifs to the extensiveness of Indian handicrafts presenting a glorious spread, rooted in colliding traditions. Originating from Varanasi, the weave finds rich mention through historic texts and even in the Mahabharata and Buddhist scriptures. It is believed that Akbar patronised the art of saree weaving and from it came the beautiful Banarasi weave.
Gorgeous, vibrant and forever fashionable, the Banarasi weave is an integral part of weddings and other festivities. It is believed that the silk for Banarasi sarees was originally sourced from China, although now it has been replaced by silk from the southern part of India.
About the Karigars:
Banarasi weaves are renowned for its extensive details and artistic charisma. The beguiling charm of the weaves is credited to the weavers who take about 15 days to a year to prepare one saree. The advanced the intricacy of details, the more laborious it gets. Amazon has tied up with the handloom weavers and artisans to revive this lost glory. In 2009, the Banarasi weavers of Uttar Pradesh secured GI rights for the ‘Banaras Brocades and Sarees’.
The Making of Banarasi: A Vibrant Saga
Processing Yarns for Dyeing
An intricate art form, the making of Banarasi weaves is one of expertise and inheritance. At first, the yarn is processed to prepare it for dyeing. The artisan chooses from a palette of colours and mixes them accordingly. In the earlier times, the artisans used naturally processed dyes to bring out the vibrancy of the colours although now, artisans choose between natural and artificial colours, based on their preference. Once the colour is selected, the yarn is tied to prepare it for dyeing. The dyeing of the yarn follows a process similar to that of tie and dye.
Dyeing the Yarn
The yarns are dyed in different colours to get the desired combination for the weave. This process is repeated until the yarns are dyed in the required colours. The coloured yarns are then washed and left to dry.
Warp and Weft
The art of warping and weft is intrinsic to transforming the yarn into fabric. Once Tthe dyed yarns are dried, they are separated to prepare for the warp and weft processes. The weaver then takes to the spinning wheel to spin the threads into spools. Once tThe spools are prepared and , they are loaded to the fly shuttle. The threads that fill up through the fly shuttle make up the weft. Meanwhile, the warp threads are set by spreading them lengthwise to create pulls that are rolled to a beam. The beam is then set on the loom to wrap up the warping and weft processes.
To get the delicate designs, the weavers depend on the jacquard machine, a traditional device for making designs on textiles easier. The master artisan draws or prints the design on a graph paper, which is then served as a reference for punching the jacquard cards. The cards are punched following the design on the graph sheet and are then stacked and tied together.
Giving Shape to Designs
Following the cue of the jacquard cards, the threads are pulled to give shape to the striking designs of various shapes and patterns. The threads are passed through the vertically hanging threads to create the design and mark the impression on the weaves. It is believed that in olden times, real gold and silver threads were used to bring out the exuberance of the weave.
Making the Saree
The handloom is set up and the process of warp and weft create the saree while the Jacquard card helps in shaping the designs. The process continues until the artisan completes the masterpiece.
The Diversity of Banarasi Weave
The popular Banarasi weave comes in intricate designs and fabric types for varied aesthetics. Available in four fabric varieties, one can choose between pure silk (Katan), Shattir, Organza and Georgette to suit the changing moods. While the Katan is an evergreen favourite for festivities, the Shattir is a mark of contemporary aesthetics with the elegance of Persian inheritance. Richly woven with elaborate brocade patterns, the Organza induces a dash of affluent class to the weave while the Georgette keeps your regular wardrobe in vogue.
The Banarasi weave is a reflection of all things luxurious and opulent.
Each Banarasi saree is distinct and no two are alike. The Jangla variety has beautiful Jangla patterns in the form of vegetation motifs and are adorned all over the saree. One of the oldest varieties, the Jangla is especially popular during weddings. The Tanchoi variety sees a delicate play of paisley motifs woven by zari. The cutwork Banarasi saree is relatively simpler and is usually designed with floral motifs mixed with vegetation patterns. If you are looking for the kind with heavy designs, the Butidar sarees will do the trick. A beautiful interplay of silk with brocaded golden and silver zari, these come with diverse designs that are spread all over the pallu.
Size: Free Size
Material: Cotton Silk