Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Designer Madurai Saree in Cotton Tie n Dye Print Bandani Sari

Designer Madurai Saree in Cotton Tie n Dye Print Bandani Sari
Today, Madurai is best known for its inexpensive, hard-wearing, medium-weight cotton sarees that are printed and/or resist dyed. These sarees are popular throughout southern India among both the rural and urban poor (8-meter) and the urban middle classes (5-meter), and are becoming increasingly common in the north as the range of designs and colours is expanding to suit north Indian tastes. These are not luxury saris. They are made of a tough opaque cloth that washes well, and usually contains narrow supplementary-warp bands of low- to high-quality zari woven in the border with an adyar end piece. After weaving, the sari is dyed one shade for the field and a contrasting color for the border and end piece, the latter being added through either silk-screening or by resist dip-dyeing (placing the cloth between two long wooden blocks). Various methods are used to embellish the cloth further, such as block-printing or silk-screen printing simple repetitive geometric patterns in the border or, more commonly, the field, with either resist pastes or a coloured dye. Until recently, most Madurai resist prints mimicked the nineteenth-century bandhani saris made for the region's expatriate Saurashtran community. They are known by a variety of names, such as sungudi, chungudi and junnadi (all based on the north Indian chunari) after the evenly distributed spots covering the field.

Designer Tie Dye Bandhini Saree
The nineteenth-century sungudis (no longer made) has simple geometric patterns in different colours (usually red and black). At the opposite end of the social scale are Kalamkari resist-dyed until the end of the nineteenth century. Often known as Kodalikarupur or Karupur saris, after the village of manufacture, they consisted of a fine cotton muslin in which discontinuous supplementary zari patterns were woven in the jamdani technique. The muslins were then resist-painted by hand and dyed in various natural colours, giving a rich but somber variety of red tones to the fabric. In many ways the designs are reminiscent of the hand-drawn nineteenth-century Gujarati saudagiri prints made for the Thai marker. In the early and mid-nineteenth century, "fine cotton chintzes" (Kalamkari saris) were also made in Madurai and Kalahat (north Arcot) as well as Machilipatnam.
Kalamkari Saree

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