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There is no doubt that nothing does justice to Indian women like a sari does and if there is one sari that should make entry into our wardrobes, it has to be Baluchari. This seven yards of elegance, when draped majestically around a woman not just enhances her robust persona but also brings her a step closer to the rich heritage heirloom of the country.
Born in the Baluchar village of Bengal and patronized by the Nawab of Bengal, Murshid Quli Khan, Baluchari rose to luminous prominence during the 18th century. Since the process of sari making ranges from cleaning, sorting and laying warp to weaving, it was accomplished manually and so the sari production was limited to 2-3. The blight of natural calamities compelled in the shift of Baluchari weaving from the Baluchar region to Bishnupur. However, the shift in base led to the decline in its former glory.
In 1956 the diligent endeavours of artist Subho Thakur to revive the endangered tradition of Baluchari weaving proved to be beneficial for this craftsmanship. He was the one who pioneered the jacquard technique of weaving that minimized labour and time to weave a sari. The original Baluchari sari was woven on the traditional jala looms. Jala connotes to the ‘reference design’ which is first produced and is later used as a master design template for replicating on other saris.
What makes Baluchari stand apart from its counterparts is the elaborate and intricate tapestry of the pallu and border that would ignite the fire in any art maven! Under the reign of Nawab, the motifs were replete with images and scenes from the lives of Nawabs. The motifs are woven in golden thread or dual colour threads and include sculptures from temples or monuments. A Persian influence can be witnessed in the designs in the form of Persian miniatures. In the year 1957, Sri Das introduced the incorporation of motifs from the Ajanta Ellora caves into the weaving tradition.
This ancient weave can be classified on the basis of the kind of threads used:
- Baluchari (Resham)- Single or more colour threads are used for weaving.
- Baluchari (Meenakari)- Along with the threads, meenakari is incorporated that leaves a dazzling effect.
- Swarnnachori (Baluchari in gold)- Golden thread is used in the production of Swarnachori.
The West Bengal Handicrafts Development Corporation Ltd (Manjusha) came up with an innovative measure to preserve the rich tradition of of this weave. Manjusha have come up with a range of products etched out of Baluchari to cater the changing demands. The items include ties, jackets for men and women, wooden jewellery that resembles motifs on the warp and weft, as well as on shirts and kurtas.
At the Lakme Fashion Week Winter-Festive 2016, Sumona Parekh generously used this decadent craftsmanship on her clothes rendering it a modern interpretation in the form of layered long kurta, bandhgala and sassy ethnic fusion coordinates on a colour canvas of cream, black, gold and red! Sophie Choudhury was the showstopper. Kudos to the designer for showcasing the splendour of Baluchari!
So my lovelies get your own Baluchari saree and spell your magic! Stay in style and don’t forget to wear your smile.
Picture source: https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com, http://blogimages.indianroots.com
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