Lot 15

Handspun and handwoven silk, real gold thread (zari), synthetic dyes
214.75 x 46 in (546 x 117.2 cm)

This sari was woven in Kanchipuram, a famous temple town near Chennai. It produces brocaded silks of superb texture, colour and brilliance. The raw silk was brought in from Bangalore, the gold zari threads for brocading from Surat. The present lot is washed in the waters of Kanchipuram, which are said to contain properties that gave the silk its lustrous sheen.

Widely known for silk saris with solid brocaded borders, these were made on a throw-shuttle pitloom with a drawboy harness. Designs and patterns are woven with extra weft threads and worked into the body of the fabric by means of an indigenous device known as the adai (which fulfills the same function as the Jacquard). The solid coloured borders were woven with the use of a technique known as korvai, which employs three shuttles ??? one for the body of the sari and two for the border. Usually woven by two weavers rather than one, they sit at the loom, interlocking the weft threads.

Kanchipuram saris often have a pallav and borders that contrast in colour to the main field of the sari, as seen in the present lot. These saris are based on the collection of the legendary classical Bharatnatyam dancer Rukmani Devi Arundale, who also set up the important cultural institution Kalakshetra, as part of the textile revival project initiated by Kamaladevi Chattopadhyaya and assisted by Jasleen Dhamija.

Silk is considered pure and Brahmin women were traditionally supposed to wear silk not only for the act of worship, but also for preparing food for the family as the act of cooking was also considered a sacred ritual. This puja sari is woven in red and orange-yellow. The main colour is yellow, the satvic, representing withdrawal, while the red is the colour of shakti, power. Together they create the chequered pattern symbolising the sacred grid. The judicious combination of the satvic and the shakti balances these elements in our being which are needed to create an atmosphere conducive for worship. Each square carries a rudhraksh, representing Shiva, as well as a circle that represents the bija, the basis of creation.

The pallav is exquisitely woven with multiple designs and meanings that embody the Universe at large. There are the sun and the stars, and the nine planets, or nakshatras. The planets represent not just the literal ones but go beyond that to connect with cosmic energy. The Bindu symbolises the emergence of life. Also seen is the Hamsa, the sacred swan, associated with Brahma, and the lion or Yauli, associated with the goddess Durga and Shiva.

Other similar works in: this auction  |  entire site

  Lot 15 of 82  

19-20 OCTOBER 2016

$3,790 - 5,305
Rs 2,50,000 - 3,50,000



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