I did not know the history of the Baluchari saris when I bought my first one at Kumaran stores in Chennai. I was at the store as always to buy my kanchivaram silk saris and the person who was showing the saris to me went to get me a certain colour that I wanted from another counter and the sales person on my left was wrapping this sari up when I saw it …. it of course caught my attention and I asked the sales person to show it to me. Ah, the colour of the silk, the Radha-Krishna motif and the thread work just made it a must buy. I have had this sari with me for nearly 12 years now and the sheen just gets better, never dull.
Some history about the Baluchari saris –
“The first Nawab of Bengal, Murshid Quli Khan patronized this rich weaving tradition and brought this craft to Baluchar village of West Bengal. His encouragements made this art earn accolades worldwide and it flourished with the name of Baluchari weaving.”
“Each sari was created with motifs based on a theme, the themes too revolved around the lives of Nawabs. A Nawab sitting on the throne and his nobles positioned at their respective places, A Nawab lying on his bed with a cup of wine, while a girl is dancing supported by the musicians are some popular scenes seen on these hand woven saris.”
“The saris woven in Baluchari tradition are characterized by elaborate motifs on border and ‘Pallu’. Traditionally, scenes from religious epics and courtly ceremonies constituted the motifs in Baluchari weaves. ”
“The native weavers of Baluchar used Jala looms; a Jala is a design reference through which many designs can be made. A Jala lasts for almost 100 years. The artisan first finalizes his design on paper, it is then passed on to fabric using Machan and threads, which becomes the master sample. A copy of master is also made on loom and kept safe by artisan, just in case if jala gets spoiled he can make a new copy from it. The saris produced were reversible, the motifs could be seen and understood on either sides.”
“With the arrival of Jaquard looms, jala system is now replaced by punched cards.”
“The use of Jacquard has reduced the weaving duration of Baluchari sari to six days, when 2 artisans work in shifts, but the sari motifs are no longer reversible.”
———— Source : Gaatha.com; Link – Baluchari Saree;
I didn’t know about the baluchari weaving when I bought my second sari at a handloom expo at Bangalore in 2008. This is another exquisite sari with dancing girls as motifs on the pallu.
I wore this sari for the first time at Udaipur, for our 2009 wedding anniversary. Here’s a pic from that trip – we went to Kumbhalgarh and a day trip to Udaipur.
These are the only Balucharis I have… I gave away a cotton Baluchari because I didn’t know it was one !! Well, ignorance is not very helpful while collecting saris :):).