Saturday, November 7, 2020

Arni Silk Sarees

Arni Silk Sarees  

Historic Roots of Arini Silk Sarees

Arni is an hour away from  Kancheepuram, which  boasts  of a silk weaving culturesubdued but substantial, has the illustrious dynasty of (Kancheepuram) sarees.They carry the genes of this dynasty who lived 1200 years ago. The Saurashtrans, were said to  transform cotton into something magical. Their expertise was not restricted to weaving but to all forms of textile art – printing, dyeing, embroidery and resist dyeing. They were a god-send in a land already rich with cotton crop. Soon a royal charter named them ‘Pattavayahs’ – which meant ‘weavers ‘.They became so rich that they donated land and gold to temples.All was well for the Saurashtrans until about 1000 AD, when Mohammed Ghazni invaded these lands. Mass destruction and looting that followed forced the Saurashtran weavers to flee these cotton-rich lands in large numbers. Their flight from this land took them to other parts of the country over a period of two centuries.

The Evolving

To begin with, they settled in the interior regions of present day Maharashtra for about 100 years. Here they co-created the magnificent Paithani weave together with the local weavers. Moving on from there, they went to South India in large numbers and settled in Vijayanagar where they were patronized by the royal family. With the fall of the Vijayanagar empire (and subsequent loss of patronage) they moved in large numbers in weaver hubs like , Thanjavur and Madurai. They lent their weaving, dyeing and printing skills and propelled the art of weaving to dizzying heights. Such was the glory of handloom sarees. A large number of families also moved to other villages and settled in the neighbouring towns of Kumbakonam and Arni. Over time, these settlers lent their skill to create a distinct saree style that had its roots firmly in the above two places.

Korvai – The interlocking borders of Handloom Arni Silks

The Arni silk saree and other sarees from Tamil Nadu are the carriers of the historic Saurashtran legacy. While they have preserved their religious roots, their integration with the Tamil community is deep and complete. The Arni silk saree is a bright, colourful rich silk saree. The arani silks still maintain the multi hued quality, heavily addicted to bright colours, gold zari work and typical motifs. It also however has its own unique quality.The most unique feature of the arni silk saree, is its interlocking border – the ‘korvai’ and the contrast pallu. Arni silks are embellished with checks pattern or the ‘kottadis’. Now checks and stripes are a traditional design pattern and can be found on any arani silk saree.This adorable quality of arani silks is perhaps what makes it so endearing. What makes these two ornamental silk sarees of the south apart are that the arani pattu saree is light weight, while kanjeevaram is lustrous and heavy!Shatika has just entrusted the arni silk saree to be a part of her platter. Served delicately as the appetiser to the main course. 

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