The art of weaving in Kanchipuram is a quintessential craft that has been prevailing for centuries. Kanjivaram saris are so exquisite in both the design and weave that no wedding trousseau is complete without it. There are so many art forms of weaving in India, so what is so special about the one in Kanchi? Here are 5 fun facts about this ancient craft of Kanjivaram:
Silk and Zari:
In the beginning, these weaves were predominantly made for royalty. Hence the use of pure silk and zari made of gold and silver were given a lot of importance. As the weaving community flourished and as affordability also increased, these silks sarees were made available for the general public. You would think that this would affect the quality of the sarees but it did not. What was created only for royalty today is being crafted for everyone! This makes it very special.
Strength of the Weave:
Kanjivarams have a tendency to last for years. Hence they have always been a part of heirlooms, being passed on from the mothers to daughters/daughters-in-laws. The strength of the weave is exceptional and it comes from having mastered the art of weaving over 20 generations!
Intricately woven vintage designs:
In the beginning, most of the motifs were inspired by temple architecture. But then came artists who specialized in drawing intricate designs which could be woven in sarees. Motifs such as Annapakshi, Paisley, Rudraksh etc, which were still inspired by temple architecture and Indian mythology, but these were drawn precisely and specifically for sarees. They have stood the test of time and are still designs most preferred by customers.
The weaving technique in kanchipuram has a lot of space for creativity. There are many types of kanjivaram sarees that are so unique, such as korvai (contrast), veldhari, vaira oosi, temple borders etc. Master weavers have a tendency to maximize this space to bring out different patterns and designs. While the old is still highly valued, the new is also constantly explored. Hence it is very difficult to get bored of kanjivarams!
Up until the early 90s, kanjivarams were expected to be heavy and hence they were. But the newer generation started asking for something lighter, with more contemporary motifs, soft to touch and price sensitive. The market today is flooded with kanjivarams that can cater to almost anyone's taste. That is how adaptable the technique of weaving and the weavers are.
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