The Odisha Odyssey
Lord Purusottam Jagannath and the ocean are innately interwoven in all aspects of art, religion and philosophy of Odisha. Weaving here goes back to 600 BCE, and generation after generation, the looms of Odisha weavers have clattered away to clothe gods and mortals alike. Among the various textiles, ‘Bandha Kala’ or the Odisha Ikat is an indicator of the state’s rich maritime past when seafaring traders journeyed to the islands of Indonesia, primarily Bali.
The Odishan ikat follows a distinct curvilinear style with feathery and hazy outlines. The focus on the profound symbolism and cultural moorings of the state find articulation it its ostensibly decorative styles. The traditional Lord Jagannath cultic practice permeates the weaving tradition through colours. The four primary colours of this cultic practice, white, black, yellow, red and green (which was added later) are the colours of the Lord himself and thus denote the past, present, and future. Motifs inspired by tribal culture and its association with nature, Odisha's famous temple architectural style, and the classical sculpturesque poses of Odissi dance, all find expression in the earthy patterns of Sambalpuri, Dongria, Kumbha and Pasupalli Ikat saris. With rich symbolic imageries and auspicious motifs that connect the mundane everyday world with the divine and spiritual, iconographically the textile of Odisha resonates the multiple nuanced layers of intuitiveness of the weaver and the land’s ancient and divine history.
“From the days of its maritime glory to the present times, the handloom textiles of Odisha have been a part of its many-splendoured heritage.”
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