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Bandhani craft

Bandhani is a type of tie-dye textile decorated by plucking the cloth with the fingernails into many tiny bindings that form a figurative design.[1] The term bandhani is derived from the Sanskrit verbal root bandh ("to bind, to tie").[2][3] Today, most Bandhani making centers are situated in Gujarat,[4] Rajasthan,[1] Sindh, Punjab region[5] and in Tamil Nadu where it is known as Sungudi. It is known as chunri in Pakistan.[6][7] Earliest evidence of Bandhani dates back to Indus Valley civilization where dyeing was done as early as 4000 B.C. The earliest example of the most pervasive type of Bandhani dots can be seen in the 6th century paintings depicting the life of Buddha found on the wall of Cave at Ajanta.[7] Bandhani is also known as Bandhej Saree, Bandhni, Piliya, and Chungidi in Tamil and regional dialects. Other tying techniques include Mothra, Ekdali and Shikari depending on the manner in which the cloth is tied. The final products are known with various names including Khombi, Ghar Chola, Patori and Chandrokhani.

Overview

Bandhani, tie dye drying in Jaipur.
Group of women wearing Bandhani Sari, ca. 1855–1862.
Group of women dressed in Bandhani Sari c. 1855–1862.

The art of Bandhani is a highly skilled process. The technique involves dyeing a fabric which is tied tightly with a thread at several points, thus producing a variety of patterns like Chandrakala, Bavan Baug, Shikari etcetera; depending on the manner in which the cloth is tied. The main colour used in Bandhana are yellow, red, blue, green and black. Each colour is traditionally tied to specific cultural meaning. Red is a symbol of marriage and is connected to rituals of married women, yellow stands for spring and is connected to both the season and childbirth, saffron is the colour of renouncer of the world and connects with warriors ready to give up their life in war or to yogis who give up worldly life, black and maroon are used for mourning. [8]

As Bandhani is a tie and dye process, dying is done by hand and hence best colours and combinations are possible in Bandhanis. There are two types of dyeing traditionally categorised according to durability of colours - pakka, in which the colours do not come off easily and Kaccha, in which the colours fade or wash off easily. Historically, Kaccha technique was the more preferred one as the colours could be refreshed again and again while pukka technique was considered to be suitable for old people. The finest and most complicated patterns, whether for men's turbans or women's drapes called odhnis, were always dyed in kachcha colours.[9] The main colours used in Bandhana are natural. [9]T H Hendley, writing in the 19th century, provided the organic sources of the colours used for Bandhani, Most of them like the red ( both pukka and kaccha), indigo were derived from flowers while yellow by mixing turmeric with buttermilk. [9]

In Gujarat, the Bandhani work has been exclusively carried out by the Khatri community of Kutchh and Saurashtra. A meter length of cloth can have thousands of tiny knots known as 'Bheendi' in the local language ('Gujarati'). These knots form a design once opened after dyeing in bright colours. Traditionally, the final products can be classified into 'khombhi', 'Ghar Chola', 'Chandrakhani', 'Shikari', 'Chowkidaar', 'Ambadaal' and other categories.

Bandhani work is also done in Rajasthan, where different colours and designs are used than the Kutch and Saurashtra regions of Gujarat. Establishments of varying sizes in the entire Kutch belt in Gujarat produce many varieties of Bandhani. This Bandhani style is called as the Kutchi Bandhani. The bold patterns of Bandhani are very similar in design, motifs, and technique in the desert belt encompassing northern Kutch in Gujarat, Western Rajasthan, and Sindh even in Pakistan.[9]

Bandhani tying is often a family trade, and the women of these families work at home to tie patterns. Pethapur, Mandavi, Bhuj, Anjar, Jetpur, Jamnagar, Rajkot, are some of the main towns in Gujarat, where Bandhani is created. The city of Bhuj in Gujarat is well known for its red Bandhani. Dyeing process of Bandhani is carried out extensively in this city, as the water of this area is known to give a particular brightness to colours, specifically reds and maroons. As with other Indian textiles, in Bandhani too different colours convey different meanings. People believe that red is an auspicious colour for brides.

History

Earliest evidence of Bandhani dates back to Indus Valley civilization suggest that dyeing was done as early as 4000 B.C. The earliest example of the most pervasive type of Bandhani dots can be seen in the 6th century paintings depicting the life of Buddha found on the wall of Cave at Ajanta.[7] This art finds its mentions in the Alexander the great time texts about the beautiful printed cottons of India. As per evidences in Historical Texts, the first Bandhani saree was worn at the time of Bana Bhatt's Harshacharita in a royal marriage.[10] It was believed that wearing a Bandhani saree can bring good future to a bride. Ajanta walls stand for the evidences of these Bandhani sarees. The dyers have experimented with the use of different elements both natural and man-made for ages. Also, there are experiments with different binding/tying techniques to create patterns on cloth immersed in containers of dye. Different types of tie and dyes have been practiced in India.

Bandhej Saree

Bandhej Saree

Bandhej saree which is also known as "Bandhani saree" is specially found in Gujarat and Rajasthan. As per the region of manufacturing the patterns of Bandhej saree may vary. Fine varieties of Bandhej are created in Pethapur, Mandvi, Bhuj, Anjar, Jamnagar, Jetpur, Porbandar, Rajkot, Udaipur, Jaipur, Ajmer, Bikaner, Churu etc. They are considere prized possessions of married women and are mostly essential part of traditional bridal trousseau. In Rajasthan and Gujarat, Bandhani fabrics are very popular with men and women but bandhani saree from a ritual necessity for married women for many ceremonies. Many Gujarati brides wear Gharchola, a type of Bandhej saree, for their weddings. Though Gharchola literally means "robe for home", in ritual parlance, it means "attire for the new home or the home of the husband" and is usually a gift to the bride form her mother-in-law. In Rajasthan, during pregnancy or childbirth, the natal home gifts the women peeley ki saree. It is a combination of yellow base with a broad red border with bandhani pattern on it.

Bandhani, one of the oldest known methods of tie-dyeing, is still widely practiced in western India today. The fabric is made by pinching very small portions of cloth and tying them by plucking the cloth with the fingernails into many tiny bindings that form a figurative design to form an intricate pattern of dots. The cloth is then placed into different dye vats to form bright and beautiful colors.

Process

Bandhani is a method of binding small knots and dyeing them in different colours to produce beautiful patterns. This tying was normally done with fingernails for making. But in some places of Rajasthan, craftsmen wear a metal ring with a pointy nail to help plucking the cloth easily.

The process of making a bandhani textile is not very difficult, but is very time-consuming. The fabric used for making Bandhani sarees and dupattas are loosely woven silk called Georgette, or cotton known as Malmal. The knots are tightly tied, and the rest of the fabric is dyed in multiple stages. This leaves the knots undyed and hence a beautiful flower-like pattern appears all over the cloth as a design.

Mulmul (fine muslin), handloom or silk cloth were the traditional choices but now chiffon, georgette and crepe are also being used as base fabrics for Bandhani. This cloth is washed to remove traces of starch, and then bleached to attain a clear base. It is then folded into two or four layers depending on the thickness of the cloth. A designer marks the layout of the pattern on the material using wooden blocks dipped in geru, a natural clay earth pigment mixed with water. The cloth is tied from the areas not to be dyed. The process requires patience, expertise and meticulousness on part of the artist. The folds of the material within the small motif have to be lifted and tied together. The material with the first set of ties is dyed yellow. The material is again tied and dyed into red or green. The artist moves from lighter to darker shades and the use of more and varied colours makes the process complicated. If the border has to be darker all the lighter parts are tied and covered with plastic foil and the edges are dyed with the required colors. Repeated tying and dyeing produces elaborate designs. The designs may run into a single motif and or a combination of large and small motif alternating in some order.

Gallery

References

  1. ^ a b G. K. Ghosh, Shukla Ghosh (1 January 2000). "3". Ikat Textiles of India. APH Publishing (published 2000). ISBN 978-8170247067. Retrieved 28 March 2017.
  2. ^ Monier-Williams Sanskrit-English Dictionary 1899. Wada, Yoshiko Iwamoto (2002). Memory on Cloth: Shibori Now. Kodansha International. p. 28. ISBN 9784770027771.
  3. ^ Gujarat State Gazetteers: Junagadh (1971)
  4. ^ King, Brenda M. (3 September 2005). Silk and Empire. Manchester University Press (published 2005). p. 59. ISBN 978-0719067013. Retrieved 19 March 2017.
  5. ^ Feliccia Yacopino (1977) Threadlines Pakistan
  6. ^ Nasreen Askari, Liz Arthur, Paisley Museum and Art Galleries Merrell Holberton, (1999) Uncut cloth [1]
  7. ^ a b c Wada, Yoshiko Iwamoto (2002). Memory on Cloth: Shibori Now. Kodansha International. p. 28. ISBN 9784770027771.
  8. ^ Gillow, John; Barnard, Nicholas (2008). Indian Textiles. Thames & Hudson. ISBN 978-0-500-51432-0.
  9. ^ a b c d Murphy, Veronica; Crill, Rosemary (1991). Tie-dyed Textiles of India: Tradition and Trade. Victoria And Albert Museum. ISBN 978-0-8478-1162-5.
  10. ^ Agrawal, VS (1959). "References to Textiles in Bana's Harshacharita". Journal of Indian Textile History. IV: 65–68 – via GlobalInCH.