Banarasi Brocade – Sarri The elegant traditional costume for Indian women – a common form of clothing for women across south Asia, draped around the body in different styles to form a garment. It is a seamless rectangular piece of fabric measuring between four to nine meters decorated with varying pattern, colour, design, and richness.
The elegant traditional costume for Indian women
This unstitched cloth is commonly worn tucked at waist into and over a petticoat, pleated and wrapped around the legs to make a long skirt and then thrown over the shoulder covering the upper body wearing a blouse. This style of draping sari is called nivi, originally worn in Andhra Pradesh, India. Besides nivi various other draping styles also exists in India resulting from the regional influences namely Bengali, Gujarati, Maharashtrian, Dravidian, Gond, etc.
Usage of diverse colour, motif, pattern and weave over the untailored length of a sari make it a representation of rich regional traditions. The Sari is usually divided into three parts:
- An end-piece or pallu
- A field or jamin
- Border or kinara
The end-piece is the loose end of the sari covering the bosom and thrown over the shoulder. It is usually the most exposed and hence usually the most embellished part of the sari. The field of a sari may be embellished with prints, embroidery, etc or left plain as per design may be. The borders of a sari run along the entire length giving it an extraordinary appeal.
Decoration of the sari with distinct weave, motif and fabric as a result of regional influences has given us a wide variety.
fine gold and silver brocades from India are woven in the city of Banaras (Varanasi). Fine heavy gauge silk yarns are woven intricately as warp and weft along with gold and silver threads (zari) to create elaborate brocade designs. In detail, the weft thread passes over and under the warp thread weaving the silk base of the sari where in the special gold and silver threads are transfixed in between by skipping the passage of the regular weft over a certain number of warp threads as per the design.
Beauty of Banarasi Brocade
Most Banarasi saris reflect ancient Mughal influence which is seen in the motifs used like floral and foliate motifs, a string of upright leaves called jhallar usually weaved on the inner and outer edge. Other motifs used are animals and figures with small details, scenes from village, fairs, designs inspired from architecture of temple and mosque, etc. The edge of the sari border is a characteristic of Banarasi Saris.
There are a variety of Banarasi saris available namely zari/amru brocades, tanchoi brocades, amni brocades, tissue brocades, jamavar, etc. Today Banarasi saris are available in pure silk, organza with silk and zari, georgette and shattir.