Beginning of Costume, Growth of Dress out of painting, cutting etc…,
Study of dyed and printed textiles of India –Bhandhani, patola , ikkat, kalamkari- in all the above types and techniques used.
Study of woven textiles of India – Dacca Muslin, Banarasi/ Chanderi brocades, baluchar, himrus and amrus, Kashmir shawls, pochampalli , silk sarees of Kancheepuram
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- BEGINNING OF COSTUMES INTRODUCTION From the beginning the subject of costume has received a full share of the world’s interest and attention.
The impulse towards adornment was prominent in the primitive ancestor in his usage of paint, tattoo and human bones, which is today expressed in milady’s rouge, feathers and future.
In the distant age, man lived in caves and under rocky cliffs. He mainly wanted to secure food and preserve his life, dress did not exist. But, the impulse towards dress grew out of this early life which has dedicated to the hunt and the chase.
BODY DECORATION The beginning of the dress was in the form of body decoration. Painting, cutting and tattooing of the skin are forms of body decoration, which were the first steps towards modern dress.
The ambition to be distinguished from others stimulated the desire towards the desire towards dress.
When primitive hunters returned to his tribe stained with blood, he found that these evidences of his might (greatness) were respected and admired. Thus physical power was the only standard of worth in early age. The blood stains indicated courage and might which compelled veneration (respect) of others. So, man sought for more permanent badges of bravery. Blood marks were left upon the body as long as possible. When they were gone, the scars remained. Out of the admiring blood marks and scars on human skin, a dim sense of beauty arose.
The next source of inspiration after blood marks were coloured clays.
They were available in the plenty. The people started to apply the clay to their
at regular and measured intervals. Thus a sense of rhythm and idea of pattern
Even now, the present-day savage of Australia carries a supply of white and red and yellow ochre’s with which he touches up his face with spots of colour. On festive occasions, he paints his entire body in pattern.
The Andamanese living in Andaman Island of Indian Ocean are the lowest order of savages, and paint the entire body with a pale green when in mourning. They use white for decoration and yellow ochre mixed with fat, for facial decoration.
The American Indians when going on war cover their faces with rhythmic patches of yellow, red and blue.
The rouge and patch which were in fashion during the 18th century are refinements of age-old body painting.
After painting, another form of body decoration was discovered. It was the cutting edge.
Knife blades made of bone, horn, flint and other stones were finished with a fine point and edges. With these tools the fashion leaders used to cut or slash his skin in forms of pattern.
Cutting was followed by tattooing. Here, the skin was marked with slight incisions (cuts) and colouring material was added. This form of decoration was expressed in elaborate pattern.
The custom is event today found among South Sea Islanders, the Burmese, the Chinese and Japanese. Among the things found of the ancient cave ancient men used ground ochre and other colours used in painting and tattooing have been found.
STUDY OF DYES AND PRINTED TEXTILES OF INDIA
Bandhanis or choonaris are the colourful sari and odhnis dyed by tie and dye process. These are popular amongst the women of Gujarat, Kathaiwar, Rajasthan and Sindh.
Indian women are known for their love for bright colours. Also the tradition and the customs of wearing special colours on different festivals, makes it necessary for them to become familiar with the art of dyeing at home. Thus besides the expert professional dyers almost every Indian girl learns by practice a good deal of the art of dyeing and Bandhani work.
Bandhanis differ from Patola as regards the stage at which they are dyed. Like Patolas they are dyed by the tie & dye process, which, however, is done after the fabric is woven. The fabric is folded over several times until reduced to a small thick square or a rectangular piece. The piece is then damped and pressed on a block on which a design is carved. The impressed portions are picked up by the finger nails (the nails are allowed to grow especially for the purpose and are used as a sort of pincers) & are then tied up with cotton thread in a thickness sufficient to resist the dye.
It needs training and great skill to pick up all the layers at once and make it crinkle in a particular given manner. The bandhanari or the woman who does the tieing up work works swiftly and ties up all the impressed portions without cutting the thread but carries it over from one point to the next. The dyeing process is carried out in the same order as in Patolas, starting with the light colours & finishing with the dark ones. But each time, before a new shade colour is applied the tieing up process has got to be repeated.
Usually, the designs used are copies of a few traditional ones & by the practice of tieing up the same design over & over again the bandhanaris become expert to such an extent that they are able to dispense with the process of impressing the fabric with the design.
The motifs of the traditional designs used for Bandhanis represent animals, birds, flowers and dancing dolls. When elaborate designs are used the Bandhanis are known as “Gharchola”. In some of the expensive “Gharchola” gold threads are woven in to form checks or squares, and then the designs are formed in each of the squares by the tie and dyed process. The “Choonaris” are very light fabrics, and the designs for these consist of dots or pin heads irregularly spread all over the field of the cloth. Sometimes the dots are grouped together to form a design, and the design is known as “Ek bundi” (one dot), “Char bundi” (four dots) and “Sat bundi” (seven dots).
It might interest our readers to know that in some parts of Rajputana e.g. , Alwar, professional dyers existed till a couple of decades ago, who could dye even the finest muslin in two different colours, one annas four a yard. This art too is now extinct but specimens can be found in some museums.