Thirumalayampalayam department of costume design and fashion study material

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Baluchar, a small town near Murshidabad in West Bengal has become a noted and a highly valued name in the handloom textile history of India. The artisans of the locality produced very artistic figured silk saris known as Baluchar Butedar. In these saris the pallos were the most ornamented portions. The field of the remaining portion of the sari was decorated with small butis of some floral designs or figure designs of birds. The special feature of Butedar is that the designs used for the ornamentation shows a strong influence of Mughal art. The weaver of Baluchar “Toranj”(also called Kalka or guldasta) which is the most popular motif in weaving embroidery and printing throughout India, under its present application “the mango design” in the design of pallo, the famous ever popular “Toranj” as seen as though these are set in a frame. The border of the frame is representation of a lady smelling a flower and seated in a sort of niche. The inter spaces are filled with neatly arranged rows of Toranj lined with an outer border of flowering plant. The border design which is a simple and straight combination 0f a small Toranj and flowering plant is continued for the border of the whole sari.
The wonderful art of weaving fabrics in Baluchar is lost forever and a few extinct scattered specimens in some museums are the mementoes of the perfection it had achieved.
In Baluchar Butedar saris consisting of the buti designs are woven with a silk weft in old gold, white, red, crème, orange, yellow the ground colour usually being in a flaming red deep, purple or short with dark reds and blues. The ground colour may however occasionally be done blue but this was not very common in the past. The design of the field is generally made up in the traditional saris of butis, formal sprays both large and small set out on the sari ground like a mosaic each colourful spring like an enamelled. Jewel glittering to look at, the colour harmonies an invariably soft and subtle and reposeful, with only a muted whisper of frivolity, gaiety, glamour and romance.
The Anchala or end-piece of the Baluchar Butedar sari is traditionally highly decorated the design consisting of Kalkas, flowing plants the tree of life, animals, women conversing or in customery, poses, ladies, with flowers, men smoking the hooka or shown riding all elaborately detailed, but with the animals and the male and female figures and even the plant life, highly formal and stylized.
The Baluchar butedar saris produced in British times show the introduction of European motif. The traditional Baluchar sari is mostly five yards in length and about forty-two inches in width. The end pieces are design running the whole width of the sari and are above twenty four to thirty two inches in height. It is therefore not too much to imagine how a sari is five yards long and forty-two inches wide could take as long as six months to produce.

The muslins woven in Chanderi, a place near Gwalior (M.P.) have earned a name for themselves because of their fine quality. Chanderi saris are mostly cotton with borders and pallos woven in silk or gold threads sometimes mixed threads of silk and cotton are used for weaving. The fabrics are known as “Garbha reshmi”. The pallos of these are very artistically ornamented with gold threads while the ground of the sari is checked with butis in the centre of each check square. The borders are woven with double threads which produce an effect of two colours one on each side. The saris are woven in nine yard lengths and are very much valued by the Maharastrian ladies.

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