Sarees of East India have a rich cultural background as the region covers the states that have rich traditional and cultural history. Although east India was ruled by Muslims since the late 12th century, sarees always dominated women’s clothing and they were woven with intricate designs. But the aesthetic value of traditional sarees lingers on among urban women of eastern Indian origin, as many regard white silk or fine white muslin sarees with ornately figured or inlaid borders as good, conservative attire for special occasions.
Designs of East Indian Sarees
The 3 major natural fibres, namely cotton, mulberry silk and wild silk are primarily used as the base material for weaving sarees in this region. Texture is also obtained through supplementary-weft and warp weaving, with the supplementary threads woven in either contrasting or complementary colours to the ground.
Sarees of East India have a different weaving technique including several types of figured and inlaid work created through supplementary-warp patterning and discontinuous supplementary-weft weaving. On other hand, interlocked-weft weaving in saree borders and twill as well as plain weaves are also noticed in the weaving techniques of east India. Interlocked-weft weaving is commonly found in older Bengali and Banarasi sarees. Many traditional eastern-region sarees display simple palettes based on the natural colours of the basic materials.
Different Types of Saree in East India
The eastern region is well known for some sarees that are the representation of this region. The eastern region is also good at weaving Khadi Sarees, Garad Sarees, Cotton Muslin Saree, Bengali Silk Sarees, etc.
Desi Muslin Sarees: Bengali Desi muslins are the combination of the tradition of West Bengal and Bangladesh. This particular sarees are usually heavier and more opaque. The design is usually simple and understated, with colour added through discrete supplementary-warp or -weft patterning. Shantipur and Dhaniakhali are the weaving centres of Desi Muslin Sarees.
Tangail Sarees: Tangail sarees are also considered as one of the most ancient sarees and are regarded as daily-wear sarees in the east region.
Jamdani Sarees: Though the origin of the Jamdani muslins is Dhaka, and the name is of Persian origin, the weavers of east India create fine Jamdani sarees that showcase geometric, abstract and zoomorphic forms. Jamdanis of West Bengal are often called ‘Tangail Jamdani’. Today, the Tangail Jamdani has developed a style of its own and it is now acquiring the vibrant colours of southern India and bold animal designs of Andhra Pradesh. Many are also made in silk instead of cotton.
Bengali Silk Sarees: Among the most famous East Indian sarees, Bengali Silks occupy a major position. Sarees with white, undyed fields and simple coloured borders are common. These are known as ‘Garad’ or puja sarees, the latter because of their ritual associations.
Baluchari Sarees: The traditional saree of Bengal is Baluchari saree that are finely embroidered by artisans who create motifs on the border that depict scenes from the Ramayana and the new style continues the 19th century Baluchari pictorial tradition.
Tant Sarees: The ‘Tant’ sarees of eastern region are well known for the exquisite and traditional fabrics that are suitable for the weather of this region.
Tussar Silk Sarees: Apart from these, sarees of east India include the Tussar silk sarees. In ancient times, a pure silk fabric called ‘Sela’ and a cotton dhoti with a Tussar border called a Manipuri dhoti, were a favourite among the local people.
Sambalpuri Sarees: The Sambalpuri sarees have a rich tradition in the eastern region and the sarees are created with excellent mastery to keep the traditional touch intact. These sarees have wide borders with many bands of supplementary figuring and very long end pieces.
Apart from these sarees, the long-established artisans create embroidery works on sarees, which include Kantha embroidery, applique work, Sujani embroidery, etc. Various kinds of cotton-on-muslin, silk-on-muslin and Zardozi embroideries were also commercially manufactured throughout the region. The local women of this region are employed in these embroidery works.
The sarees of east India exhibit a grand tradition and the artisans who are engaged in weaving and elaborating the designs of sarees, create excellent designs. Apart from these sarees, this region has an array of sarees like Bomkai sarees, Muga sarees and Pat sarees are also named for their traditional creations.
(Last Updated on : 09-11-2016)