The root of the applique form is knotted with the traditions of Lord Jagannath who is the presiding deity of the Puri temple. During processions of the deities the applique items are used. The items that are used for this procession are Chhati, Tarasa and Chandua. Applique work is famous in the cloth cover of the three chariots of the presiding deities in which they travel every year during the Ratha Yatra.
The Balabhadra's chariot is known as Taladhawaja. It has a cloth covering of bright green and red. The Subhadra;s chariot is known as Padmadhwaja or Darpadalana that has a cover of bright red and black. Loird Jagannath's chariot is called Nadighosha that has a bright red and yellow cover. The basic design is similar which a combination of narrow and wide stripes. On the four sides above the openings one can see the applique mythical motifs like Rahu, Chandra as well as motifs from nature like flowers. The seats and pillows in Applique are made for ceremonial use by the deities during the annual ritual Snana Jatra and is also known as 'Chakada Kama'. It has motifs of 27 stars and geometrical forms in applique work with motifs of fish, frog on black cloth which is used in the ritual dress of the Deities of Puri temple. Applique cover is also made for the dummy horses in the 'Horse Dance' during Chaitra Festival in Puri.
Applique is practiced by a caste of professional tailors, known as 'Darjis'. Canopies are made that are locally called 'chanduas'. Chhati is a sort of big umbrella which has a long wooden handle. Tarasa is a heart-shaped wooden piece that is covered by Applique cloth. 'Jhalar' is another item which is a sort of frill thaf is used as a border to canopies. Batua is another interesting item. It is a unique Orissan cloth pouch which has a semi-circular shape. Sujnis or an embroidered quilt is another traditional item.
Cloth is the main material that is used for Applique. The stitching process varies according to the items that are made. It is divided into six broad categories:bakhia, taropa, ganthi, chikana, button-hole and ruching. Embroidered patterns are also used and in a few items mirror work is also integrated. The layout varies according to the shape of the piece.
The motifs used are fixed and consist of stylized representations of flora and fauna. The elephant, parrot, peacock, ducks, creepers, trees, flowers like lotus, jasmine, half-moon, the Sun and Rahu are the common motifs used. There has only been a minute change in the use of motifs, there has been a trend towards greater experimentation as far as colour combinations are concerned.
On grey cloth there is a superimposition of colored cloths. The popular applique items today are garden umbrellas, shoulder bags, ladies hand bags, wall hangings, lamp shades, bed covers, pillow covers and letter pouches and so on. The Applique items are even used in combination with other handicrafts to produce combined products.
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