If saree is the soul of Indian ethnic fashion then handloom is like the ‘karma’ that defines its mere existence. Even after the onset of power looms, weaves done on handloom have a special place in every Indian woman’s closet. It may be in the form of a priceless wedding memory or a legacy that changed hands generation after generation. It might also be an indulging gift to self or the expression of love from someone special. Whatever’s the case be but sarees woven on handloom are close to heart and forever cherished. The same kind of fondness is also felt when one talks about a Banarasi Saree. The super net Banarasi saree is one of the most splendid yet comfortable form of art that Indian handloom weavers have produced.
The centuries old city of Kashi or Banaras or Benaras or Varanasi, as it is called in the present day, once had a number of artisans weaving their expressions of life and beauty in the form of a Banarasi Saree. It was then a family profession but with the increase in demand, competitive pricing & lucrative career opportunities slowly the weavers gave up on handloom. Today, there are only a few handloom artisans which are working independently or have been roped in by brands.
However, if one turns the pages of history & ancient books like Jataka Puran, the importnace of Banarasi cotton & silk fabric can be noted. It is believed that Banarasi weaves gained popularity during Gautam Buddha’s era and further flourished with the Mughal rule.
Generally , ‘Banarasi Saree’ is construed to be a silk saree with elaborate design. This variety of silk saree is the one that is fit to be adorned on occasions like wedding & other important family festivities. Under this variety of Banarasi sarees there is Katan silk sarees with Jamdhani work, Tussar silk sarees, brocaded Crepe silk, Organza silk & Georgette silk sarees with elaborate borders. However, the other variety in Banarasi Saree is that of Super Net.
The word ‘super’ indicates the closeness of the warp and weft threads to form a fine lattice network. This is also the reason why the Banarasi super net saree offers innumerable design incorporation possibilities with artistic motifs and classic embroidery. The ‘pallu‘ is the prime place to flaunt in any saree and so motifs like floral or traditional motifs like paisely, leaves, birds is done on it. A Banarasi super net saree may have these designs either woven in self-design or block printed to produce beautiful six-yard wear.
Today many designers are using this Banarasi fabric not only to make sarees but apparel like skirts, dresses and more. As a matter of fact, the ministry of Textiles (under the leadership of cabinet minister & actress Smriti Irani’s #Iwearhandloom campaign), renowned designers & online Indian clothing websites have been instrumental in bringing back almost lost-in-time motifs and locally known folklore. This is how the charming art expression of Banarasi super net saree and silk saree continues…
Saree by Unnati Silks
Venue partner: Radhika Haveli, Mandawa
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