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AJRAKH: The Ancient Craft of Block-Printing

The word Ajrakh is derived from the word azurakh, meaning blue in Persian. The blue in the patterns symbolize the sky, the red the twilight and the night is represented by black. The white designs strewn across the fabric are reminiscent of the eternal light of the stars.

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A BRIEF HISTORY OF INDIGO

The Greeks called this blue pigment ‘indikon’, meaning a product from India, and this word became indigo in English. Another ancient term for the dye is ‘nili’ from the Sanskrit meaning dark blue from which the Arabic term for blue ‘al-nil’ is derived. This word entered Spanish as anil and later made its way to Central and South America where it is used to refer to indigo.

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THE HISTORY OF SILK IN KARNATAKA

India is the only country that is home to four different silk varieties: Mulberry silk (Bombyx mori), Eri silk (Philosomia ricini), wild Tussar silk (Antheraea mylitta) and the exclusive wild golden Muga silk (Antheraea assama).  Of these Karnataka played a pivotal role historically in the development of mulberry silk and subsequently silk sarees that are particular to both it’s geography and culture.   HISTORY OF SILK IN KARNATAKA  Although silk first finds mention during the Vedic period, dating back to about 5000 BC, when silk and silk garments were known to Indians. (In the Mahabharatha, there is vivid description about silk and silk garments. Lord Krishna was described as always clad in Kashi Pitambara (silk of Banaras, West Bengal).There are...

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And who shall wear a handloom saree...

   Sheer elegance! A muga jamdani accompanied by classic pearls and kundan jewellery. Indian men were robbed of their graceful wear many years back by a foreign hand at work. Very officially and Very specifically. ‘Twas so many years back that the transformation is forgotten and forgiven. Western wear for men is de rigueur today and the traditional Indian wear is relegated to weddings & festivals and worse of all for special days at workplace when it is considered akin to a fancy dress. At least men had it simpler. It was not slow and it was not by choice. When it becomes a norm the normal follow. They lose the sense of loss and they cannot be blamed or...

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Know your Bengal Handloom Sarees

  Unless you grew up in a traditional Bengali family, you may often find it confusing to distinguish a garad saree from a korial or a jamdani from a muslin. They often look similar from a distance and only knowing the characteristics of each saree will help you identify them correctly. Here’s a quick overview on the different types of handloom sarees from West Bengal. 1. Tant: A tent is a cotton handloom saree with a light and airy texture. These sarees are suitable for everyday wear, especially during summers. Tant sarees are characterized by a thick border, a decorative pallav and a relatively plain body. Floral, paisley and other artistic motifs are woven on the sarees giving rise to a rich variety of...

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