Paithani saree and its embellishment

by Shatika, January 8, 2016

The silk, that is used in weaving a paithani saree is very delicate. Only natural sources, such as, various leaves, flowers, tree-skin, soils, lamps or soot is used to make these brilliant and attractive special colours. The names of Paithani sarees are based on their colours. The harmony between the design of the borders and the overall colour is also important thus what colour should go with what design is predetermined and depends on the combinations that the Paithani saree is woven in. References to this pattern can also be found in folksongs and literature. Another fascinating attribute of Paithani is the embroidery on its borders. Some of the ancient designs of embroidery on the borders of the inner design are made up of small orbs. Five hundred to nine hundred such orbs can be found in one design.


The Paithani is also considered holy in Indian tradition because of the use of silk, which has a special importance in Indian marriages. Paithani is the glory of Maharashtra. Paithani Sarees not only give an elegant look but also add royalty and thus most of the brides to be like to wear these heavily embellished paithani sarees on that auspicious day. Paithani Sarees teamed up with the appropriate accessories, adds enormous grace and beauty. The motifs and colours used are quite influenced by the Ajanta caves and Buddhist paintings. For the body of the sari, some very common motifs are used like: Kamal or lotus flower, Hans, Ashraffi, Asawalli (flowering vines), Bangadi Mor (peacock), Tota-Maina (male & female parrot), Humarparinda (peasant bird), Amar Vell and Narali. One can also see motifs like Circles, Stars, Kuyri, Kalas Pakhhli, Chandrakor, Leaves Cluster. For the pallu, the common motifs are Muniya (a kind of parrot), Panja (geometrical flower-like motif), Barwa (12 strands of a ladder), Laher, Muthada (geometrical design), Asawali (flower pot) and Mor. The colours usually used for making a Pathani saree are yellow, red, lavender, purple, sky blue, magenta, peach pink, purple, pearl pink, peacock blue/green, yellowish green, violet red, black and white, black and red and red and white. 


Buttis and floral designs make a paithani saree exquisite. Paithani fabric is woven entirely on handlooms. The special dhoop-chaav (light and shade) effect is achieved by bringing two different coloured silk threads together. The weaving of the royal fabric is known as tabby weaving. Today its weaving method has been changed according to the new technology. Artisans in Paithan have been practicing the art of weaving, the paithani sari, for centuries, and this tradition has been passed on from one generation to another. Paithani sarees now have innovative motifs for e.g.: stars, circles, peacocks, flowers or paisley. The paithani saree is entirely hand- woven. Human skills may have been replaced by machines. However, no machine-made fabric can be compared with the hand-made beauty of the paithani saree executed by the master craftsmen of Maharashtra.


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