Handloom sarees are a traditional textile art of Bangladesh and India. The production of handloom sarees are important for economic development in rural India. Completion of a single saree takes two to three days of work. Several regions have their own traditions of handloom sarees.
The handloom saree tradition
Primary Handloom Weavers Co operative’s (PHWCS)
As per 2010 census 44 lakhs of families are engaged in hand weaving. In 2011-12, the handloom industry wove 6900 million square metres of cloth. Andhra Pradesh is said to be the home of 3, 59,212 weaver families who all works in primary co operative handloom societies. Primary Handloom Weavers Co operative’s (PHWCS) includes weavers within certain specific geographical limits and provides production work to the members. The co operatives also see that the weavers receive fare Wage and at the same time conduct various Welfare measures.
The weaving process
A handloom saree is often woven on a shuttle-pit loom made from ropes, wooden beams and poles. The shuttle is thrown from side-to-side by the weaver. Other weavers use a fly-shuttle loom which can produce different types of patterns. The sarees can vary in size and quality.
Generally handloom saree weaving is a family enterprise and one of India's cottage industries. The handloom sarees are made from silk or cotton threads. Traditionally all the process of thread dyeing and warping were outsourced and sizing, attaching the warp, weft winding and Weaving were done by the weavers. It is important to understand the complex process that plays a major role behind in weaving handloom sarees and the final product which we get to buy from shops. but with time the scenario has changed. Most of the activities are now outsourced.
Major regional weaving traditions
Weaving takes place in many regions of India. Each region has tradition designs for the motifs, design and colours. Handloom weaving takes place in villages supporting lakhs of families for their Livelihood.
Types of handloom sarees
Some of the well known Indian Handloom Sarees are Kanchepuram Silk Sarees, Maheshwari Saree, Bagh Print Saree, Chanderi Silk Sarees, Tussar silk saree, Banarasi Silk Saree, Baluchuri Sarees, Sambalpuri Sarees, Kantha stitch Sarees, Bhadhini Sarees and Munga Sarees. Handloom sarees are made out of good quality silks to give it a lustrous look.
The designs on Baluchuri Sarees feature Mythology stories which you can spot in the temples of Bishnupur & Bankura of West Bengal. The pallus and borders showcase elaborate designs of flower, Animal and royal court scenes. You can even spot designs of Ramayana and Mahabharata scenes narrating the stories. The most popular colour of Balachuri saress are Green, Red, White and Yellow.
A master weaver usually takes 20–25 days to complete weaving of a Baluchuri saree.
The quality of Zari used in weaving kanchipuram sarees in Tamil Nadu is o superior quality and attracts foreign visitors as well. The zaris are generally of Gold and Silver. A detail study of zaris used in weaving will give you a better idea.
From ages Benarasi sarees has been a valuable possession for Bride. Woven by master craftsmanship of Uttar Pradesh features intricately weaved designs with golden and silver threads. These sarees are usually heavy and can be worn in festivals too apart from wedding.
Impact on the Economy
The handloom sector plays a vital role in the country’s economy and as a result evens the government are implementing several measures to optimize all the resources available. The handloom sector is the second largest economic activity after agriculture which involves nearly 30 lakh weavers. It contributes nearly 22% of cloth produced in the country. Handloom industry belongs to pre independence period and New Economic Policy in India is implemented to thrust this industry. The Textile Policy 1985 had emphasised on promotion of handloom. The Handloom census of 2009 – 10 tells us that this sector provides employment to 4.33 million people.
- Shailaja, D. N. (April 2006). "An insight into the traditional handloom of Kinnal, Karnataka" (PDF). Indian Journal of Traditional Knowledge. 5 (2): 173–176.
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