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This brocade sari is a unique piece with a variety of animals and birds depicted very realistically on the magenta ground. The wide range of animals depicted consists of the deer, elephant, lion, tiger, ram, horse, cow, camel, rabbit, parrot, pigeon, peacock, peahen, fish and crocodile. At someplaces composite figures like the winged lion is also included. The broad border consists of rows of parrots and elephants with a floral creeper in between. The upper border which is not visible when draped is woven in yellow, blue, green and white silk threads, while the bottom border is in golden and silver jari. The pallu has two big kuyri (mango) patterns along with the ground design.

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  • Title: Brocade Sari
  • Date Created: 18th century CE
  • Location: India
  • Type: Sari
  • Medium: Silk with brocade
  • Region: Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh
  • History of Style of Technique: While well-to-do and aristocratic families have been the main patrons of luxury textiles, many others across the subcontinent too aspire to have them for special occasions and this patronage has enabled the survival of these opulent fabrics. Historical records mention the royal wardrobes and craftsmen specially employed to create costumes as desired by royalty. The kinkhab (brocaded silk cloth) was used for creating exclusive textiles. Very fine Dhaka muslin generally used for jamas (coat) was known for its exquisite craftsmanship and its fineness was judged by the fact that one could pass the eleven-metre or ten yards long cloth of one yard width through a finger ring. Jama, salwar, patka and the elaborate pagadi form the male costume whereas the exclusive costumes of ladies included elaborate ghagara-choli and odhani, kurtis, paijama and peshwaz. The sari in its myriad forms and styles of drapery has been an all-time favorite costume of India. Saris like Paithani, Maheshvari, Baluchar, Kuruppur and Benaresi are good examples of this tradition. In addition to costumes, furnishing materials, carpets, embroidered trappings of animals, palanquin covers, canopies, umbrellas, throne covers, bed covers, hangings, drapes, curtains and tents also form an important part of the royal textile tradition.
  • Accession Number: 52.2

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