Patolacloths are highly prized throughout India for their intense colours, fineness of weave, and dramatic designs. Patolaare created through the technique of double ikat where both the warp and weft threads are tie-dyed with patterns before weaving. When the silk threads are woven together, the dyed sections are aligned to form clear motifs. The process is complex, difficult and labour intensive. Utmost precision must be taken at every stage of the process, since the slightest misalignment of threads leads to indistinct motifs.
The patolahas long been considered one of the most auspicious Indian textiles. Its use by wealthy members of Gujarati communities is largely reserved for religious festivals and weddings. At weddings patolaare often presented as gifts, worn as saris by the women, and as a shoulder cloth by the groom.
Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra 2011
From: Asian gallery extended display label