The Colours and Motifs of Kotpad textiles

Discover the range of colours and motifs used in Kotpad textiles.

Dastkari Haat Samiti

Dastkari Haat Samiti

Kotpad: Products (2017) by Gobardhan PanikaDastkari Haat Samiti

Kotpad textiles

Kotpad, the name of a small weaving village in Odisha, identifies the unique fabric known for its rich vegetable dyed reds, browns, and blacks with motifs that come from another way of life. Kotpad cottons are woven in the tribal regions of southern Odisha and Chhattisgarh, by the Mirgan community. In the Kotpad area, weavers use the name Panika. Their textiles were made for the attire of local tribes such as the Muria, Gonda and Bhatra.

Kotpad: Products (2017)Dastkari Haat Samiti

Various shawls and stoles hang outside a weaver's small showroom.

Kotpad textiles can be recognised by their simplicity and use of unbleached yarn along with the range of deep reds obtained from the aal plant (Morinda citrifolia), commonly called as Indian madder.

Kotpad: Community and Environment (2017)Dastkari Haat Samiti

Using locally available and locally processed yarns, the entire chain of production continues to be carried out in the traditional tribal way.

Kotpad: Products (2017) by Gobardhan PanikaDastkari Haat Samiti

The Kotpad motifs

The motifs here are inspired from local and natural forms such as the crab, a vessel and a fish.

Kotpad: Products (2017) by Gobardhan PanikaDastkari Haat Samiti

At the top of this image is an axe motif, locally known as Tangi.

Kotpad: Products (2017) by Gobardhan PanikaDastkari Haat Samiti

This here is a temple motif on a Kotpad textile. The textiles were made for the attire of local tribes such as the Muria, Gonda and Bhatra.

Kotpad: Products (2017) by Gobardhan PanikaDastkari Haat Samiti

Fish motif on the textile. The relative isolation of the tribal communities kept the craft true to its traditional moorings.

Kotpad: Products (2017) by Gobardhan PanikaDastkari Haat Samiti

Fish motif on a Kotpad textile locally known as Machari. Aal for red and iron for black are the only dyes used.

Kotpad: Products (2017) by Gobardhan PanikaDastkari Haat Samiti

A Kotpad textile displays a man with a horn motif, apart from umbrellas and huts.

The random quirkiness of the choice of motifs of the Muria tribe indicates the common objects amongst which they live.

Kotpad: Products (2017) by Gobardhan PanikaDastkari Haat Samiti

Clearly water is a very important element. Seen here is a textile with crab and fish motifs along with the vessel in which they carry and store water.

Kotpad: Products (2017) by Gobardhan PanikaDastkari Haat Samiti

A variety of motifs on this shawl consists of birds, an axe, an umbrella and crabs. A crab is locally known as a kakada.

Kotpad: Products (2017) by Gobardhan PanikaDastkari Haat Samiti

Crabs are a popular motif in Kotpad weaves.

Kotpad weaves began to get exposure to a wider market only in the 1980s, because of the renewed interest in traditional textiles, supported by initiatives of the Odisha government.

Kotpad: Products (2017) by Gobardhan PanikaDastkari Haat Samiti

Detail of the woven motifs on a Kotpad shawl.

Weavers have a discerning market in cities across India, where textile collectors understand the value of artefacts made by hitherto unknown indigenous tribes who follow age-old traditions in their craft work.

Kotpad: Products (2017) by Gobardhan PanikaDastkari Haat Samiti

Temple motif on a Kotpad textile.

Kotpad: Products (2017) by Gobardhan PanikaDastkari Haat Samiti

Images of people on a Kotpad textile are rare. Here two men carry a palki, palanquin, to carry people. The leaf motif above is from the peepal tree (Ficus Religiosa).

Kotpad: Products (2017) by Gobardhan PanikaDastkari Haat Samiti

An axe, locally known as 'tangi', is also a motif.

Kotpad: Products (2017) by Gobardhan PanikaDastkari Haat Samiti

A man’s head and upper torso is a rare motif. He is wearing a traditional headdress of horns.

The Kotpad textile motif is inspired from the Muriya tribe of Chhattisgarh.

Kotpad: Products (2017) by Gobardhan PanikaDastkari Haat Samiti

A bird motif on a Kotpad textile is locally known as chedai.

Kotpad: Products (2017) by Gobardhan PanikaDastkari Haat Samiti

The motifs in this Kotpad textiles display an elegantly woven figure of a horse and a peacock with a simple implement at the centre.

Kotpad: Products (2017) by Gobardhan PanikaDastkari Haat Samiti

Woven figures in black yarn are tribals dancing and playing a horn instrument at a ceremonial occasion.

Kotpad: Products (2017) by Gobardhan PanikaDastkari Haat Samiti

A temple, a peacock and pot motifs decorate the centre of a kotpad textile.

One edge of the textile would be black while one here is deep madder red, bringing in an extraordinarily sophisticated colour aesthetic.

Kotpad: Products (2017) by Gobardhan PanikaDastkari Haat Samiti

Common tribal motifs on a Kotpad textile.

Kotpad: Products (2017) by Gobardhan PanikaDastkari Haat Samiti

Kotpad textiles that have a variety of motifs and more elaborate borders and central panels are kept to wear on ceremonial occasions

Kotpad: Products (2017) by Gobardhan PanikaDastkari Haat Samiti

Between geometric motifs and peepal leaves, this textile piece has a lizard, locally known as jitpiti, woven into it.

Kotpad: Products (2017) by Gobardhan PanikaDastkari Haat Samiti

Amongst textile connoisseurs, Kotpad textiles are seen as one of the most natural and organic.

Kotpad: Weaving (2017)Dastkari Haat Samiti

While Kotpad textiles still cater to a traditional market, their traditional way of life has also begun to change.

However, the very simplicity and sophistication of their textiles have made these weaves highly sought after by a new urban customer: the discerning textile lover, committed to a more organic and natural form of production and consumption.

Kotpad: Weaving (2017)Dastkari Haat Samiti

Read more about Kotpad textiles here:

- Environment
- Dyeing Process

Weaving Process
Credits: Story

Text: Jaya Jaitly
Photography: Chirodeep Chaudhuri
Artisans: Gobardhan Panika and the community
Ground Facilitator: Ankit Kumar
Curation: Aradhana Nagpal

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
Explore more
Related theme
Crafted in India
Meet the makers. Explore their craft. Share their stories.
View theme
Google apps