In the first of our series, we take you back in time to a form of fabric art…Bandhani or the Indian Tie & Dye Technique.
The history of dyeing can be dated back to pre-historic times, approximately 5000 years ago. Along the centuries, dyers have experimented with the use of different elements both natural and man made for ages. Also there are experiments with different binding/tying techniques to create patterns on cloth immersed in containers of dye. Different types of tie and dyes have been practiced in India, China, Japan, and Africa for centuries.
The term `Bandhani` is derived from the word `Bandhan` that means tying up. It is an ancient art practice that is mainly used in the state of Rajasthan and Gujarat. Places in Rajasthan are the well known centres producing odhnis (long and wide stolles), sarees and turbans in Bandhani. Different communities in Rajasthan have for ages followed the tradition on tying turbans with different patterns of bandhani on their heads. These were used to identify which community the person belonged to..In the early days dyes were extracted from roots, flowers, leaves, and berries.
The art of Bandhani is highly skilled process. The technique involves dyeing a fabric which is tied tightly with a thread at several points , thus producing a variety of patterns depending on the manner in which the cloth is tied.
Very elaborate motifs are made, in tie and dye work.. Knots are placed in clusters each with a different name. Such clusters are worked intricately into patterns such as Shikargah (mountain‐like), Jaaldar (web‐like), Beldaar (vine‐like) or the famous Leheriya (waves – like) pattern.
In Bandhani, different colors convey different meanings. While red represents a bride or recently married girl, a yellow background suggests a lady has become a mother recently etc.
Ethel, a Y4UW from Mumbai recently visited Rajasthan, the state famous for its bandhani work and shared this pic from one of the thousands of racks of this fabric one sees as you wanted around the narrow, crowded streets of its towns.
Come on over to UWW 2015…you will see this wonderful bandhani whilst together we also explore the fabric that builds fraternity!
Information about Bandhani sourced from the India Craft House