Insight into Ikat

Did you know Ikat sarees are also known as Sambalpuri sarees? Sambalpur is the name of a place in Odisha from where the Ikat sarees originate.

Like all traditional fabric woven on handloom, Ikat sarees are also handloom sarees. The most distinguishing feature of these sarees however are the traditional craftsmanship of the tie and dye art, where the threads of the weft and warp are first tie-dyed and later woven into a fabric. Thus the entire process is often labour oriented, meticulous and time consuming.

Knotting the threads of the weft and the warp ensures that the yarns do not absorb the colours. The yarns are tied according to the desired patterns to prevent absorption of dyes, and then dyed. This art is known as Baandha kala meaning art of tying. The common colours or dyes used are black, white, red and yellow. Another very interesting feature of this technique is that the designs obtained from the weaving are almost identical on both sides of the fabric.

Skilled craftsmen in the art of Ikat weave beautiful patterns and images that stand out among others. Most patterns and motifs are adopted from nature but Ikat sarees are particularly noted for their incorporation of traditional motifs like shankha (conch), chakra (wheel), and the flower – probably an association of the symbols of Lord Vishnu who is the presiding deity in Odisha, revered as Lord Jagannath.

Ikat sarees are produced in places such as Bargarh, Sonepur, Sambalpur, Bapta, Pasapali, Bomkai, Bolangir and Kosal in Odisha. Among them, Ikat sarees from Sambalpur and Bomkai are extremely popular.

Next time you wear an Ikat, you will be more aware of its origins. Won’t you!!

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