WHAT IS BANDHANI?
The word Bandhani/ Bandhni comes from the Hindi/ Sanskrit words ‘Bandhna’ and ‘Bandha’, meaning ‘tying’ or ‘to tie’. Bandhej is a variation of this word. Bandhani refers to the traditional Indian ‘tie and dye‘ art (resist-dyeing technique that uses impermeable threads for tying), used to produce beautiful, fine circular patterns on fabrics.
HOW OLD IS THE TECHNIQUE?
Bandhani is an ancient art. Earliest references to this technique of picking the cloth with finger-nails and tying, before dyeing, are found in Indus Valley Civilization records, dating back to 4000 B.C. Even the Buddhist paintings, dating back to the 6th Century, in the famous Ajanata Caves have Bandhani references. Texts dating back to the times of Alexander – the great also extolled Indian Bandhani.
WHAT IS BANDHANI USED FOR?
Bandhani is used to create attractive, unique patterns and designs on fabrics. Women in rural areas earlier used simple Bandhej techniques to give special vibrance to their modest clothes. Today, finished Bandhani products are much in demand in the apparel industry. Sarees, ghagras, dress materials, dupattas, shawls, turbans and even western silhouettes are created using the fabric crafted with Bandhej. It is also used in bed linen, curtains and upholstery.
WHO PRODUCES BANDHANI?
Bandhani is an Indian hand-done textiles-art/ craft, generally carried out by skilled Bandhani artisans, dyers and workers as well as experienced families involved traditionally in the craft. Many women and young girls in Bandhani centres tie fabrics, sometimes pre-traced with designs, to create bandhani. These are, then, dyed, re-tied and re-dyed by the men-folk of the family. Bandhani is a major textiles-craft industry, though it is still small in scale and relies heavily on time-consuming, traditional techniques and processes.
WHICH DYES ARE USED IN BANDHANI?
Bandhani is crafted using a hand technique, hence the used of heavy-duty industrial dyes and dye-stuffs is limited or absent. Initially, Bandhej was done using only natural dyes like Indigo or colours extracted from plant roots, vegetables, flowers and leaves. With time, man-made chemical dyes were introduced in Bandhani making. These dyes give vibrant colours, and are faster. Most Bandhani fabrics, nonetheless, lose colour on washing, as there is a good amount of re-dyeing involved. Today, a just mix of natural and synthetic dyes is used to dye Bandhanis.
WHAT KIND OF BASE IS NEEDED FOR BANDHANI?
Bandhani needs a resilient base, as the fabric is subjected to intricate tying and multiple rounds of dyeing. This fabric must also be able to withstand the stretching, while opening/ unraveling knots. The base fabric must also be absorbent, so as to satisfactorily absorb colours, during the hand-dyeing process.
WHAT ARE GAJI SILK BANDHANI SAREES?
Silk’s lustre and beauty are quite sought, more so in Bandhani sarees, as they are closely associated with auspicious occasions. Since pure silk lacks the tensile strength required for the Bandhani process, fabrics are fortified with poly fibers, cottons etc. The resulting blends are more agile and less expensive. One such poly-silk blend, used avidly to craft Bridal Bandhanis, is Gaji Silk. This base material is thicker, lustrous and smooth, can be dyed in vibrant colours and is strong enough to withstand heavy embellishments like Zari borders, Zardozi embroidery etc. Gujarati Gharcholas, Panetars and Bandhani Wedding Lehenga Cholis are also crafted in gaji silk.
WHAT ARE BANARASI BANDHANI SAREES?
Bandhani sarees with Banarasi brocade borders are called as Banarasi Bandhanis. They generally are made using pure, high quality georgette fabric that is adorned with brocade and Banrasi weave borders. Bandhani done on these expensive sarees is often extremely fine.
TYPES OF BANDHANI PATTERNS?
A single Bandhani dot is called as Ek Dali or Bundi, four are called as Chaubundi and seven are called as Satbundi. Small dots with darker centres are called as Boond, while tear-drop shaped dots are called as Kodi. Patterns or circles appearing in clusters of three are called as Trikunti, while groups of four are called as Chaubasi, and seven are called as Satbandi. Elaborate motifs and designs of leaves, flowers, trees, human figurines are made, by repeating Bandhani dots and patterns. Dungar Shahi (mountain pattern), Laddu Jalebi (Indian sweetmeats) and Leheriya (waves) are other popular Bandhani patterns.
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