Bright colours, punched out white dots that resemble a rhombus, some mirror work, some embroidery, the magic of Bhuj, the Bandhini.

When we went to Jamnagar, I was looking for the Kutch work, when our friend told us, that it is the Bandhini that you have to pick here more the Kutch work or the bead work. Well to be frank I would have still loved the bead work and I plan to go some day to pick it up the bead work.

However when I looked at those fabric a faint images of a friends garage, four preteen kids huddled trying out fabric colours, they were fads then, we had traced out some patterns though I cannot remember what, piercing a pencil securing the fabric with rubber bands, in a bucket we had poured in the dye, and I think immersed this fabric and totally forgot about it,

It is only now I recognize what we were trying our hand at, we were trying out Bandhini, a type of tie dye textile, decorated by plucking the cloth with fingernails into many tiny bindings that form a figurative design … this very apt definition is from Google and not mine.

However the tern Bandhini has its root in the Sanskrit word Banda or tie. Another very similar fabric art is the chungdi from Madurai, that’s for another day.

I was told by my guide, that the earliest evidence of Bandhini was in the Indus valley civilization, and dyeing was done even during the Indus valley days, there are 6th century painting depicting the cotton fabrics that were there. BanaBhatta’s Harshacharita talks of Bandhini being used in a royal wedding, and the paintings on the Ajanta walls holds evidence that Bandhini sari’s were considered auspicious.

Africa and south East Asia shows evidence of various natural dyes and manmade dyes being used. The Bandhini technique which is popularly called tie and dye was well developed in the china in 618-906 AD and Japan in the 552-794 AD

In India, the Khatri community started the Bandhini technique. They create turban fabric and shawls known as odni’s, the way the turban is draped and pattern on the fabric helps to identify which community the person belongs to.

My own commitment to my home looms, tell, me each and every piece of cloth embodies the spirit skill and personal history of an individual weaver…. it ties together with an endless thread the emotional life of the weaver, then comes the artisan with brush and dye, who adds the critical magic.

Bandhini Fabric with embroidary

For the followers of the loom I found this very interesting link …


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