As per the Indianmythology, the Hindu lord Shiva loved to wear cotton while the other popularHindu god Vishnu loved to wear silk. Therefore the Kanchi saree is made out of bothsilk and cotton using intricate designs and patterns. It is said to be that thelegendry master weavers of the Kanchipuram town are believed descendants of theimmortal Sage Markandeya, the weaver for the gods. (Radhakrishna, Sabitha.
“TheSarees of the Gods.” Madras Musings We Care for Madras that isChennai The sarees of the Gods Comments, 16 June 2016,www.madrasmusings.com/vol-26-no-5/the-sarees-of-the-gods/.) The crucial part of thesaree is the design and layout.
The designers/master weavers spend all theirfree time in the temples gathering inspiration for new motifs. Many of them arefortunate enough to have been born into generations of weavers and have severalyears of knowledge to utilize and further enhance. These weavers and designershave been kind enough to share their knowledge with me. In the picture fig1the various motifs are shown. (Krishnamoorthy, B, and Sanjna Mallappa.”Interview of Designer / Master Weaver.” 1 Nov.
2017. In depth discussion of the history of the Kanchi saree and motifs used)The initial fewdesigns in the catalogue are the traditional motifs that were used. These dots,stripes and lines were simple and easy to weave and are nowadays considers assupporting designs to the main art work. Many of them are actually taken fromeveryday life as the names in the native language, Tamil, conveys. They wereused in combination to create more advance and complicated patterns. Within thelist are a few that particularly stand out. The ‘Muthu’ in Tamil literally means ‘pearl’.
We can see the resemblanceof the design to a string of pearls. Another such design is the ‘Valayal’ which translates to ‘bangle’and we can see how the bangle has been represented in this design. It is alsoone of the most common bangles worn by the Indian women in the olden days.
There are also some very obvious ones such as the diamond which is a repeatpattern of diamonds and the star which, as the name suggests is repeat patternsof stars. The one that intrigues me the most is called the ‘Vanki’, commonly known as the chevron pattern in the modern world,as these designs were created several centuries before the chevron pattern wascreated. Hence it feels fitting for me to call it out as a copy or variation ofthe traditional Indian designs. If we see the picture we can see how thedesigns and motifs have started to become more and more detailed and intricate.
The one in fig.1. is what they used in the olden days and the ones in thefig.2.
is the more modern ones. The detail in the patterns has become moreadvanced as the technology and practice has allowed for the weavers and thesilk to become better and more patterned.