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Kalamkari Sarees

HISTORY OF KALAMKARI SAREES

A lot goes into the making of traditional Kalamkari sarees. The term Kalamkari is derived from two Persian words; ‘kalam (pen) and ‘kari’ (craftsmanship)Kalamkari art is made through an intensive and highly sophisticated process that involves 23 steps. Kalamkari art came into existence through travelling folk singers and painters who used to narrate Hindu mythology in the villages they came across which gradually took the shape of canvas painting.

KALAMKARI - THE ART OF STORYTELLING

Travellers would often tell stories from Ramayana, Mahabharata, Panch Tantra and used hand paintings to depict tales. This practice of numerous craftsmen eventually got recognition in the Mughal era. Today also, the art is being followed with the same manual techniques and dedication, with Andhra Pradesh being the largest producer of Kalamkari Sarees. A notable fact is that only natural dyes are used in the striking designs of kalamkari painting.

Chennur Silk and Mal-Mal Cotton are the primarily used fabrics on which the Kalamkari art is done. The traditional Kalamkari Sarees sport a plethora of designs withdrawn from the rich Hindu religious heritage. Artworks of Gods and Goddesses such as Krishna, Ganesha, Vishnu, Saraswati, Radha-Krishna, Shiva, etc, are amongst the most common and can be found in vibrant colours or elegant monochrome shades.

The art of kalamkari is the bread-winner for a number of families in the state of Andhra Pradesh. This art has been passed on from generation to generation and is still being practiced with reverence despite all the challenges faced by the artisans.