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CRAFTS OF INDIA / BANDHANI / HISTORY
BANDHANI
Historical Background

Bandhani is believed to have begun as a traditional form of tie & dye about 5000 years ago and considered to be one of the oldest forms practiced even today. Initially dyes were discovered in the form of extracts of various plants, flowers, leaves, bark etc. that could be applied to cloth. But it was not considered as dyeing but simply a way of changing color. The art of preparing a dye bath that would readily give its color to the fabrics dipped in it, came much later. It was observed that natural substances like turmeric and indigo from plants, readily stuck to cotton fabrics with some sort of permanency. These were initially being used and are considered to be the earliest forms of color used in dyeing.

Throughout Asia, India and the Far East, traders packed tie and dye cloths as part of their merchandise. Bandhani was introduced in Jamnagar when the city was founded 400 years ago. Bandhani fabrics reign supreme in Rajasthan and Gujarat which are home to an astounding variety of traditional crafts. Century-old skills continue to produce some of the most artistic and exciting wares in these two states and are popular all over the world. Rajasthan is a land of vibrant colors. These colors are a striking part of the life there and are found in the bustling bazaars, in fairs and festivals, in the costumes worn and in the traditional paintings and murals.

Earliest evidence of Bandhani dates back to Indus Valley Civilization suggest that dyeing was done as early as 4000 B.C. The earliest example of the most pervasive type of Bandhani dots can be seen in the 6th century paintings depicting the life of Buddha found on the wall of Cave I at Ajanta. This art finds its mentions in the Alexander the great time texts about the beautiful printed cottons of India. As per evidences in Historical Texts, the first Bandhani saree was worn at the time of Bana Bhatt`s Harshacharita in a royal marriage. It was believed that wearing a Bandhani saree can bring good future to a bride. Ajanta walls stand for the evidences of these Bandhani sarees.

Bandhani work in India was started by the Khatri Community of Gujarat.