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Paithani- Designs

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Designs/ Motifs

Paithani is characterized by the "Mor Butti" (Peacock Motif) on pallu and the "Narali Kinar" (Coconut Border).

But there is a lot to designs and motifs in Paithani.

Paithani was initially woven in cotton and gold zari threads. No silk thread was used.

Also the motifs used were minimal and simple.

"Asawali phool ani wel" (asawali flower and creeper) motif in pallu, while "narali kinar" (coconut motif border) designs and gol butti (round motif) in the body of saree were used.

The advancements in design came later in 17th and then again in 19th century.

The motifs in Paithani saree are created by four methods- Paper designs, dobby designs, geometrical designs and jacquard designs.

A. Paper Designs: A paper with motifs drawn on it is placed below the warp threads and fixed with pins. The weft threads are then moved accordingly over the warps.

1. The Bangdi-Mor motif: is one of the oldest motifs in Paithani. It is remembered as the most intricate pattern in Paithani. The motif consists of a bangle inside which is a lotus flower; four peacocks are seated on the bangle in four directions. It had around 36 elements in it, which with time have reduced to ten.

2. The bangle signifies "Saubhagya" (completeness of a woman), while Peacock kindness, compassion and luck as it is a symbol of Godess Saraswati.

3. The lotus flower resembles to that of Ajanta caves.

4. While another theory says that the bangle represents the world.

There are four symbols one each between the four peacocks which represent the guards of four directions according to Hindu mythology.

The four peacocks are the hands of Lord Vishnu. The lotus (Nabhi Kamal) in the centre is the flower which came out of Lord Vishnu's belly. Thus this motif can said to be a depiction of the creation of God.

Bangadi-Mor motif dates back to almost 2000 years. Initially this motif was done in pallu only. Later in 1400 A.D. they found place in border as well. Sandwiched between parrots, peacocks, stars and asawalis besides flowering vine and lotuses, some borders are 6" to 18". In last 100 years not a single true Bangadi-Mor was weaved.

The Ajanta Lotus: The Lotus or Kamal Pushpa is a motif that bears a close resemblance to the murals of Ajanta Caves located in Aurangabad, Maharashtra. It is the sign of rebirth. The use of this motif is also done since 2000 years.

Koyari: or Mango is integral part of Indian culture and tradition. It was weaved in Paithani for almost 1000 years since Maratha kingdom was dominant in the region. Many additions and variations gave it modern look and intricateness.

Akruti Motif: These motifs are from Satvahana's period. It is almond shaped. Due to its elegance and simplicity these were used in almost all paithani sarees either as main element or elements in pallu.

Asawali Motif: It is a motif made of creepers and flowers. Asawali Motifs, Vases and Vines were popular in 18th to 19th Century during rule of Peshwa of Pune. Asawali was adopted from Gujarat as the Peshwa established Yeola as weaving centre and commissioned weavers from Gujarat to weave Paithanis for royals. Since the Mughal influence was predominant, vines and vases remained main stream pattern. Around 600 variants are available from this design from a simple vine to intricate 6 yard filler.

Jahangir’s great love for nature and flowers brought many symbolic designs to this textile adding another dimension to Paithani in appearance and increasing its repertoire.

Tota-Maina Motif: Tota Maina is symbolic of loving couple. Parrot and Maina are arranged in romantic form around creepers. These motifs are woven in parrot green and red colour.

Huma Parinda: It is a motif of a heavenly bird. This motif was ordered by Nilofer Begum, the wife of Nizam king of Hyderabad. This design is very antique and is not seen in use since many years.

Mor Butti: "Mor butti" that is the peacock motif is the most widely used motif in the Paithani saree today. Use of this motif was introduced as a redevelopment program in Paithani weaving. This occurred as late as 1980s.

Peacocks are woven in Paithani sari in various styles depending upon the imagination of the weaver. The main theme is "Mor Kunda" that is peacocks sitting on big pots. Colours in this motif are-blue for the feather, green for wings, violet for neck, red for beak.

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