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CRAFTS OF INDIA / PAITHANI / INTRODUCTION
PAITHANI
The Lustre of the traditional Paithani silk saree

Traditional trousseau of a typical Maharashtrian bride, Paithani sarees of Aurangabad, Maharashtra speak of finery that has sparkle and dazzle. A rich fabric that employs pure silk threads and silver dipped zari, it is a brocade saree which is completely hand crafted with traditional tapestry technique. A garish display that makes the saree both high-priced and special, its special feature is that it looks identical on either side of fabric. An offering of Indian heritage with rich finery, the Paithani saree is a splendid combination of pure silk and fine silver zari, exquisitely hand-woven and adorned with beautiful motifs where the craftsman creates beauty through mental imagery. To own a Paithani is like owning a treasure.

The special features of the Paithani silk saree

The Paithani is a grand saree known for its characteristic borders and the peacock design on the pallu. The rich-look Paithani sarees have a plain or spotted body, a characteristic square design with its variations on the coloured borders with the typical Peacock adorning the pallu or end-piece. Known for the more popular kaleidoscopic variety that displays a fine shimmering effect on account of more than one colour of silk thread being used in the weave, this fabric of pure silk and silver zari is not only costly but also a much sought after and prized possession on account of the richness.

A plain weave, the Paithani gets its exquisite look from the special way in which the pure silk weft interstices with the silver zari on the warp. There could be two different borders for the body which would involve different silk wefts for the borders and body. Additional complexity would come in when the pallu is also taken up separately. This not only calls for skill but tremendous calculation as well.

The silver zari on the warp is so fine and tightly maintained that it forms a silver carpet with tapestry that is dazzling. Times of golden zari are few and far on account of the prohibitive cost. The silk used in the weft is Charkha silk and Sidlaghatta silk whereas filature silk is used for the warp.

The Paithani is today affordable to a sizeable section of the market. On account of the purity of materials and the elaborate finery, the saree is quite heavy and worn for exclusive occasions only. It is jealously treasured to be displayed on those weddings, festivals, functions, grand parties, that call for it.

The captivating golden finery of Paithani work

The Paithani is a hand woven variety of fabric like the saree, the richest in price and finery in Maharashtra and the pride of Aurangabad and India. It’s typical characteristic is the border with an oblique square design and a pallu adorned by the peacock design. In its different varieties the kaleidoscope variety with its shimmering double colour effect is most popular.