One such variant, the ‘Sambalpuri Bomkai saree’, whose print has a more appealing look on account of depictions of nature, animals and birds, is preferred for traditional functions and festive occasions. Bomkai, is another tribal village in the Ganjam district of Odisha. It achieved fame for its unique combination of ikat style and supplementary thread work.
The exclusive Bomkai Saris employ the ikat style of tie-dye, where the threads are dyed with contrasting colours before they are woven with a special ‘extra weft’ technique. This traditional art uses vegetable dyes to a large extent, with a leaning toward artificial colours in present day creations. Black, yellow, orange, maroon, are the preferred hues.
Bright coloured panels with extra motifs on a highly contrasting background make this tribal art fabric uniquely stand out. Motif patterns commonly adorning the fabric are bitter gourd, the atasi flower, the kanti-phul or small flower, peacocks and birds, Konark temple, conches.
The initial or large motif known as Buttah, such a bird sitting on a tree, is woven on the body. This accentuates the fabric look. The smaller motifs decorate the borders and pallu, and have pomegranate seeds, Saara seeds and temple spires as popular subjects.
A special method of cutting warp ends of a colour and re-tying them to different coloured warp ends, known as ‘muha-johra’ is used to create a dense layer of colours at the end piece (pallu) of the Saree.
The grander Sambalpuri Silk Saree is woven using similar methods but with the threads being pure silk, mulberry silk, or tussar silk. Latest designs and unique patterns with hand woven borders and artistic pallus produce a rich look, making them suitable for marriages and bridal wear.