Kutch textiles: Tangalia & Patola weaving

Posted on May 10, 2019 by Toothpicker There have been 0 comments

 Surendranagar village

Surendranagar

 

After days of visiting numerous textiles artisans from different tribal communities in Kutch, I was feeling quite overwhelmed. I am no expert on Indian textiles, and after arriving in Kutch, I was surprised by the variety of textiles traditions being practised in just one region. From embroidery to weaving, blockprinting and natural dyeing... every tribal community specialises in one particular (or more) tradition that has been passed down the generations. Many small villages are somehow well-known for an ancient craft or textiles-related tradition, which is quite incredible in this day and age. When you visit these villages, you almost feel like you are entering a time warp... and you can imagine how life used to be hundreds of years ago. The people we encountered in these villages are not rich, but they seem happier (and friendlier) than the inhabitants in big cities; life in these villages is slow and relaxed.

 

 Surendranagar

 Surendranagar

 Surendranagar

 Surendranagar

 Surendranagar

 Surendranagar

 Surendranagar

 Surendranagar

 

In Kutch's Surendranagar district, there is a rare 700-year-old indigenous craft native to the region. Tangalia (Tangaliya/Tangalio) is a weave technique practised by the Dangasia community. Surendranagar district has one of the largest handloom clusters in Gujarat, and tangalia can be seen in Bajana, Wadhwan, Sayla, and other villages in this region.

The Tangalia weavers are adept at adding extra knots on the weft which create motifs and figures in a dotted pattern on the woven fabric. Besides dots, other geometric patterns like circles, straight lines, hyperbolic or parabolic designs etc are often seen on these woven textiles. Using this technique, artisans weave shawls, stoles and wraparound skirts worn by women of the Bharwad shepherd community. The single Ikat done at various places in this district, including Somasar and Sayla, creates a less expensive version of the ultra-rich double Ikat Patolas of Patan. Traditionally, black sheep and camel wool is used as the raw material, though cotton and other materials were later introduced for the contemporary market.

 

Tangalia weaving

Tangalia weaving

Tangalia weaving  Tangalia weaving

Tangalia weaving

Tangalia weaving  Tangalia weaving

Tangalia weaving

Dahyabhai Motibhai Parmar's studio

 

In Bajana, we visited the studio of a Tangalia weaver, Dahyabhai Motibhai Parmar, who has been practising this craft for over 30 years. We learned that Dahyabhai’s family has been weaving tangalia textiles for Bharvad Shepherds for the last 2-3 centuries. However, Dahyabhai did not have any finished woven Tangalia shawl to show us at his studio, so we wandered around the village, and soon found a home/shop that selling Tangalia shawls in various colours and designs. The prices of these shawls are extremely reasonable, and I doubt you could find handmade woven pieces at these prices outside of these villahes.

 

Tangalia weaving

weaving

weaving

Woven Tangalia shawls

 

In the nearby Patan, the medieval capital of Gujarat, it is famous not only for Rani ki vav (an UNESCO World Heritage Site), but also for its Patola weaving technique. Patola is an ancient double Ikat weave (meaning there is no reverse side to it, and can be worn from both sides) that involves intricate and complex process of tie-dyeing on the warp and weft before weaving. Patola saris (made of silk) used to be worn only by royalty and aristocracy, so they were (are) seen as luxury items. The weaving technique is a closely guarded family tradition, and there are only three families left in Patan that can weave these beautiful and expensive double ikat saris, which can take six months to one year to make.

About 900 years ago in 1143 A.D., around 700 craftsmen from the Salvi community in Karnataka and Maharashtra were brought by king Kumarpal of the Solanki dynasty (who then ruled Gujarat, parts of Rajasthan and Malwa) to his court in Patan. These craftsmen lived in Jalna, situated in southern Maharashtra, and were considered to be the finest craftsmen of Patola.

 

patola museum

patola weave  patola weave 

patola weave

patola weave

 

In 2014, the Patan Patola Museum, a private museum run by Patan’s Salvi family opened its doors to the public. The three-storey museum documents the history of the Patan Patola, which combines techniques of tyeing, dyeing and weaving. Here, you can watch demonstrations by master weavers, and see rare ikat collection from India, Japan, Guatemala, Bali and Kalimantan. And if you want to splash out, you can also find a small shop on the top floor selling patola saris.

 

 


This post was posted in Travel, weaving, Textiles, India, Kutch and was tagged with traditional crafts, textiles, weaving, Kutch, Indian textiles, Kutch textiles, Indian craft, patola weave, tangalia weave

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