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Precious and Precise: Patan Patola ❤️
Patola are thought to date back to the first century BC, and were a highly prized commodity in the South East Asia trade for over five hundred years. In Indonesia the cloths were used for ceremonial use and court dress and believed to possess protective powers. Patola were also used as ceremonial saris by Nagar Brahmins, Hindu or Jain Mahajan (merchants) and Bohra Muslims in Gujarat and Maharashtra. The design is meticulously drafted out onto graph paper for the weaver to refer to as he or she goes along. The warp and weft silk threads are tied separately with cotton thread in the portions marked out by the design. These sections that are tied will resist the dye. Then the next portion which is to be the colour of the first dye is tied so that it can resist the next colour, and so on. Once the dyeing is complete, and the yarns untied, you can already see the design spread across the yarns, before it is woven into cloth. The weft yarns are tied onto bobbins and the warp yarns go through the warping process and onto the loom. In between sections of weaving the weaver uses a pin to re-arrange the threads to achieve the distinctive feathered edge that patola is known for. A double ikat sari can take several months to make, so inevitably is very expensive. Printed imitations are also produced to provide an even cheaper alternative. However, the real double ikat patolu is admired all over the world, and it provides makers and owners alike, a connection to an important part of India’s textile heritage.
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