The Splendid Colors of Kanjivaram: Blessed Blue
Think Kanjivaram saris and the first association that arises is color – strong, vivid and saturated, with resonances that go beyond aesthetics.
As every artist knows, color plays a seminal role in every aspect of life. Universally, colors speak the language of emotion. Across history and time, specific colors have come to be regarded as sacred within their cultural domain. Kanjivaram saris, created in the temple town of the same name, are more than prized items of clothing, carrying within their soft folds, a tradition of faith and auspiciousness. In our forthcoming blogs, we explore the varied cultural and sacred associations and rich symbolism of the Kanjivaram color palette.
Blue everywhere! Few colors fill our consciousness so, from the limitless cerulean sky to the rushing mud-blue of rivers and the ever changing tints of the ocean. Universally, blue evokes a sense of serenity and constancy.
Blue is a blessed color in India, with multiple sacred associations. The Hindu god Rama, destroyer of evil who walked the earth as an embodiment of manliness, courage, and devotion was blue-skinned according to the scriptures. ‘Rama blue’ is a shade familiar to Kanjivaram sari lovers – a pure, medium-dark tone ideally suited to silken weaves.
In mythology, Lord Shiva, the Supreme Deity, drank the venom generated by the divine serpent Vasuki to save the world from destruction and hence his name, Neelkant or the Blue-throated One. And then, there is Lord Krishna, whose blue-skinned visage has been likened to the dark beauty of rainclouds – a source of inspiration for painters, poets and weavers alike. The turquoise blue of Krishna’s whimsical headgear – a peacock feather – has for centuries been translated into silken masterpieces by Kanjivaram’s weavers, a hue that is both sacred and ever popular.
In more modern times, a color that acquired celebrity status is ‘MS Blue’, named after the immensely talented and beloved Carnatic singer, M. S. Subbulakshmi. This inky blue, glimmering with mysterious green and black tints, was especially created for the iconic singer by Kanchipuram Muthu Chettiar, a sari trader and an avowed aficionado of her music. MS Blue soon became quite the rage and a must-have in the Kanjivaram collection of every fashion conscious woman. Muthu Chettiar, obviously a gentleman with business smarts – produced only a limited number of saris every year, thereby ensuring MS Blue’s exclusivity and popularity!
At Sarangi, we have many many shades of blue. Click here to see our collection.