The Resplendent Peacock

Its long, graceful body, extravagant tail and iridescent colours have inspired poets, artists, dancers and lovers through millennia – is there another bird that quite evokes the resplendent beauty of the annapakshi, or peacock?

Being the national bird of India, its beauty  is ingrained in every aspect of our culture. This gorgeous creature, a universal symbol of beauty, riches as well as  foolish vanity, has also captured the imagination of other civilizations. Artists from Byzantium and ancient Rome derived inspiration from its majestic grace; peacock images can be found in the tomb art of early Christians.

In India, peacocks were strongly associated with royalty. Their beautiful feathers were woven into fans for kings, queens and nobles. In religion, the peacock is linked with two deities, Skanda and Krishna. Artists typically depicted this bird as an absent lover in miniature paintings. However, the dance of the peacock, with the arrival of dark monsoon clouds, symbolizes courtship in popular culture.

The peacock’s alluring form and luminous colours have made it a timeless motif in Indian textile traditions including Kanjivaram saris. The peacock tail lends itself to myriad stylized depictions – as a sharp-edged triangle, a sensuously curving paisley or flaring open with hundreds of blue-green ‘eyes’. Plump peacocks strut along  sari borders in golden splendour; two peacocks facing towards or away from each other, enhance the grandeur of a fully worked pallu.

Among the many, nature inspired motifs favoured by sari weavers and all of us at Sarangi, this annapakshi  must surely rank as the most flamboyant and impressive of all! Enjoy viewing our collection of Kanjivaram silk saris featuring the annapakshi and other gorgeous motifs.


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