The exquisiteness of a Kanjivaram silk sari lies in its richness of weaving, use of radiant colours and clever patterning. Designs with flowers and leaves as motifs have dominated for the past several hundred years and their depiction has been either realistic or sometimes stylized.
The reason for the leaf motif’s dominance is simple. Designers or in this case Master weavers have always observed nature and tried to understand how nature integrates various units into one homogenous component. These observations were translated into inspired interpretations and motifs that were used to adorn our clothing. Therefore, we have seen – the sparkle of the green forests, the colour and elegance of dancing birds, animals moving in the woods woven as design elements to give the Kanjivaram silk sari a special character.
Many nature inspired motifs have evolved over the years, but the traditional “kodi” – that is vine/creeper design has maintained its own over the decades. The leaves are of different origins – blades of grass, mango, peepal, paan leaves among others and they also symbolize different things from luck to enlightenment and auspiciousness.
The intricate leaves are woven sometimes all over the body of the sari in the form of ‘butties’, or sometimes delicately adorn only the border. It is a versatile motif that can be used on its own or in combination with others such as the ‘manga’, paisley or floral pattern.
A lot of effort goes into weaving positive symbols and energies into this wonderful 6 yards of silk and it is a delight to delve into the various details that go into making every beautiful Kanjivaram Sari.