Monday, October 4, 2010

Memories of a wedding dress/saree

Jessa Fairbrother photographs women with their old wedding dresses for Telephoto in the Telegraph.
 
While Indians, especially Hindus, a wedding "dress" implies a saree, and a rich vibrant red one at that. For Bengalis, more often than not, that saree is a Benarasi - a traditional silk brocade saree embroidered with gold or silver thread.
 
The popularity of the Benarasi silks reached their climax during the Mughal era in the 1600s. The sarees were traditionally made with Chinese silk. Now, four varieties are available: pure silk (Katan), organza (Kora), Silk Georgette, and the "Shatti'r saree".
 
The traditional motifs of the brocade underwent a change in the Mughal era and combined Indian and Persian patterns. Designs include jasmine, diamonds, marigold, betel leaves, paisleys, and even diagonal stripes. Earlier, the motifs were woven with precious gold and silver thread and could be afforded only by the richest. Nowadays, the gold and silver has been replaced with other metallic threads.

How great would it be to have a series of photographs with women draped in their gorgeous old Benarasi sarees?
 

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