Distinguishing characters of a Paithani are its oblique square design borders and unique motifs such as peacocks, parrots, swan,flowers and vines etc.Handmade from very fine silk and gold/silver thread (Zari) border,it is considered as one of the richest saris in Maharashtra.
Unique art of Paithani weaving technique is over 2000 years old.It was during Satvahana era, around 200 B.C., the art of weaving flourished in Paithan on the banks of divine Godavari River.Beautifully crafted, with exquisite motifs inspired from the Buddhist paintings of Ajanta Caves, this saree is truly a poem in silk. Historians have noted that artisans of ancient Supratishthapuram city( presently known as Paithan) were selling fine silk sarees with delicate gold and silver thread-work to Greece and Rome in exchange for gold between 200 and 400 BC.
Later it progressed under successive rulers like Peshwas,Jahangir,Aurangzeb,Nizam of Hyderabad etc. and flourished throughout Deccan.Each ruler incorporated many new motifs in the weaving. The well known floral and vine motifs known as Asawali or AmarVell are contributions from Mughal era.At present, the Government of India together with the Government of Maharashtra and private enterprises are taking special interest in the revival of this dying art.
There are two styles of weaving that goes inside the paithani sarees, Kadiyal border sari and Kad/Ekdhoti. Kadiyal border means interlocking of the border and body color. The border has same color in the warp and weft, unlike the body, which has different warp and weft colors. On the other hand, Kad/Ekdhoti uses single shuttle for the weft, but the colors are different in case of weft and warp.
|Paithani Saree with Lotus Flower Motifs|
|Ashwali with Muniya|
|Bangadya Mor Paithani Saree|
|Paithani Saree with Peacock Motif Pallu|
The most commonly used motifs in the pallu of these sarees are -kamal' (lotus flower), -hans' (swan), -asharfi' (coin), -asawalli' (flowering vine), -Bangadi mor' (peacock in bangle), -rui phool' (cotton flower),muniya( a kind of green parrot with red beak),nariyal(coconut), pankha (handfan) and belpan(clusters of three leaves).
Small motifs like circles, stars,Kairy,rui phool, kalas pakhhli, chandrakor were very common for the body of the sari.
Paithani saree weavers only use natural sources different flowers, lamp soots, tree-skins and soils for dyeing to bring out attractive and luminous special colors. Paithani sarees are woven in a number of colors. These colors can be pure or be created using a blend of different colored yarns.The kaleidoscope effect (dhoop-chaav) is achieved by using one color for weaving lengthwise and another for weaving widthwise. The colors that are typically used in these sarees are -kaali chandrakala' (black), -uddani' (lighter black), -pophali' (yellow), -neeligungi' (blue), -pasila' (a combination of green, red and pink), -pheroze' (a blend of green, white and red), -samprus' (a mixture of green and red) and -kusumbi' (a purple and red combination).
The art of weaving Paithani sarees is undertaken at Paithan, Yeola, Pune, Nasik and Malegaon in Maharashtra
Initially woven specially for queens of the royal family by weavers in the palaces, Paithani sarees are now a must have part of every Maharashtrian bridal trousseau.