Ikat is a dyeing technique originated from Indonesia used to pattern textiles that employs resist dyeing on the yarns prior to dyeing and weaving the fabric.
Odisha Ikat is a kind of ikat, a resist dyeing technique, originating from Indian state of Odisha, adapted from ikat in Indonesia. Also known as “Bandha of Odisha”, it is a geographically tagged product of Odisha since 2007. It is made through a process of tie-dying the warp and weft threads to create the design on the loom prior to weaving. It is unlike any other ikat woven in the rest of the country because of its design process, which has been called “poetry on the loom”.
The villages where ikat weaving is practiced in Odisha are Mayurbhanj district. In the Balangir district in West Odisha, ikat weaving is done in Barapalli, Remunda, Jhiliminda, Mahalakata, Singhapali, Sinepur, Patabhadi, Sagarpali, Tarabha, Biramaharajpur, Subalaya, Kendupali, Jaganathpali, and Kamalapur. In Cuttack district it is produced in the villages of Badamba, Nuapatna, Maniabadha, Narashinpur, Tigiria and many more. Thus while several villages of Odisha are involved in this craft, it is the Bargarh district that is most widely recognized for the Sambalpuri sarees which have the maximum reach beyond Odisha. The term ‘Sambalpuri’ for these textiles is therefore misleading, for they are not actually produced in Sambalpur, but its neighboring areas. However, Sambalpuri term is used more of a metonymic manner, referring to the larger distinct performance and art culture of this region.
Ikat/ Bandha or yarn tie-resist dyed textiles of Odisha are widely acknowledged for their skillful patterns, distinctively rendered curvilinear motifs and the combination of ikat and relief texture for elaborate dyeing processes before weaving, requires precision.
It has gloriously woven, blurred, and gem-coloured motifs in silk and cotton. The dominant motifs in this craft include animals and birds, with the traditional designs being fish and conch shell as well as bolmala, chandankora, and sachipar. As the design-type is single ikat, the designs on the material are blurred; however, this trace-design has a beauty all its own.
The technique of single ikat is predominantly used in the saktapar designs which is done in double ikat.
The weavers in the Sambalpur-Bargarh region belong to the Meher community and in Nuapatna they belong to the Patra community.
Bandha requires skills for detail:
– of deconstructing the desired pattern according to the density of the cloth
– winding threads on the frame according to the calculations made
– covering selected sections of the weft with rubber tubing
– binding with thread and finally dyeing.
Sambalpur specializes in cotton saris used for ceremonial occasions with motifs symbolizing prosperity and fertility. The bichitrapar and saktapar saris are unique examples with motifs of duck, fish, lotus, creeper, elephant, lion, deer; the kumbh, temple or serrated edge, and fine white outline of the ikat motifs. Sonepur saris are woven in mulberry and tussar silk with calligraphy and nagabandi, the coiled serpent motif.
Jaydev, the great poet offered Bandha woven calligraphy fabrics with lyrics of his poem the
Gita Govinda to the deities – Lord Jagannath, Balavadra and Devi Subhadra in the 12th Century. Since then the tradition of offering woven calligraphy Bandhas to the temples of Lord Jagannath is customary and part of the rituals conducted in worship.
The Ikat produced by Bhullas from Western Odisha is considered superior in both the use of the fabric and pattern (which include double Ikat) compared to the product from Eastern Odisha.
If you are interested in reading some about The Sambalpuri Ikat of Odisha, please check this article by Mr. Surender Meher who is the youngest son of legendary ikat weaver Padmashree Kunjabihari Meher, from Barpali.
Also, I am posting a video here by Dsource Ekalpa India to understand the process of Ikat Saree weaving.