India's premier luxury lifestyle women's magazine
Framed
October 13, 2015

Evolution Of Indian Art #3: Kalamkari

Text by Huzan Tata

Travel through time to trace India’s penchant for visual storytelling

Kalamkari
As the name suggests, it is ‘pen craft’ that involves the use of bamboo reeds or date palm branches on various cloth materials to create visual stories.

Then
Using natural dyes of golden-yellow for females, blue for gods and red to illustrate demons, kalamkari works had scenes from the Ramayana and Mahabharata come alive on cloth. Muslim rule saw more Persian designs were block-printed and then drawn onto thick cloths. And during the British era, floral designs became popular and artisans even created portraits of Englishmen.

Now
Kalamkari has been seen on ramps, with many designers looking to revive Indian textiles. Cotton with zari borders, linens, lycra and knits are beautified with kalamkari, for buyers to feast their eyes on.

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