Orissa Textile Tour
That gloriously woven, blurry edged. Gem-coloured design, in gorgeous yarn of silk and cotton has become synonymous with Orissa. Speaking eloquently of its old maritime linkages with Bali, the Ikat tradition of Orissa is the intricate process of Tie and Dye i.e. knotting selections of yarn before dipping them in separate colours one at a time and finally weaving them to produce one of the most delightful designs in multi-hued tones, in motifs drawn from the richness of nature, in threads both silken and gold. The Ikat technique is commonly known as BANDHA in Orissa. The double-ikat designs from Sambalpur are great buys as are the gold embroidered ones from Sonepur. The Bomkai ikats have motifs drawn from the Shakti Cult. The weavers of Orissa are class by themselves. They have been known far and wide for the intricate and painstaking skill exhibited in their fabrics.
Tusser silk – produced from non-mulberry silk fabric is the famous nubby hand-reeled fabric in nature tones.
Each tribal community has separate mode of living and they differ significantly in their dress, ornaments, skill in building houses, and moreover in their way of life. This difference in their life is clearly discernible from their material culture, art objects from the paintings and drawings and also from the size and shapes of different objects that they use. To the tribal, dress is a cultural need and it is also a part of their tradition.
Among the tribals the use of dress is very significant and worthwhile. The tribals do not use dress just merely to hide their colorfulness rather it reflects the racial feeling and their cultural identity. The tribals use separate costumes at the time of festivals and ceremonies. In a specific tribe the dresses from birth to old age has immense variety. The costumes of the male members of the tribe and the females are also different. It is a fact that the female community pays more attention in covering their body. In some tribal communities the women folk want their male partners to be dressed elegantly and impressively. A tribal woman also wears a variety of dresses from her birth to death corresponding to different stages of her life. For instance, a Dhangedi(a maiden) adorns with fine clothes to attract the attention of others while the Gurumai, the priestess wears formal clothes to worship the goddess for the betterment of her community. Dress also helps them in many adversities and also helps to propitiate gods and goddesses who safeguard them against the malevolent atrocities of the ghosts, spirits, etc.
The tribals also use dress according to the position of individual in the society like the clan’s head, the priest, and the revenue collector etc. The dress that they use at the time of marriage, birth, death, worship etc. is also different. They use dresses keeping in view the occasion, age, sex and other factors. For example, the priest does not use the normal dress at the time of worship. And again at the time of dancing they dress in a very attractive manner. And the dancing costume has also special significance. They also wear dresses in different styles. While dressing they also keep in their mind the surroundings. They also think of their convenience and inconvenience while dressing themselves for an occasion. Especially they do not like to dress very pompously at the time of any work. But when they go for shopping to the near by market place or to visit any fair or festival they dress themselves quite exuberantly and exquisitely.
Different tribal communities use different kind of dresses, differing in their color and size. Their dresses are designed keeping in view their necessity and their surrounding. The socio-cultural and the religious views of the tribals slightly contribute for the variety in their dresses.
A Trip to the textile belt of Orissa is something to be discovered with its magnificent countryside friendly people and traditional welcome.