PATOLA

Surendranagar, Gujarat

The word ‘ikat’ is derived from the Malay-Indonesian word ‘mengikat’ which translates to ‘to tie’. Ikat is a resist dye technique used to pattern textiles. The more common methods of resist dyeing involve covering parts of a fabric to shield the reserved areas from penetration of the dye, as in tie-dyeing, where threads are wound around the fabric, or in batik, where wax is applied to the surface of the cloth.

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Ikat is a resist dye technique used to pattern textiles. The more common methods of resist dyeing involve covering parts of a fabric to shield the reserved areas from penetration of the dye, as in tie-dyeing, where threads are wound around the fabric, or in batik, where wax is applied to the surface of the cloth. The term "ikat" by contrast, is used for a process where prior to weaving, warp (lengthwise yarn) or weft (crosswise thread) or sometimes both are tied off with fiber knots that resist absorbing color and are then dyed. To facilitate the pattern tying, the threads are set up on a frame. They are then grouped into bunches of several threads to be tied at once; this results in the creation of knot units from which the overall pattern is built up. Resist ties are removed or new ones added for each color; their combinations create the design. After dyeing is completed, all resists are opened, and the patterned yarns are woven.

In the 19th century, Bukhara and Smarkand were famous for their fine silk Ikat, while India, Japan and several South-East Asian countries have cultures with long histories of Ikat production. One cannot find double Ikat simply but still it can be found in India, Guatemala, Japan and the Indonesian islands of Bali and Kalimantan. Ikat varies wildly from country to country and region to region. Generally Ikats are symbols of status, wealth, power and prestige. The migrant Vankar and the historical Maheshwari communities, now the native weavers of Rajkot and Surendranagar have mastered the technique of weaving musical compositions in cloth. Popat (parrot), Narikunj, Phulwadi, Chowkdi (cross), Chaabdi (Basket), Choktha, Navratna, Paanchphul, Sarvaiya, Laheriya are some of the patterns of Patola.

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