30 December, 2017

Kasuti Embroidered Ilkal Saree

Kasuti is a form of traditional embroidery prevalent in Karnataka. This ilkal saree is a beautiful intricate work of kasuti embroidery and contrast pallu. It is 70% cotton and 30% art silk. Festooned with traditional kasuti embroidery, a striped pallu, and zari detailing, this south silk saree effortlessly blends sophistication with elegance. All over buttas enhance the look of the saree. As the kasuti work is a very tedious work getting work done from a kasuti artist takes more than one month. This saree is a must have in your wardrobe. Kasuti work which is very intricate sometimes involves putting up to 5000 stitches by hand and is traditionally made on Ilkal sareesThe patterns are stitched without using knots to ensure that both sides of the cloth look alike Kasuti work which is very intricate. 
The history of Kasuti dates back to the Chalukya period. The name Kasuti is derived from the words Kai (meaning hand) and Suti (meaning cotton), indicating an activity that is done using cotton and hands. The women courtiers in the Mysore Kingdom in the 17th century were expected to be adept in 64 arts, with Kasuti being one of them.The Kasuti embroidery features folk designs influenced by rangoli patterns of Karnataka, mirror work embroidery and gold & silver thread embroidery were mostly used for special occasions like weddings. In Karnataka Sarees embroidered with Kasuti were expected to be a part of the bridal trousseau of which one saree made of black silk with Kasuti embroidery called Chandrakali saree was of premier importance.

Kasuti work

Kasuti work involves embroidering very intricate patterns like gopura, chariot, palanquin, lamps and conch shells. Locally available materials are used for Kasuti. The pattern to be embroidered is first marked with charcoal or pencil and then proper needles and thread are selected. The work is laborious and involves counting of each thread on the cloth. The patterns are stitched without using knots to ensure that both sides of the cloth look alike. Different varieties of stitches are employed to obtain the desired pattern. Some of the stitches employed are GantiMurgiNeyge and MentheGanti is a double running stitch used for marking vertical, horizontal and diagonal lines, Murgi is a zig-zag stitch, Neyge is a running stitch and Menthe is a cross stitch resembling fenugreek seeds.

Current scenario

Kasuti work has grown beyond its traditional boundaries to be used in other dress materials like the Mysore silk saree. A Kasuti centre was set up in Hubli, Karnataka by the Department of Social Welfare, Government of Karnataka to encourage the Kasuti culture and also provide a single roof for the rural women to showcase their craft. However, Kasuti work is suffering from poor patronage with not many people willing to take the craft seriously.

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