CHENNAI: A Kancheepuram-based traditional weaver has documented the basic patterns which adorn the silk town’s much celebrated saree.
In granting Kancheepuram silk saree the geographic indication (GI) status in 2006, the Government of India recognised the unique craftsmanship of the silk town’s traditional handloom weavers. But, according to 56-year-old B Krishnamoorthy, modern elements are increasingly being incorporated into saree designs, which he fears will lead to the knowledge of traditional designs being lost forever.
Speaking to City Express, Krishnamoorthy, a recipient of the National Award in 2012, said, “Perhaps, it was done to attract younger patrons. But the fact remains that today very few are aware of its original intricate designs.”
He recalled his experiences of interacting with students of National Institute of Fashion Technology, and other institutes. “When they came to Kancheepuram, they were very curious. They were totally unaware of the saree’s traditional and intricate designs.”
Thus started Krishnamoorthy’s mission to document all the traditional designs, without which he says one cannot find any Kancheepuram saree. After six months, he has documented about 114 designs with corresponding names into a catalogue. All were drawn by hand and then its graphic was digitally uploaded.
“It is impossible to design a saree without incorporating these traditional designs. You may find flowers or divine figures in the saree but the saree gets its base design from any of the 114 patterns that I have documented.”
The man may have dropped out of school after Class 10 but he certainly knows the art of weaving, which he took to when he was just 15. Interestingly, his wife K Jayanthi (46) also received the National Award for excellence in weaving last year. “Years may pass but traditional designs should not be forgotten by the youth and future generation,” he says.