Bishnupuri Silk Saree
Bishnupur, which is a town in the district of Bankura in West Bengal, is known mainly for its craftsmanship in sarees and its terracotta artwork .
It is famous for its silk weaving producing beautiful and exquisite Baluchari Sarees. In addition, it is known also for the Bishnupuri silk sarees which are light in weight and extremely fine in texture.
The Bishnupuri Silk Saree industry runs parallel to the Baluchari Saree industry.This being so since the Baluchari Sarees take a very long time to weave the intricate work thus slowing down the business a bit.This parallel industry created enough work for the business to stay afloat.
Bishnupur has been the home of silk weaving for almost 200 years. It has been the hub of silk weaving in Bengal as the British East India Company used to trade with Bengal for embroidered scarves, floral fabrics and dresses made of Bishnupuri Silk.
When in the 18th century the Baluchari industry slowly shifted to Bishnupur from Murshidabad due to the flooding of the Bhagirathi River, the level of work and craftsmanship increased and helped the place to grow from a village to an important centre for Bengali art and culture.
After the British curbed the Baluchari Saree industry by imposing heavy duties on them and increasing taxes on the production of Baluchari Sarees the Bishnupuri Silk industry also suffered.
It was revived in the late 20th century by an artist named Subho Thakur, who helped develop a new technique for weaving of the sarees which was called the Jacquard technique of weaving thus bringing new life into the industry.This technique reduced the time required to make one saree.
Bishnupuri Silk Sarees Today
Today the Bishnupuri silk saree industry has been rejuvenated and is one of the most important cottage industries in Bishnupur and Bankura. As the location of Bishnupur is not ideal for the cultivation or rearing of silkworms the required silk is obtained from the district of Murshidabad.
The Bishnupuri Silk Saree industry has grown today and is popular for its own beautiful block print, batik print and acid printed sarees that are beautiful and light. They are the choice of the modern woman for being easy to wear and to carry around.
Types of Bishnupuri Silk Sarees
There is no clear distinction between the different types of prints.
- Block Print: is a style of designing used in Bishnupuri sarees where a piece of wood is carved accordingly, dipped in paint and the design is manually put on the piece of cloth wherever the artist chooses to. This creates beautiful patterns over the cloth at symmetrical distances.
- Acid Print: is a type of dye print that uses acid dyes which react with silk and other chemicals to dye the cloth. It creates beautiful patterns on the cloth mainly on the pallu.
- Batik Print: is a type of wax print that is done over the whole cloth and is used to create beautiful symmetric designs over the cloth of contrasting colors that make the sarees look attractive and bright.