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A Brief History of Ashavali Sarees

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Interview conducted in Ahmedabad in November 2017

Radhika Lalbhai speaks about Ashavali sarees, a style of weaving from Ahmedabad to which references are found from the 16th century. Believed by some to have influenced the brocade traditions of Benaras through the migration of Gujarati weavers, Ashavali fabrics were made by Khatris and Patels, and used primarily by royalty and nobles. They were worn as sarees, jamas and patkas, or used for canopies, and decorations for camels and elephants.

 

Ashavali sarees are distinguished by the enamelled look of the border—which are sometimes woven onto Patola sarees—and the interwoven designs. The pallu is also very important. Radhika Lalbhai displays designs like the badshah pallu (common to Balucheri sarees) and chand-tara, and motifs like the parrot and peacock, some of which are found in  other arts of Gujarat like mocha embroidery, beadwork and jaliwork.