Paithani Gold Sari
This Paithani gold sari has roots across central and western India, but weavers in Paithan and nearby Burhanpur were so skilled in this technique that these textiles became known as Paithani saris. The earliest high-quality examples of this type of fabric that still survive are believed to be from the mid to late 18th century.
They are usually woven out of silk and gold, with weavers creating enamel-like designs in silk on top of the gold ground of the fabric. The weavers give these designs added dimension by outlining them in contrasting colors. This patterning is similar to a style that was popular in the courts of Mughal India and Safavid Iran, but the Paithani fabric is unique because the weavers created it using a dovetail tapestry technique.
Weavers outdid themselves creating Paithani saris with increasingly elaborate decoration into the mid-19th century under the patronage of the Maratha courts. The demand for saris made from this labor intensive weaving technique shrank in the 20th century, as fewer people were able to afford the expense these saris demanded. Paithan was the only craft center whose weavers continued to produce these magnificent textiles into the 20th century, until a revived interest in them in the 1980s spurred a revival and even expansion of the craft.
Circa: late 18th century
Material: Silk and gold thread weave
Condition: Some staining, good
Dimensions: 344" x 45.5"
Inventory number: TX4565