History: Paithan & Paithani

What is Paithani?

Paithani is synonym for a Traditional Indian Textile woven as 9 yard or 6 yard or occasionally 4 and 11 yard textile essentially with an ornate woven jari Border, jari butti’s spread over the body and an ensemble of intricate motifs as Pallu (Padar or Pallav) on the background of Golden Jari. Most of its history. Most of its historical references [in scripts, rituals and tell-a-tale’s] it was known as GOLDEN WEAVE due to rich and abundant Gold threads.

Although a contemporary definition excludes the historical broader purpose and restrict it to a Indian Saree for women, traditionally it was worn by men and women [as 4 yard] draped around waist. It was also popular and many a time essential drape for Deities [God sculptures] in temples. Royals and people with special status used it as shawl over shoulder and was a representation of their social status and recognition.

The ability of  woven fabric to adopt ones imagination and fancy reflect very significantly in Paithani. Tent curtains, palace window rolls, tobacco pouches, throws, Pagadi-Pataka’s [head gears for men], Coates and shawls and at times a Newborn’s  tiny drapes were found and noted that were made exclusively from Paithani. Sometime from chopping of the 4 yards and sometimes woven for the purpose.

* For the present write-up Paithani and Golden Weave will be used interchangeably based on context.

Terminology:

For most of its presence, this textile was referred as “Golden Weave” for the simplest identification of being woven with Gold metal wires (threads) and cotton or silk threads. It is noteworthy that while it is possible that other forms of textile was woven parallel to Paithani, the reference to Golden Weave was directed to Paithani and Paithan. This sets apart the Paithani from all period textiles as one and unique. 

Name ‘Paithani’ came at the end of 17th century when Indian continent became ensemble of ruling princely states and each kingdom unified its territories and specialities. In this era most identities derived from the place of origin and thus Paithani from Paithan, Banarasi from Banaras, Patan Patola from Patan and so forth.

Paithan: Situated near Aurangabad and Ahmednagar in Maharashtra, India
Paithan: Temple

Paithan:

A small historical town that made significant progress in its identity during Satvahana’s dynasty. Systematic, progressive and ruled by religious foundation of Buddhism, Satvahana King’s made overall impact in political, economic and social welfare. A stable and developing kingdom allowed flourishing environment for innovation in technologies, farming and art forms of painting, weaving and decorating the rather common necessities of life. A essential vision for promoting art was so profound that the worlds finest monument was built despite the oddities from nature, technology and work force. From bird eye view one may feel the depth and glory of architecture, landscaping and woven art apart from a world most respected treasure of monuments and mural paintings associated in Ajanta and Ellora Caves.

Origin:

The origin of Golden weave is attributed to some 5000 years in the primitive yet well advanced form. Available historical references indicate its presence since then. [We will present those in later part of this article].

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