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The Swarnachari saree is often referred to as figured silk because of its floral and animal figures that have been used extensively on its body. The Swarnachari and Baluchari silk industry of Bengal has a glorious tradition for several hundred years. This saree is usually, five yards in length and about 42 inches in width. The end-piece (pallu) usually measured 24 to 32 inches broad and happened to be most richly ornamented. Swarnachari sarees, today often have depictions from scenes of Mahabharat and Ramayana. During the Mughal and British eras, they had a square design in the pallu with paisley motifs in them, and depicted scenes from the lives of the Nawab of Bengal featuring women smoking hookahs, nawabs driving horse carriages, and even European officers of the East India Company. The Swarnachari weavers lavishes most of their skill in decorating the 'pallu' and the traditional kalka design is common and is found disposed in panels of rectangular shape. The kalka is another widely popular traditional motif found in many works of art in Bengal. In the range of the silk textiles Swarnachari products are un-parallel for their superfine weave, beautiful motifs and designs and unique colour combination which the Bengal weavers produces by their indigenous looms.
Vikram Raj Bhardwaj
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