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Diverse Traditions of Creative Expression in Odisha’s Textiles

Craft, Handloom, Art, Design, Designers

Diverse Traditions of Creative Expression in Odisha’s Textiles

Jain, Gunjan

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The handwoven textiles of Odisha are famous for their intricate weaves, bold colours, diverse designs and a large repository of motifs. This is the land of Chariphulia, Bhanumati, Bichitrapuri, NakshtraBhushan, Panchabati, Manihare, Muktamala, Bijoymala, Priyatama, Madhumati, Rajashree, Suchitra, Muktapunji, and several such creatively named textile designs. Textile historian Ghosh suggests that the art of weaving in India was developed and mastered first by the fishing communities.It is also believed that it was the spider, the weaverbird and myriad ways of nature that inspired human civilization to weave nets, mats, baskets and ultimately textiles. In Odisha, where we find an unbroken thread of craftsmanship that maps the history of human civilization, from the Paleolithiccelts and cave paintings of Kalahandi to neolithic boat workshops of Chilika,and numerous rivers and rivulets including the mighty Mahanadi, a four hundred fifty kilometer long coastline and verdant rainforests of the Eastern Ghats,both theories of the origins of weaving can be said to be valid here. It is learnt about the thriving trade between Kalinga and the South eastern Asian countries during 1-7th century BCE from Buddhist texts i.e., Ceylonese Chronicles, Dathvamsa, Dipwavamsa, Mahavamsa, Nikayas, Jataka Tales, Brahminical sources viz. Bharatmuni'sNatyashastras, Arthashastra by Kautilya, Raghuvamsha and Kumarsambhav by Kalidas, Skandapuran, VayuPuran, Mahabharata andRamayan etc. besides the accounts given by foreign tr...

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