Made using baun, a handloom fabric from Uttar Pradesh, these saris are woven in the state’s southwestern districts of Lalitpur, Jhansi and Jalaun. It is closely related to motia, a weaving tradition practised in the rest of the state. Baun saris are woven using coarse cotton — typically dyed blood red (khooni), parrot green (totiya), dark green (gehra hara), indigo (neela) or brown (katthi) — mixed with either zari or coloured threads for extra-warp patterning in the border and body.
Saris of finer quality contain gold and silver thread for extra warp patterning, while those of kasbi or chadhiyaon variety used for daily wear, use coloured cotton yarn of orange, magenta and white (replacing the zari) as the extra warp for border patterning and stripes in the body. A third variety, worn only for weddings, is the churia in which the extra-weft patterns are woven with pattu, or silk floss. The baun sari although of the same dimensions as a traditional sari, is worn differently — draped as a skirt with a foldover along one side of their width, through which a drawstring is then passed. They have traditionally been worn with a jhabla made of gara and a printed head-drape known as kalmi.
After the 1970s, weavers who were producing baun either abandoned the profession or took up the production of the more commercially successful Chanderi saris, which have received a geographical indication (GI) tag. Today, a small number of contemporary designers, such as Varun Narkar, are adopting the style of weaving found in baun saris in an effort to preserve and revitalise the dying craft.
Our website is currently undergoing maintenance and re-design, due to which we have had to take down some of our bibliographies. While these will be re-published shortly, you can request references for specific articles by writing to firstname.lastname@example.org.