The whole nine yards

The sari is the most representative apparel of India that has intrigued men and tempted women all over the world. Worn in a variety of ways, the sari is a fabric-length of varying densities in its body, borders and end pieces often woven by combining a range of cottons and silks in colours and patterns that are constantly evolving.

Traveling through India district by district and almost village by village, in Saris: Tradition and Beyond Rta Kapur Chishti and Martand Singh explore an entire spectrum of traditional weavers and printer settlements in fourteen sari-producing states of the country. Kapur Chishti is the co-author and editor of previously published Saris of India volumes on Madhya Pradesh; Bihar and West Bengal as well as Handcrafted Indian Textiles – Tradition and Beyond. She has been consistently involved with research and development of handspun-handloom textiles. Singh, Chairman of INTACH U.K. Trust (Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage) was the Director of Calico Museum of Textiles and has been awarded the Padma Bhushan.

This book is an exhaustive overview of this fascinating unstitched garment and a cutting-edge documentation of design and all that supports it socially, culturally and economically. This is also the first comprehensive compilation of the whole range and scale of the sari: the structures, designs, colours, the format and technology that make up the lingua of the sari; the inspiration, living experience and sensibilities of the weaving and printing communities; their economic viability and market system; and their predicament in an age of transition. For the first time, this book offers a step-by-step guide for at least 108 ways of draping the sari, through a series of line drawings and colour photographs, after revealing the rationale of the varying lengths and widths of the sari in the distinctive wearing styles of every region. Produced after twenty years of research, Saris illustrates the vibrancy and splendour of this age-old garment through extensive documentation and stunning photographs.

In our Culture section, in hardcover, 276 pages, Rs 3500. ISBN 9788174363749

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