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Pulicat handkerchiefs from lots of of years in the past are actually being revived

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AARDE Basis is weaving the story of Coromandel cotton, reviving its legacy and showcasing its heritage

AARDE Basis is weaving the story of Coromandel cotton, reviving its legacy and showcasing its heritage

For lengthy, Tamil sailors carried a secret once they went to sea. Their vessels have been sturdier than anybody else’s, not even the strongest one within the British, Dutch or Portuguese fleets may outperform them. The lads spoke not a phrase about this, till Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama bribed certainly one of them in desperation. “He discovered that the reply lay of their sails,” says Xavier Benedict, the founding father of AARDE Basis, a non-profit that’s concerned within the promotion and conservation of Pulicat. Tamil sails have been woven with locally-sourced cotton alongside the Coromandel Coast and have been thicker and sturdier. This cotton is now seeing a revival, due to the efforts of his basis. Xavier has roped in Nationwide Award-winning textile printer Ok. Dakshinamurthy to recreate this cloth, which will likely be on show at Pulicat on August 27.

Pulicat handkerchiefs that will be on display

Pulicat handkerchiefs that will likely be on show
| Photograph Credit score: Particular association

Dakshinamurthy has created 16 patterns on Coromandel cotton utilizing block-printing method. “The designs are intricate and are near what was in use within the sixteenth Century in Pulicat,” says the 71-year-old, who now works as a grasp printer on the Kalakshetra Basis. “They have been used as handkerchiefs again then,” he says.

Dakshinamurthy, throughout his stint on the Weavers Service Centre at Rajaji Bhavan within the metropolis, researched on the sample, and curated the designs that have been historically printed on materials at Pulicat, Ponneri, and Walajabad. “It’s fascinating to notice how detailed the designs are,” he says, including, “I attempted to stay as shut as attainable to the unique and used pure dyes.” These embody colors extracted from soapnut, manjistha root, and palash flowers.

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Xavier has lengthy been mulling over the revival of Coromandel cotton. “Identical to native rice varieties, there have been 1000’s of cotton varieties native to the Tamil panorama,” he factors out. “Sadly, we misplaced all of them to the invasion of American cotton. What’s left is only one selection, the Karungani.”

Tamil kings swore by Coromandel cotton: Xavier says that Raja Raja Chola used sails product of this cotton to cross the ocean. “It lasted eight to 10 months, in contrast to European sails that had to get replaced each two to 3 months,” he provides.

The sails gave Tamil sailors wings: they may journey throughout the ocean, whereas the Dutch, Portuguese, and the British needed to stick near the coast to make common pitstops to vary their sails. “They invaded us for cotton, and never for spices,” factors out Xavier, including: “Spice was utilized in alternate for this cotton.”

K Dakshinamurthy at work

Ok Dakshinamurthy at work
| Photograph Credit score: Particular association

The materials on show are a tribute to this historic cotton that thrived on the Coromandel coast’s black soil. “The identify Coromandel is in truth derived from the Tamil phrases kari (black) and manal (sand),” says Xavier. “It was solely after a lot later, as soon as harbours have been constructed alongside the coast, that the color of the sand change to what it’s now.”

This experiment is only the start. Xavier hopes to make these materials commercially viable to be tailor-made into garments in two to 3 months. If that occurs, we will quickly put on a kurta with designs that have been as soon as printed on a handkerchief lots of of years in the past in Pulicat.

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The Pulicat handkerchiefs will likely be on show at AARDE Basis’s workplace at Pulicat. It’s a part of Hint The Origin of Madras heritage stroll that’s on at the moment as a part of Madras Day celebrations.

By- The Hindu

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