An alternative golden silk for sari borders

Assam specialty

An alternative golden silk for sari borders
Sari is almost synonymous with the word silk. Undoubtedly, sari has been the traditional costume of India since time immemorial. 

There are innumerable references in ancient Indian literature about this draped garment whose production, designs, motives, texture and the style of wearing differ over time, place and people. 
 
Kanchipuram silk weaving is an example of unique craftsmanship.

A typical Kanchipuram sari is known for its distinguished characteristics of heavy weight, bright, contrasting colours, Korvai (joining pallu ends with body ends) work, and more importantly, the pure golden border with gorgeous pallu. 
 
The material that beautifies the Kanchipuram silk saris is the gold lace, popularly known as zari. The sari is woven with mulberry silk yarn of two ply warp and three ply wefts using pure golden zari for borders and also as supplementary warp and weft for creating designs. 

In fact, the price of this silk sari depends on the extent and intricacy of the pure gold zari work. 

Changing fashion trends, mainly the exorbitant price of gold, prompted the concerned to replace pure gold zari with alternative materials, as the ever-increasing gold price has kept many Kanchipuram silk sari aspirants at bay! 

These consistent efforts came out with the most suitable material — golden muga silk yarn! It is used in lieu of pure golden zari.

The pride of India, muga silk is known for its natural shimmering golden hue. Exclusive to Assam, this silk is eco-friendly and does not need dyeing.
 
The golden muga (also called as ‘mooga’ or ‘moonga’) silk is produced by Antheraea  assama — a multi-voltine, semi-domesticated Saturniid. 
 
It is reared outdoors, up to six crops per annum, and can feed on the leaves of 14 species of food plants, out of which Machilles bombycina King (Som) and Litsaea polyantha (Soalu) are the primary food plants. 
 
The vibrant Mekhala-chaddar and Sualkuchi saris are the main attraction. 

The golden muga yarn is gradually replacing the golden zari of silk saris in many a silk-weaving enclaves.

The product diversification effort of introducing golden muga silk as extra warp and weft has also added new dimension to the design vocabulary, long-awaited subdued texture, unique luster, sober and elegant look. 

The famed traditional Kanchipuram tissue saris are also bought as bridal wear. But again, due to its golden zari component, the cost of these tissue saris is high. 

In these saris, the zari is used both as warp or weft along with silk yarn in place of body, border and pallu as well. 

As a result, these saris become very heavy, stiff and lose the drape. But, replacing this golden zari with muga silk yarn solves such problems.

Infused with mulberry silk, muga yarn has quite a few advantages...

Cost of the saris comes down drastically without deterring the classic look of the golden zari work. 

These days, pure golden zari silk sari is not easily affordable to one and all. The extra glitter and brightness of the golden zari is replaced by the muga silk yarn that has a subdued texture and sober look. 

The golden hue and the unique luster of the muga yarn do not fade to light and wash.
 
Muga yarn-infused mulberry silk saris are lighter in weight with durability, flexibility, drape, comfort and sober but elegant look.


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