Acc. No. 97. 12/2
Shantiniketan, West Bengal
Designed by Nandalal Bose
490 x 114 cms.
Gift of Shri Bansi Mehta from his wife Sushila Asher’s Collection.
BATIK is one of the earliest methods used for creating designs on fabrics. There are diverse opinions regarding the origin of the art. According to some scholars it originated in China while some ascribe its origin to India and Java. Popularly it is known as Javanese art of wax printing. The design is created by resist dyeing process using wax as the resist, which retains the original fabric colour in the patterns, after dyeing the material. It was forgotten in our country till the University of Shantiniketan revived the art around 1923. Pratima Tagore learnt this Batik technique in Paris and started the workshops at Shantiniketan.
The present sari is a unique example of Batik specially designed sometime around 1940 by Nandalal Bose, a renowned artist of the Bengal School, for a performance to be staged in front of Gurudev Tagore. Gauri, the daughter of Nandababu, executed it in Batik. The sari is designed on motia or off-white fine silk and the patterns were drawn with brush and tjanting method in which a copper vessel filled with hot wax is used. A gentle flow of wax is maintained through the spout to draw a freehand design. The brown silk sari has bold floral creeper designs on the pallu, border and in the centre where it is to be pleated into multiple folds.
The sari was worn by Sushila Asher while performing the famous dance drama Shyama as well as Natir puja in 1940, in the presence of Gurudev Tagore.