Are you one of those who love the world famous weaves from Banaras or chikankari embroidery, but don’t know how to differentiate between what’s real and what’s fake? Take note of some important indicators before you make a purchase.
Tips on how to judge the originality of a weave:
1 The best way to determine if a particular handcrafted product is from India or not is to buy from brands that have certifications from local agencies like Craft Mark.
2 To judge whether the chikankari on your cloth is by machine or not, it is suggested that one should see the kind of embroidery the piece of art boasts of. If it is handcrafted, the cloth will have French knots, shadow stitch, criss cross embroidery. In the machine made ones, you do not find these embroideries.
3 Patola weaving technique has travelled far overseas and some countries like Indonesia and Japan still have fabrics woven with this technique. However, there is quite a difference in the colours and motifs in India. Patola from Gujarat has an overdose of colour and intricacy. Although both double and single Ikat is being practised elsewhere, but design is something that can be copied assuming that the technique has been well mastered.
4 When it comes to Assam silks, the silks used here are Muga, pat, eri. Pat is a very soft silk and to differentiate between handwoven and machine made, is by the locking system noticeable at the back of the sari.
5 Also, in machine made saris, there are a lot of limitations like colour and sharpness of the designs. The special aspect of handwoven Assam saris are that the border is woven separately and stitched on the sari.
6 One can differentiate a machine made sari from a handwoven one by the pallu and its border. In a handwoven piece, the backside of the pallu or border is a replica. In a machine made one, you will find a lot of threads hanging. Also in machine made, there are a lot of limitations like colour, sharpness of the design and intricacy.
7 Authentic hand block prints will have small flaws in the printing and drops of extra colours here and there. There will also be very distinct designs in bright colours whereas printed designs will be 100% consistent.
8 Authentic Banarasi weaves can be judged by looking at the reverse side of the sari. The ones done by hand will be heavy on thread work at the back and will look very different from the front. Also, only an original sari would have floats.
9 Another way to identify a real Banarasi sari is to check for a six to eight inch long patch of plain silk on the pallu of the Banarasi saree.
10 An original sari will mostly carry Mughal patterns like amru, ambi and domak. A fake Banarasi saree wouldn’t have these Indian hand made Persian designs on it.
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