Posted on July 01 2019
Early usage of silk dates back to 3630 BC in the Chinese Henan Province. Silk and its relation to clothing garments are said to have begun around this time. The oldest form of silk garments was in the appearance of silk belts. Originally, silk was only reserved for the royal family of China, their close family members, and high ranking dignitaries. Gradually, silk became a common possession among those who could afford it.
From China, silk started to spread its journey to other regions in the world such as Persia, Italy and across Asia. India experienced the first silk brought by early traders during this time. The popularity of silk grew while many residents began the practice of sericulture. The weavers utilized the fabric exclusively for the usage of royal families and temples. Tamil Nadu was one of the popular producers of silk. And the most popular creation, the silk sarees. Sarees were woven from pure mulberry silk thread. The famous Kanchipuram silk sarees were created using the mulberry silk and the golden thread zari from Gujarat. At this time period, the design of Kanchipuram silk sarees was inspired by South Indian temples, birds, animals, leaves and other features of nature.
The quality and craftsmanship of skillfully woven silk sarees increased their popularity among women all over the region. Over time, silk sarees became a common commodity among South Indian women. Special occasions like weddings, temple functions, etc., saw women clad in gorgeous, pure silk sarees. The popularity grew to great heights that it marked the beginning of wedding silk sarees that were solely designed for grand occasions.
The sarees reflected our cultural heritage, which helped in its popularity all over the world. The journey of silk continues until this day. The evolution of the traditional silk saree to contemporary everyday wear has resulted in stirring the interests in many modern women. And, we’d like to think that the tradition would be kept alive by the generations too!