What Is Ikat Print? Know Things To Keep In Mind Before Buying A Piece

What Is Ikat Print? Know Things To Keep In Mind Before Buying A Piece

What Is Ikat Print? Know Things To Keep In Mind Before Buying A Piece

May 28, 2024


Country: India

Region: Asia

Ikat Prints: The term 'ikat' originates from the Malay word 'mengikat,' meaning to tie or bind. It's a technique used in textile design, achieved through resist dyeing.

By Utsa Ganguly | Updated at: 13 May 2024 04:34 PM (IST)

Ikat Print: Know Things To Keep In Mind Before Buying A Piece How To Identify An Original One What Is Ikat Print? Know Things To Keep In Mind Before Buying A Piece

Ikat is a dyeing method originating from Indonesia, utilised to create patterns on textiles by employing resist dyeing on yarns before dyeing and weaving the fabric. The term is also used to denote similar traditions in various other cultures. In Southeast Asia, ikat weaving traditions can be categorised into two main groups. The first group is observed among Daic-speaking communities, while the second, larger group is among the Austronesian people. Comparable dyeing and weaving techniques, evolving independently, are also found in other parts of the world, including India, Central Asia, Japan, Africa, and the Americas.

What Are Ikat Prints?
Paridhi Dhanuka, Assistant Professor, Department of Fashion, Pearl Academy said, "The term 'ikat' originates from the Malay word 'mengikat,' meaning to tie or bind. It's a technique used in textile design, achieved through resist dyeing. In this process, specific sections of yarn are tied and dyed before weaving, resulting in intricate patterns. Typically, either the warp or weft threads are tied and dyed, while the untreated yarn softens the pattern. When the warp is dyed, it's called warp ikat, and when the weft is dyed, it's referred to as weft ikat."

"The pattern is created by tightly wrapping fibres around stretched warp or weft threads, which are then immersed in dye baths. This process can be repeated with different colours to create complex patterns, often in plain weaves. Compound ikat involves both warp and weft threads receiving resist dyeing, while double ikat requires precise intermeshing of tie-dyed warp and weft patterns," she added. 

Fabrics On Which Ikat Print Looks Good
Ikat is a labour-intensive process where yarns are meticulously dyed before weaving, resulting in intricate patterns that exude heritage and sophistication.

Talking about the versatility of Ikat Prints, Udita Bansal, founder of trueBrowns said, "Whether on breezy cotton sarees for everyday wear or luxurious silk creations for special occasions, the patterns complement these natural fabrics enhancing their elegance and charm while evoking a sense of self-discovery."

Motifs Typically Seen On Ikat:
Motifs in Ikat textiles vary from region to region. Ikat is practised across India, particularly in Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, and Orissa. Initially, natural dyes were used for ikat patterns. Double ikat in India is known as Patola in Gujarat, Telia Rumal in Andhra Pradesh, Geringsing in Bali, Indonesia, and Kasuri in Japan, and is renowned as one of the most prestigious and expensive textiles in the world.

Patola Textile:
Talking about the Patola textiles, Paridhi said, "These are esteemed for their intricate double ikat patterns, featuring bold grid-based designs adorned with elaborate geometrical, floral, and figurative motifs. Patola textiles have been celebrated in the writings of numerous eminent poets and authors of Gujarati literature, lauded as exquisite silk creations. Woven preferably from the finest Chinese or Thai silk, Patola symbolises refinement, wealth, and cultural heritage. With their stylised motifs and rich palette of colours, Patola textiles exhibit a mosaic-like appearance, often enhanced by a glazed satin texture punctuated with vibrant multicoloured stripes, a hallmark of Ikat Mashru Textiles."

Bandhas Textile:
Ikat is known as Bandhas in Orissa and the region's patterns possess a distinct indigenous identity. Paridhi said, "These traditional single ikat designs boast a soft, curvilinear quality, with the cotton and silk textiles producing a feathered, flame-like hazy effect on geometric forms. The addition of extra weft techniques in the ikat areas further enriches the texture, contributing to the unique aesthetic. Shlokas or verses from the Geeta Gobinda are often woven into Orissa's ikat textiles, referred to as Pheta. The antiquity of ikat weaving in Orissa is ingrained in local customs, evident through the preservation of ancient ikat cloth. Floral, figurative, and geometrical patterns dominate Orissa's single ikat textiles, characterised by grid-based designs and linear pattern repeats."

Telia Of Andhra Pradesh:
Talking about the Ikat textiles in Andhra Pradesh, Paridhi said, "They have been integral to the region's cultural fabric for generations. Telia Rumal or Chowkas exemplifies this tradition, featuring bold geometric and abstract motifs in red, black, and white hues, complemented by wide single-coloured borders. These elements converge to create a harmonious central unit, with dark areas on dupattas and veils embellished with intricate motifs embroidered in cotton silk, silver gilt, and gold thread. Influenced by Gujarat's Patola textiles, Andhra Pradesh's ikat artisans employ various design techniques, resulting in a diverse range of patterns and styles."

How You Can Distinguish An Original Ikat From A Fake One
Pinky Rai, Design Team Lead, The Indian Garage Co, listed the following ways by which you can distinguish an original ikat from a fake one:

Look for Irregularities: Authentic Ikat prints often have slight irregularities in the pattern due to the handwoven or hand-dyed process. These imperfections are a sign of authenticity.

Check the Back: Examine the backside of the fabric. If the pattern is visible on both sides, it’s likely a fake. Authentic Ikat usually shows the pattern only on one side, as the dye doesn’t fully penetrate the fibres.

Feel the Texture: Authentic Ikat textiles often have a slightly coarse texture due to their handwoven nature. Fake ones might feel smoother or have a synthetic feel.

Examine the edges: Authentic Ikat fabrics typically have slightly uneven or frayed edges, whereas fake ones may have perfectly straight edges.

Consider the Price: If the price seems too good to be true, it probably is. Handcrafted Ikat textiles are labour-intensive and therefore tend to be more expensive.

Research the Seller: Buy from reputable sellers or artisans who specialise in traditional crafts. Research their background and customer reviews to ensure authenticity.

Things To Keep In Mind Before Buying An Ikat Print:
Paridhi mentioned the things to be kept in mind before buying an Ikat Print:

Authenticity: Understanding the origin of Ikat fabric holds significance. Ikat is crafted in various parts of the world, including regions in India such as Gujarat, Orissa, and Andhra Pradesh. The complexity and composition of designs vary regionally. An authentic Ikat fabric can be distinguished by its reversible nature, as its threads are initially tied, dyed, and then woven into the final cloth. Therefore, it's essential to examine the reverse side of the fabric before purchasing to ensure its authenticity and avoid purchasing a printed imitation.

Fabric Composition: Ikats are typically crafted from pure cotton, pure silk, or a blend of both. Therefore, if someone is trying to pass off polyester fabric as Ikat, it's incorrect because authentic Ikats do not use polyester.

Costing: Handloom cotton Ikat fabrics are priced between 800 rupees per metre to 2500 rupees per meter, depending on the intricacy of the design. Silk Ikat fabrics range from 1500 rupees per meter to as high as 50,000 rupees per meter. However, a similar aesthetic can be achieved with power loom fabrics, providing a more budget-friendly option.

Colour Fastness: It's crucial to note that Ikat fabric should exhibit colour fastness to prevent bleeding. If the colour bleeds, it may result in one colour spreading onto another, adversely affecting the pattern's appearance.

Courtesy: News.abplive.com

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