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The Bridal Sari of the erstwhile Queen of Sawantwadi 1922

December 27, 2017 2 min read

I’ve seen a dozen or so amazing  antique zari  saris but none has been as unusual as this one seen in the museum of Sawantwadi,

This shalu – a zari woven wedding sari that is 9 yards long – is from the trousseasu of the erstwhile (and last) queen of Sawantwadi.

As in all saris, it is the end that hangs from the shoulder that receives the most attention – from the maker, the wearer and the beholder.

This pallu is completely filled with a geometric motifs woven in thread with precious metal content  or  “real” zari.

But the ‘never-have-I-ever-seen” feature here is the overlay of paintings on the zari.

There are 5 superbly handpainted portraits that are so good they look like prints!


How this was done… which artist did this – whose idea was it …. all these facts are lost in time. But the stunning product of their creativity remains!

A few photos taken with a phone camera under poor lighting conditions (as is the case in all textile exhibits all over the world)…. but am grateful they allowed photography!





This unknown museum has only a handful of old items – and the premises are not fancily maintained.

But it has this ONE treasure, and that makes it a terrific museum in my opinion.

The building, the lighting, the curators, the rest of the taam-jhaam (as we say in Hindi) are all good to have – but in the end it is the object that makesthe museum!

This will probably be my last exciting textile seen in 2017!

Seen in a small town Sawantwadi just outside Goa!

Dec 2017

Museum walk presented by

jaina mishra | wovensouls

View more Exquisite Antique Textiles and more on


A note from one of the readers who happened to be the conservator of this sari!!!

(how lucky we are to receive the gift of this connection!)

“Thank you Jaina Mishra, ANTIQUE INDIAN TEXTILES for sharing display information of this Saree. It reminded me how difficult it was working on this magnificent work of art in 2010, recreating images using conservation stitches took three months of hard work. It was featured in economic times as well in 2011. Rajamata Shubhangini Raje Gaekwad of Vadodara had taken an initiative to conserve this saree.
#textileheritageconservation #textilepreservation


The post The Bridal Sari of the erstwhile Queen of Sawantwadi 1922 appeared first on The Art Blog by WOVENSOULS.COM.

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