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    Assistant Professor (On Contract) Dept. of Fashion Technology

    Assumption College, Autonomous Changanacherry, Kottayam, Kerala-686101





    I hereby declare that the Minor Project Report titled Cultural Value

    Addition of Hand Woven Silk Linen Sarees through the Adaptation of

    Traditional African Adinkra Textile Design Motifs (1935-MRP/14-

    15/KLMG034/UGC-SWRO ) are the outcome of the investigations carried

    out by me at Assumption College, Changanacherry, Kottayam, Kerala

    according to the plan and proposal and guidelines of the University grants

    Commission and the same has not been submitted earlier.

    April 30, 2018 Liz Thankom Mathew

    Principal Investigator


    I would like to express my deep sense of gratitude to The Principal,

    Assumption College, Changanacherry for providing all the support and

    encouragement for the effective conduct of this minor research project. I am

    grateful to my colleagues of the Dept. of Fashion Technology, for their co-

    operation and help.

    I extend my heartfelt gratitude to the University Grants Commission

    for the financial assistance.

    I express my sincere thanks to Mr. Thiyaneswaran for his rendering

    of technical assistance during the project period.

    My special bouquet of thanks to G.D.R. Silks, Sathyamangalam for

    their perseverance, support and timely assistance.

    Above all, I thank God Almighty for His perennial source of blessings

    showered upon me always.

    Liz Thankom Mathew


    Sl. No. Title Page No. Abstract

    List of Tables

    List of Plates

    1. Introduction 1 2. Review of Literature 5

    2.1 Traditional Textiles of the World

    2.2 Hand weaving in India

    2.3 Incorporation of Traditional Motifs in

    Designing for Sarees

    3. Materials and Methods 15 3.1 Collection of Suitable Adinkra Textile Motifs

    3.2 Design Development of saree Borders and Pallavs

    3.3 Evaluation and Finalization of Artworks

    3.4 Identification of Reliable Source for Weaving

    3.5 Collection of the Final Product

    4. Result and Discussion 18 4.1 Identification of Suitable Adinkra Textile Motifs

    4.2 Design Development

    4.3 Evaluation and Finalization of Layouts

    4.4 Product Development

    4.5 Collection of the Final Woven Saree

    5. Conclusion 41 6. References 43 Appendix 46


    Textile art refers to all textile based decorations. This art was inspired

    by nature and developed through natural resources of the countries and the

    available tools and materials. Throughout history, fashion and textiles have

    reflected the influence of culture and conventions by the inclusion of popular

    design motifs. Hand weaving is a symbol of versatility and creativity of living

    craft. But the handloom sector is facing stiff competition from power loom

    and mechanized sector. One way to empower handloom weavers and build

    their capacity to enhance competitiveness of their products in the domestic as

    well as global market in a sustainable and reliable manner is to provide them

    with new and appealing design patterns. As the predilection for eco-friendly

    garments caught on, hand woven linen and linen blends have become a

    fashionable alternative to silks. Silk linen is aesthetically and functionally

    valued for its blend of luxury of silk and the distinct and specific properties

    such as excellent absorbing qualities, natural strength, luster, durability and

    healing benefits. African textiles are characterized by their bright colours and

    intricate patterns. ADINKRA TEXTILES were traditionally made for

    royalty to wear at religious occasions. These cloths are block printed and

    patterned using the Adinkra symbols with different meanings. The people use

    a black dye made out of a bark and it is what gives its name. The main

    colours used are red brown and black. The proposed research was focused on

    introducing the Adinkra Textile motifs into hand woven silk linen saree

    lengths to make it a better alternative for both formal and informal occasions.

    It aimed at reviving both African and Indian traditional wears and served as

    an initiative towards popularizing the less known African Tradition and

    towards the aesthetic value addition of the six yard long Indian traditional

  • hand woven wonder-the saree. The experimental study involved the

    adaptation of the above said Adinkra motifs for designing for the body part of

    the saree to contrast with the border and pallav of silk linen sarees. Various

    Adinkra motifs were collected, analysed and considered for design

    development. Five saree layouts were developed with different placement of

    motifs. The layouts were subjected to evaluation by a panel often judges. The

    selected layout was taken for further development as the saree. A reliable

    source for weaving was identified and the designs were edited using

    computers to suit the weaving particulars and to facilitate weaving at the

    identified source. The raw materials required were procured and the weaving

    was done successfully with rarely any difficulties. The final product was

    collected and report of the study was submitted.


    Table No. Title

    Table No.1 Score obtained for the Designs

    Table No. 2 Product Cost Calculation

    Table No.3 Cost Evaluation


    Plate No. Title

    Plate 1 - 2 Adinkra Motifs

    Plate 3 - 7 Artworks

    Plate 8 Computer Edited Final Design

    Plate 9 Punched Cards

    Plate 10 - 11 Saree Weaving at Sathyamangalam

    Plate 12 Loom with the Warp.

    Plate 13 Weaving of the Saree

    Plate 14 Folding and Packing

    Plate 15 - 16 Final Woven product


    Textiles reveal the history of the world, rise and fall of civilizations,

    great adventures of conquest, religion and trade. The Silk Route also known

    as Silk Road was not only for the trade of spices, precious metals and other

    items of value, but also for the trading of the most luxurious and desirable

    commodity of all the silk textiles and facilitated the introduction of less

    known traditional textiles to other parts of the world as part of trade. The

    word textile comes from the Latin verb Texere which means To weave, to

    braid or to construct. These textiles were first made of perishable materials

    like animal fur, wool, linen, cotton or silk. The development of better quality

    yarn and further experiments resulted in fixed structures for making textiles

    on which one set of the threads could be stretched out to maintain tension

    and the other set could be woven in and out with fingers. Further

    developments led to the invention of the heddles followed by the loom for

    weaving. The decoration of such made textiles evolved as a result of textures

    produced during the process of construction and the use of colored yarns

    along with. From these humble beginnings, weavers ultimately explored the

    complexities of tapestry, brocades and extra warp and weft figuring. Another

    method of decoration included the design application to the surface of a

    piece of finished cloth employing pigments and dyes which helped in

    achieving the sophistication of batik, ikat and multicolored painting. The

    experience of tailoring cloth, patching and mending it, the sewing skills were

    developed and the decorative possibilities of the stitches themselves led to

    the refined art of embroidery.


  • Hand weaving using wool and linen fibers readily available in the

    immediate environment has been a part of human life for thousands of years.

    These fibers are usually dyed with plant material from local area and are

    made into yarn. The craft of weaving these yarns is carried out on a piece of

    specially constructed equipment known as the loom whose purpose is to

    hold one set of threads (the warp) under tension to make it possible to weave

    another set of threads(the weft). Even though mechanical looms are most

    common now a day, hand weaving is carried out for more reasons than

    simple house hold needs. The skills of hand weaving are now handed on

    more for their craft and artistic value than any sense of necessity. It is still a

    vital part of the economy in developing countries both in terms of preserving

    traditions and attracting tourists.

    The availability of a particular material along with the social values,

    climate and life style of a community develops its distinctive traditional

    characteristics. Tradition is not static and evolves gradually with all the

    influences of a community, textiles and clothes people wear describes their

    sense of identity and belonging, marital status protects the wearer from evil

    spirits and accidents and also attracts good luck. However even today, many

    communities around the world retain their traditional costumes and textiles

    as a living symbol of their cultural identity.

    African traditional textiles have been the subject of much study for

    decades concentrating on their aesthetics. Traditionally made African

    textiles are known for its brightness of colors, motifs and patterns. Among

    the many printed Adinkra made by the Ashante people of Ghana have been

    associated with symbols are used for marriages funerals and other such

    occasions. They are either over dyed red or black or retain their white


  • background. The motifs are printed with stamps carved out of Calabashes

    and each motif possesses specific ritual meaning. The symbols also can be

    literal, representing everyday objects such as fruits and flowers. As many as

    one hundred and fifty motifs may exist and definitely serves as a source of

    inspiration for experimental research in textile designing.

    Saree is the quintessential Indian female garment and it comes in

    various styles, from textured hand woven fabrics to sheer luxurious silks.

    Even today, a multiplicity of sarees still exists, created in a wide range of

    fabrics and designs reflecting Indias great cultural diversity. The sarees

    origin is obscure; but it is known that Indians were wearing it long before

    tailored cloth arrived. Sarees are either hand loom woven or power loom

    made. Hand woven sarees are highly priced and its finer details of good

    hand loom weaving can be well recognized. The saree is mainly divided into

    three areas; the borders, the pallav and the body part. The border usually

    extends the full length of the saree, the end piece or the pallav is draped over

    the shoulders and left to hang over the back or front. The saree body part can

    also be embellished with designs woven, embroidered or printed, or

    traditionally unadorned. Today south is Indias major saree weaving regions

    producing sarees in silk cotton, linen, rayon, polyester etc. Since these sarees

    are sold throughout India, many traditional Indian designs have become

    incorporated for designing. The sarees of south India are woven mainly with

    the incandescent silk yarn and the gleam of gold the zari. Even though the

    sarees were traditionally either by structure or by the use of zari alone, the

    quest for ethnicity from the mass market demanded the incorporation of new

    and different design elements in its structuring. To cater to the present day

    design requirements, the idea of cultural integration in designing for hand


  • wovens through the adaptation of traditions from other parts of the world

    would be a viable option as previous experiments have become popular.

    While working with the idea of design innovations the basic yarn

    requirement is a very important factor to deal with. Though silk offers luster,

    drape and softness to fabrics, it is very expensive and that is what makes it a

    rare choice in the commercial market. The blending of silk with other natural

    yarns while weaving provides distinct and specific properties to the end

    fabric. Linen is the natural fiber whose evidence of use can be dated back to

    Upper Paleolithic age. Now a day, wearing linen is not only style but also a

    necessity to keep oneself cool in the hot and humid weather outside. A blend

    of silk and linen could be a wise choice as it is purely eco-friendly and


    In this light, the proposed study Cultural Value Addition of Silk-

    Linen Sarees through the Adaptation of African Adinkra Textile Design

    Motifs, seek to bring in an aesthetic innovation based on the old, but with

    additions from other regional textile traditions with the following objectives

    To highlight the eco- friendliness and comfort factor of silk linen


    To popularize the value and wealth of the said tradition and traditional


    To identify the most suitable Adinkra motifs to be recreated on silk

    linen sarees

    To rejuvenate the charm and beauty of one of the worlds oldest

    surviving garment



    2.1 Traditional Textiles of the World

    Tradition is not static. It is a living thing that evolves gradually with

    all the influences on a community. (John Gillow and Bryan Sentence, 1999)

    The availability of a particular material has led to the localized specialization

    in specific techniques. When this is combined with the dictates of social

    values and the influence of climate and lifestyle, a communitys textile

    develop distinctive traditional characteristics.

    From the ancient times to the present day, methods of textile

    production have continually evolved and the choices of textile available

    have influenced how people carried their possessions, clothed themselves

    and their surroundings (History of Clothing and Textiles, Wikipedia.org,


    Textile craft and textile design have always had important social,

    cultural and economic impacts on individuals and communities. The cultural

    heritage of textiles (Camilla Ebert et.al., 2016)is a living tradition inherited

    from our ancestors and passed on to our descendants. It encompasses the

    knowledge and skills to produce traditional crafts and the language and

    terminologies used to describe both the activities and material outcomes

    Craft production has its origin in the transmission of knowledge down

    through many generations. This happens orally and is reproduced by

    imitation (Jose Ruben Ornates Garcia, 2012).

    Throughout human history one look at a man's clothing could tell you

    more than his words, his social standing, wealth, class military rank and


  • more. (Jamie Jackson, 2017) Historically cloth was unique to its region and

    country tying in- sometimes literally- elements of the land and the people

    that live there.

    2.1.1 African Traditional Textiles In Africa cloth may be used as a way of celebrating or commemorating

    some and even a particular person a political which in another other parts of

    the world might be written down in detail and circumscribed with the dates or

    which require a plate or some other kind of monument history of Africa

    maybe a ride told and recorded in cloth. Cloth may sometimes offer a means

    of understanding the regions, political, social or military history of African

    people in the absence of a detailed written historical account (Chris spring,


    Traditionally made textiles (John Gillow, 2009) have in many parts of

    Africa been superseded by factory made cloth, which is often preferred for

    its brightness of color, ease of washing. Nevertheless there are two main

    factors in preserving the African handcrafted cloth making tradition. First, it

    is still considered essential that traditional cloths are worn at change of life

    ceremonies in general and at funerals in particular. Second, fashion has an

    important role to play.

    The major weaving regions are in North Africa, parts of Congo Basin

    and East Africa including Madagascar (Dale I Deins, 2013).

    The Ashante were the dominant people of West Africas Gold Coast.

    The Ashante weave their famous Kente cloth in cotton or silk. The term

    Kente is not used by the Ashante themselves, but may have derived from

    the Fante word Kenten meaning basket. It refers to the chequer board

    appearance of the cloths. Blue, green, yellow, red and Magenta are the


  • colours used for the main body of the voluminous cloths worn by men with

    contrasting Colours for the weft faced and floating supplementary weft

    details. The Ashante only use geometric non-figurative motifs in their

    weaving. Each motif has a proverb associated with it and the cloth is given a

    name such as Liars cloth or Waterboatman. In Ghana as in many parts of

    Africa funerals have great symbolic value and mourners dress in dark

    somber colours. In the village of Ntonso, close to Bonwir (the centre of

    Ashante weaving) and the great market town of Kumasi, specially

    commissioned robes of Adinkra clothes made for funerals and mourning

    are over dyed red or black, but others retain their white background and are

    woven at festive occasions. The design motives for Adinkra are carved into

    the hard outer surface of sections of Calabash (John Gillow, 2009).

    The Yoruba are masters of the Indigo Dyeing process. The Yoruba

    term for stitched resist in Indigo is 'adire alabere'. Yoruba women fold and

    pleat cloth in numerous ways before stitching in a resist. Raphia thread is the

    most common form of resist. The Yoruba have many different 'adire alabere'

    designs which are given such names as 'Plantain', 'Cocoa', Tribal 'Marks' and


    2.1.2 Adinkra Textiles Ghana is one of the very few countries in sub-SaharanAfrica where

    block printing of cloth is carried out. As the base fabric (John Gillow, 2001)

    of Adinkra clothes the skilled textile printers use lengths of Chinese mill

    cloth measuring four yards by three yards. Onto this they print moon, fern

    and many other traditional motifs (each of which has its own symbolic

    meaning) using a stamp carved out of a calabash gourd.


  • Adinkra (Diane VHorn, 2012) a rectangular, toga sized cloth is

    decorated with stamped designs of symbols representing proverbs, historical

    events, persons or objects. Adinkra, the name of the dye, means Goodbye

    and the cloth was originally worn when guests where departing or during

    funeral ceremonies. Traditionally, black designs were stamped in squares

    drawn on black or rusted colored cloth.

    The Ashante of Ghana use stamps cut from calabash gourds to print

    Adinkra cloth. There are many different motifs, having magical or

    allegorical meaning, and these are printed in groups on a large cloth that has

    been (John Gillow and Bryan Sentence, 1999) marked out in squares. The

    ink, derived from bark and iron slag, is always black or brown and the

    background is usually either white or bark dyed blue black. Adinkra cloth

    sare not used on a daily basis, but on ritual and special occasion such as


    The Adinkra symbols express various themes that relate to the history,

    beliefs and philosophy of Ashante. They mostly have rich (Valentina

    ATetteh, 2006) proverbial meaning since proverbs play an important role in

    Ashante culture. The use of proverbs is considered as a mark of wisdom.

    Other Adinkra symbols depict historical events, human behavior and

    attitudes, animal behavior, plant life forms and shapes of objects.

    Yellow is understood and known to be the colour of sunshine. It is

    associated with joy, happiness, intellect and energy. It also produces

    warming effects, arouses cheerfulness and stimulates mental happiness.

    Orange (Claudia Owusu Sampah, 2014) is a colour that combines the energy

    of red and the happiness of yellow. It is associated with joy, sunshine and

    the tropics just as Ghana is known to be in the tropical area. It also


  • represents enthusiasm, fascination, happiness, creativity, determination,

    attraction, success, encouragement and stimulation. Green is known as the

    colour of nature. It symbolizes growth, harmony, fresheners and fertility. It

    suggests stability and endurance and has strong emotional correspondence

    with safety, it is also said to have great healing power. Purple is associated

    with royalty. It also symbolizes power, nobility, luxury and ambition. It

    conveys wealth and extravagance. Purple is associated with wisdom,

    dignity, independence and creativity.

    One of the most interesting aspects of Adinkra design is how the

    symbols incorporate elements of geometry. Adinkra symbol called

    Funtunfunefu Denkyemfunefu (the twin crocodiles) represents democracy

    and unity in diversity and is based on the proverb They share one stomach,

    yet they fight for their food". In Aya the leaves gradually become smaller as

    the fern grows upwards, representing the dilation that can be seen in an

    actual fern. This symbol represents endurance and resourcefulness. The

    symbol Nkontim represents service and loyalty. Ntesie - Mate Masie

    represents knowledge and wisdom and is based on the proverb "Each circle

    in the symbol is identical to the other but shifted vertically or horizontally to

    a new position (Lindsay Poirier et.al., 2014).

    Symbolism and metaphor played a significant role in all aspects of

    Ashante culture and there passed on by elders, particularly an elite class of

    elders the Okyeame which means chief linguist. The Okyeame (Jasmine

    Danzy, 2009) used these symbols to communicate values to the king and the

    royal court but the symbols still have significance today. An example of an

    Adinkra emblem on an Okyeame staff is a symbol called Sankofa which

    means To learn from the past in order to move forward". Besides the


  • Okyeame, cloth makers were also the first to use Adinkra for the purpose of

    honoring the dead.

    2.2 Hand Weaving in India While most (Lynn Gray Ross, 2014) commercial weaving has been

    mechanized and is carried out in modern factories, traditional weaving

    practices have survived in many villages across the world. Separate areas are

    set aside for weaving where people work together to setup looms with

    enough yardages to meet the needs of several households or a whole


    Indian hand woven textiles have a long tradition behind them. There is

    evidence to show that the ancient Indians knew the art of weaving more than

    4000 years ago. Megasthanes who was at the court of Chandragupta,

    mentioned in his detailed account of India that Indians of those days wore

    flowered muslins of the finest wave (Publications Division, 1972).

    India is the only country that still creates textiles coming genius of its

    master weavers. The world has lost the hand weaving and loom process

    along with the natural and organic processes of creating textiles (Hindustan

    Times, 2018). Fashion industry is not static. Along with mill made fabrics,

    handloom textiles need constant innovation, design input and facilitation.

    India (Study.com, 2018) is a vast, diverse country with a rich history

    of weaving. Regions, villages and communities throughout India have

    unique weaving traditions with distinct customs and patterns. Depending on

    the location, textiles maybe woven from cotton wool or silk. Today weaving

    remains important to Indian economy with roughly 4.3 million people



  • 2.2.1 Hand Woven Sarees of India (Anamika Pathak, 2006) Of all kinds of stitched and unstitched

    garments worn by the Indian women, saree is considered to be the most

    elegant. At present, the Handloom industry is busy in the production of the

    sarees. Weavers create magic by producing sarees from various kinds of

    material such as muslin, cotton and silk. These sarees are woven with

    designs ranging from human beings to animal figurines, birds and floral

    motifs. They are either established on the loom itself or woven plain and

    later embellished through block printing, bandhani or embroidery. The world

    over, are bound to concede that the saree remains one of the most elegant

    attire for women.

    Today the South is one of India's major saree weaving regions,

    producing considerable quantities of rural, peasant and urban middle class

    sarees in silk, cotton, rayon and polyester. Because of this many traditional

    designs from different South Indian localities have become incorporated into

    the repertoire of such areas, which makes tracking down the origins of some

    textiles quite difficult, but many saree designs typical of particular area are

    still distinguishable. Traditional South Indian saree designs fall into two

    basic types that are distinguished by their borders (Linda Lynton, 2002).

    Those noticeably wide borders of contrasting colour to the field, created

    through a variety of different weaving and dyeing techniques and those with

    very narrow borders, less than 2 .5centimeters wide which are created solely

    through supplementary warp patterning. In both styles the border extends the

    full length of the saree and forms part of the end piece which is usually long.

    The love story of a woman and her saree his magical. The six-yard

    garment can completely metamorphose the look of a woman and give her


  • and distinct identity. The saree has a long history and is representative of a

    distinct culture in which woven with texture and pattern garment appealed

    more owing to its a aesthetics and simplicity. Of sarees, (The Indian

    Express, 2017) woven handloom sarees are a notch apart, what with the

    stunning designs and weaves that showcase the skill and hard work that

    weavers put into them. They also showcase the history and culture of the

    place of their origin, which not only make them a delight to wear but a sort

    of historical symbol.

    2.3 Incorporation of Traditional Motifs in Designing for Sarees Indian heritage (folk art and craft) are intangible and significant hence

    it is essential to preserve them for next generation (Shaleni Bajpai, 2015).

    Simultaneously innovation is needed to capture the taste of younger


    It is great (livemint.com, 2012) to see designers and revivalists

    working with the weavers and helping them by introducing new yarns and

    designs, so that the saree does not die out completely. It is not always

    necessary to modernize or contemporize a weave or design patterns. The

    idea is to keep it authentic and traditional.

    Indian traditional art plays an important role as inspiration in creating

    new designs. To keep pace (Meenu Srivasthava and Sangeeta Vaishnav,

    2015) with the changing demands of the consumers taste and fashion, the

    conventional warli motifs have all possibilities of change into contemporary

    end use by applying computer designing software.

    (Ekta Sharma and Susan Paul. 2015) There is no doubt that every

    effort has to be taken to preserve traditional crafts. However to popularize


  • these arts and crafts and to get decent income for craftsman, these crafts

    have to be incorporated into contemporary scenario especially through

    textile designing.

    There is a great need to revive the traditional records of textiles by

    giving captivating grandeur to the Indian textile pieces by introducing

    innovative designs like Indian monuments on woven materials. Moreover, it

    can be a better way to preserve the Indian cultural heritage as well as to

    maintain the value of inimitable Indian textiles. Therefore, the researchers

    have put forth this innovative idea into practice. It has revolutionized the

    world of designing by bringing in a change in existing style of designing for

    woven materials like sarees, kurtis and skirts. The research and related

    designs can meet the ever changing needs of the customers as they are

    ethnically trendy and appealing to the fashion world. Not only this, the

    concept will further open a new vista for weaving industry (Neeti Kishore,

    et.al., 2013)

    Motifs play an important role in designing. Each motif, like the fabric

    itself has an origin, evaluation and variety in shape and presentation.

    (Anshwul Sharma et.al., 2016) In designing, a weaver, embroider, dyer or

    printer creates dreams of beauty using motifs familiar through culture,

    religion, environment and history on textiles. Development in any field is

    essential and continuing process so in the field of traditional textiles.

    (Meenakshi Kumar Seth, 2013) Historical motifs and designs have

    begun to be used regularly in various industries. Products created in todays

    world play an important role in preserving cultural and historical values.

    Combining contemporary styles with age old designs and motifs ensures the

    survival of these motifs for future. It would enable a transformation in a field


  • of contemporary design, by building new and more creative connections

    between past and present. Very often they can be used with remarkable

    results through product adaptation of objects that might have been

    established over the years, but now show signs of decline. This would imply

    simplifying the decoration, as well as modifying the design and style of

    items to suit requirement of consumers. Exploration will help young

    designers to nurture their creativity, to evaluate innovative and emerging

    technologies and enhance their individual, artistic and technical skills.



    3.1 Collection of Suitable Adinkra Textile Motifs A number of Adinkra motifs from various books and web where first

    taken into consideration. Even though, these motifs are associated with

    specific meanings, their aesthetics and suitability for weaving was only

    taken into account while collection.

    3.2 Design Development of Saree Borders and Pallavs The collected design motifs where arranged in five layouts suitable for

    sarees which was drawn by hand. According to the present trend in saree

    designs, the motifs were arranged in the body part and pallav, leaving the

    border to be plain. Only black colour was used for outline and filling as the

    proposed design was for weaving and not for printing.

    3.3 Evaluation and finalization of artworks Five saree design layouts with different placement of motives were

    prepared for evaluation. The screening was done by a panel of 10 judges

    from various levels of the society. Depending upon the ratings of each

    design, the one with highest marks was finalized for further development.

    Evaluation sheet was prepared with four criteria which included motif

    aesthetics, placement of motifs, layout arrangement and overall appearance.

    The evaluation was done out of a total of five points.

    3.4 Identification of Reliable Source for Weaving A visit was arranged to Sathyamangalam, Tamil Nadu, where it was

    possible to find handloom weavers weaving pure silk sarees for commercial

    markets and who can accommodate to weave sarees with silk warp and linen


  • weft as per the study. The weaving capabilities and capacities were analyzed

    and recorded. Based on the above recordings, the selected artwork was

    further edited in computers so as to suit the particulars of Sathyamangalam

    handloom weaving centre and to punch the cards that are to be placed on

    Jacquards. The cards were punched in the place of weaving itself.

    3.4.1 Procurement of raw materials Since the weavers of Sathyamangalam where used to weaving sarees

    with silk warps and wefts, it was decided to procure silk warps and wefts

    and zari yarns from them. Linen weft for saree was sourced from


    3.4.2 Weaving of the saree with the finalized design The punched cards were mounted on the loom to facilitate the

    weaving of designs on sarees using the jacquard. The saree was woven on

    traditional pit looms. Base colour was finalized to be off white, the motifs in

    the body part to be in bright color and the designs in the pallav part to be

    woven using zari threads. The loom particulars and ends per inch (Epi) were

    kept the same as their regular production. The picks per inch (Ppi) were

    adjusted so as to weave with linen weft.

    3.5 Collection of the final woven product Since the regular production of sarees at Sathyamangalam was not to

    be disturbed, it was necessary to wait till the regular production to get over

    to weave the new product. The saree was collected from the weaving centre,

    checked for quality, folded and packed.


  • 3.5.1 Identification of problems and difficulties faced After collecting the product a talk was conducted with the weaver and

    the weaving centre officials to identify any problem or difficulty faced

    during weaving. Since linen was used as base weft and as it was new to them

    it was necessary to identify any difficulty so that there should be no problem

    if the saree has to be produced commercially.

    3.5.2 Cost Calculation and Cost Evaluation The cost for the development of the design, raw material, cost for

    sample weaving and final weaving was calculated so as to find out the final

    cost of production of a saree. The above calculated cost was evaluated by a

    panel of 10 judges who are selected for evaluating the art works and the

    ratings were done on three levels such as low, adequate and high.



    4.1 Identification of suitable Adinkra Textile Motifs Adinkra motifs such as Ananse Ntontan (Spiders web) symbolizing

    wisdom, creativity and the complexities of life, Nyamedua (Altar of God)

    representing Gods presence and protection, Sankofa( Learning from the

    past) representing wisdom and past experiences, Besesaka (Sack of Cola

    nuts) symbolically showing power, abundance and affluence, Dwannimmen

    (Rams Horn) representing concealment, humility and strength, Eban

    (Fence) showing protection, security, safety and fortress, Mmusuyidee (That

    which removes ill luck or evil) depicting good fortune, sanctity and spiritual

    strength, Nyamenti (For Gods Sake) symbolizing Gods grace, faith in God,

    Kramo bone (The Bad) showing warning against hypocrisy and Akomontoso

    (Extension of the Heart) representing understanding and unity were the

    motifs identified for initial study. The motifs are shown in Plate 1-2.

    4.2 Design Development With the ten motifs collected, five saree layouts with different

    placement of motifs or a combination of motifs were created using hand

    drawing. In all the five layouts, the border part of the saree was kept plain as

    per the present trend in saree designs. Since the size of the jacquard cannot

    be changed, the size of the motifs and the design area remained the same for

    all the five layouts. The layouts were drawn with black colour outlines and

    fillings wherever required. The various placements of motifs were arranged

    only in the body part and the pallav part of the saree. The created layouts are

    shown in Plates 3-7.


  • Layout 1

    In this layout the body part had the motifs Nyamedua and Ananse Ntontan along with zig zag lines arranged boxes and the pallav had only zig

    zag designs and plain zari.

    Layout 2

    This layout was arranged with the motifs Nyamenti and Dwannimmen

    alone and the pallav had a chequer board pattern and plain zari.

    Layout 3

    The motifs Besesaka and Eban was combined to form this layout. The

    end piece had plain zari along with a four headed star shaped pattern.

    Layout 4

    The saree body area in this layout was designed using the motifs

    Kramo bone and Akomantoso. The pallav had concentric circles arranged

    along the width of the saree along with plain zari area.

    Layout 5

    In this layout the motifs Sankofa and Mmusuyidee were used in

    designing the saree body. The end piece had repeated crescent pattern and

    plain zari.

    4.3 Evaluation and Finalization of Layout All the five layouts prepared were evaluated on the basis of the

    evaluation attributes and preference of the judges. The scores obtained in the

    evaluation are shown in Table 1.


  • Table1.Scores obtained for the designs.

    Layout No. Total Score (Out of 20)

    1 15* 2 14 3 13 4 12 5 12

    Based on the scores obtained the Layout no. 1 which scored 15 marks

    was selected for further development.

    4.4 Product Development The selected designs were then edited using computers to facilitate

    card punching for jacquard. There were 149 cards for the body design and

    41 cards for the pallav part (Plate 8-9).

    4.4.1 Purchase of raw materials The 2 ply 20/22 silk yarn, 4 ply 100/120 silk dupion yarn and 200D

    zari yarn was sourced from the weavers society itself. The finest linen yarn

    available, 80s linen was sourced from Coimbatore through Dinesh Textiles,

    Kannur. The color of the silk warp and linen weft was off-white and the

    dupion silk was dyed in navy blue color chosen from the weavers shade

    card (Plate-10).

    4.4.2 Weaving of the final product According to the weaving capabilities and capacities of the handloom

    weavers of Sathyamangalam, the new product was woven with 2 ply 20/22

    silk for Warp,80s linen as base Weft and 4 ply 100/120 Dupion silk dyed in

    navy blue color in figures. They had also used 200D zari for borders and


  • pallav (Plates 11-12). The reed was 96s, 3/dent, EPI came up to 144 and PPI

    was 64. Fabric width was 48 inches with a total number of 6400 ends. The

    saree length was 6.5meters. The Weavers at Sathyamangalam were able to

    dye silk yarns excellently but they could not assure linen dyeing flawlessly.

    4.5 Collection of the final woven saree The saree after weaving, was cut from the loom, checked for quality,

    folded and packed in their traditional way. The end product, punched cards

    and excess yarns were taken back for documentation (Plate 13-16).

    4.5.1 Identification of problems and difficulties Since the weavers of Sathyamangalam where used to weaving silk,

    not any noticeable difficulty in doing the sample was identified. Only

    change was to adjust the picks per inch from 64 to 60as 80slinenweft was

    used instead of the 3 ply 20/22 as base weft.

    4.5.2 Cost calculation and Cost Evaluation The designing and card punching cost came up to Rs. 2440/saree. The

    raw material cost was Rs. 3482/Saree. The preparatory and weaving cost

    was Rs. 6575/ Saree. Since it was sample weaving the preparatory and

    weaving cost has been more when compared to regular weaving. The

    evaluation was done based on three levels such as high, adequate and low by

    a panel of ten judges who were selected for evaluating the artworks. Five of

    them reported that the cost was adequate; four of them evaluated high and

    one of them reported that the price was low.

    The cost calculated for the product and its evaluation is given in Table

    2& 3 and is as follows.


  • Table2.Product Cost calculation Sheet.

    Items Quantity Rate Amount Designing 1 750 750 Editing 1 250 250 Card Punching 300 4.80 1440

    Silk 2ply 20/22 Warp 330gms 5.2/gm 1716 4ply 100/120 Weft 300gms 2.3/gm 690

    80s Linen 330gms 2.2/gm 726 Zari 200D

    Warp 180gms 1.75/gm 315 Weft 20gms 1.75/gm 35

    Sample Processing 1 500 500 Sample Dyeing 1 500 500 Sample Preparatory 1 2000 2000 Sample Weaving 5.5 650/m 3575 Total Cost 12497

    (The calculated cost includes wastage charges also)

    Table 3. Cost Evaluation

    Evaluation Level Scores

    High 4

    Adequate 5*

    Low 1



    Tradition always possesses beauty and simplicity, whether it be textile

    or the craft of making textile. The idea of adapting Adinkra motifs on sarees

    was proposed to serve as an initiative towards popularizing the less known

    African textile tradition and towards the aesthetic value addition of the

    Indian traditional hand woven attire - the saree.

    Hand weaving deserves a tension here as a symbol of versatility and

    creativity of living craft. Even though handloom sector is facing stiff

    competition from the power loom and mechanized sector, there are a number

    of hand loom weaving centres and villages across Tamilnadu. One way to

    empower and facilitate them to enhance, competitiveness of products in the

    domestic as well as export market in a sustainable and reliable manner is to

    provide them within new and appealing design patterns.

    In this context, the idea of cultural integration in designing for hand

    wovens through the combination of traditions of different parts of the world

    seemed to be a viable option as previous experiments have gained enough


    The motifs of traditional African Adinkra textiles characterized by

    bright colours and intricate patterning were selected as a source of

    inspiration. The detailed study about Adinkra Textiles revealed that it is

    deeply rooted in African culture. It is also clear that the African people had a

    strong sense of colour, and designing along with the idea of textile

    manufacturing and natural dyeing. Looking onto sarees, one of the

    traditional attires of India, it is liked by all women irrespective of all

    diversities. It is suitable for all occasions in all weathers. As the predilection


  • of eco-friendly garments caught on, natural made sarees have become

    fashionable. The idea of making the saree with silk and linen emerged as a

    result of the understanding that wearing linen is no longer luxury but ideal

    for today's hot weather and it absorbs a large amount of moisture unlike the

    pure silk sarees with generate a lot of heat while wearing.

    Since at Sathyamangalam where silk saree weaving is a regular

    activity, was chosen for doing the project, it was comparatively easy for

    sourcing raw materials, to convey the idea behind the project and to carry

    out weaving flawlessly. They welcomed the idea wholeheartedly and in spite

    of their day today busy activity, it was agreed to complete the project on

    time. The only difficulty was to source80s linen as there is a very less

    number of organizations stock it and also a smaller quantity for sampling

    was not easily available. Finally it was sourced from Coimbatore through

    Dinesh Textiles, Kannur who were into using it for making shirt fabric.

    The final product was evaluated to be a well appreciated one in terms

    of its feel, durability, luster, design and colour which are the most desirable

    qualities of a saree. However the idea of incorporating different traditional

    motifs in designing for woven or printed textiles extends a wide scope for

    future experiments in this regard. The study was definitely evaluated as an

    attempt to familiarize African textile tradition, to preserve the wealth of

    tradition, to rejuvenate the charm of sarees and to the value addition of hand

    woven products.


  • Ananse Ntontan Nyame dua

    Dwannimmen Nyame nti

    Bese saka Eban

    Plate -1


  • Akoma ntoso Kramo bone




    Plate - 2


  • DESIGN-1

    Plate - 3


  • DESIGN-2

    Plate - 4


  • DESIGN-3

    Plate - 5


  • DESIGN-4

    Plate - 6


  • DESIGN-5

    Plate -7


  • DESIGN-1


    Plate 8



    Plate 9



    Plate 10


  • Plate 11



    Plate 12



    Plate 13



    Plate 14



    Plate 15


  • Plate 16



    As per the present study the traditional African Adinkra textile designs

    were studied initially. Even though these motifs are associated with particular

    meanings and are meant for wearing during occasions like marriage, worship

    and especially funerals, their aesthetic appeal was only taken into consideration

    while designing. Ten of the popular motifs consisting of Ananse Ntontan,

    Nyamedua, Sankofa, Besesaka, Dwannimmen, Eban, Mmusuyidee, Nyamenti,

    Kramo bone and Akomontoso were identified for initial study. A combination

    of these motifs where applied in five different arrangements in the saree layout

    confining to the limitations of the selected source for weaving. The size of the

    design area of body part of the saree was restricted to either 2.5 inches or 5

    inches. The prepared artworks of 5 different saree layouts were subjected to

    evaluation. Out of the evaluated designs, Design 1 scored 15 marks over the

    scores of Design 2, Design 3,Design 4 and Design 5 which scored 14, 13 12

    and 12 respectively. Thus Design 1 was taken for further development.

    Initial preparation of the layout was done by hand and with black outline and

    filling. But for further development, the selected design was edited using

    computer to facilitate card punching for the jacquard and thereafter for

    weaving. For the construction of the saree, the prevailing count of silk yarn

    2ply 20/22 was decided to use as warp, 4ply 100/120 silk Dupion for

    figuring and 200D gold zari for ornamentation in the borders and the pallav

    portion. The reed on the Loom was 96s with 3/dent facilitating the making

    of a saree with a 144 Epi. The loom had a total of 6400 ends forming a 48

    inch wide saree. Since 80s linen was used as base weft along with 4 ply

    100/120 silk dupion for extra weft figuring, the Ppi was adjusted to be 60.

    The length of the saree was 5.5meters.


  • The colour of the saree was fixed to be of off-white due to two

    reasons - one being the lack of confidence of the weavers to dye linen

    flawlessly and other being the classic beauty of off-white color. The color

    for the extra weft was navy blue which was chosen from the weavers shade

    card and it does not possess any particular significance to Adinkra motifs.

    A final visit was arranged to Sathyamangalam 2 months after

    extending the design, raw material and technical assistance for completing

    the weaving of the product. The time consumption for weaving the sample

    saree was relatively more when compared to the regular production as the

    regular work could not be disturbed. The final product after completion was

    cut from the loom, checked for defects, folded and packed in their traditional

    way. The remaining yarns, the punched cards and the finished product were

    taken back for documentation.

    However the present study of cultural value addition of silk linen

    sarees through the adaptation of African Adinkra textile design motifs was

    an aesthetic innovation based on the old but with additions from other

    traditions. The product came out to be handcrafted, eco-friendly traditional

    attire that matches every mood, occasion and budget. It also serves as an eye

    opener for further studies in this area. The study also claims to have

    familiarized the lesser known traditions and preserved the same in many

    ways possible.



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    Sl. No. Motif Aesthetics Placement of

    Motifs Layout

    Arrangement Overall


    Design 1

    Design 2

    Design 3

    Design 4

    Design 5

    (Max. marks 5, evaluation by 10 judges)


  • 47

    APPENDIX - 2


    Judges High Adequate Low