Orissa Ikat - An Ancient Art of Dyeing


Dyeing before Weaving - Orissa Ikat

As per earlier sources of information, Orissa Ikat dates back to the 12th century when the artisans from the Patan region of modern-day Gujarat migrated to Orissa. The Ikat technique has its origins in different parts of the world such as South America, West Africa, etc. This technique is one of the most ancient techniques of dyeing fabrics. The term ‘Ikat’ is a derivation from the Malay word ‘mengikat’ which means to tie or to bind. Ikat is an elaborate dying process which is done with silk or cotton fabrics. Ultimately, the end result is a piece of cloth bathed and glittered in colorful patterns. Orissa Ikat is basically associated with sarees.

The making of Ikat patterns is a tad bit different from the tie and dye processes. Ikat patterns are dyed and bound into the threads before the cloth is weaved, whereas in case of the tie and dye process the fabric is woven in the first place.Orissa Ikat uses a process called ‘resist dying’. The core fabric materials used in the Orissa Ikat are silk and cotton. And the tools required for carrying out this process are dye vats, scissors, rubber bands, or other tying material to resist dye.

Forms of Orissa Ikat

Orissa Ikat is present in three main forms that are single Ikat, combined Ikat, and double Ikat. Orissa Ikat sarees which are of low ranges are used as daily wear and the premium ranges sarees can be used as festive wear. The sarees have also appealed to the modern world with many celebrities wearing and showcasing these sarees made by Orissa ikat technique.