Silk stole with a wide range of design-patterns
Crafted of pure silk fabric conceived as a large scarf or a shawl with narrow breadth for putting around the neck for beauty but as much to protect from rough unsympathetic winds, the hot summer’s, or the cold winter’s, and to preserve its golden glow, more than a wear this stole is a colourful art piece. Not so much a wardrobe member the stole is more befittingly an art studio’s inhabitant. Ingeniously crafted this piece has been woven with various design patterns and motifs using multi-coloured silk-threads as wide in range as such patterns. These patterns and motifs extend from simple vines and flower-leaf designs to architectural members like arched openings and the mystic and spiritual symbols and motifs.
The neck is the index to a figure’s beauty. Accordingly, since early times the number of ornaments for neck has been far greater than those for the entire person. However, in textiles that have hundreds of verities of every costume-type a stole alone is the neck’s exclusive wear. A neck, however beautiful glowing with gold’s lustre, radiates with exceptional brilliance when a colourful textile holds it, and a stole is the textile that best exploits this situation. Something essentially different from the rest in the ensemble a stole had from the beginning a distinction as a fashion costume and significance as a protective cover against weather’s cruel fangs.
A muffler type neck-wrap seems to have been popular among Indus inhabitants, male or female, and also subsequently in priestly era. Now this neck-wrap was a sash type wear – uttariya, laid jointly over a shoulder and neck, and in one form or other it adorned the golden hangers of a king’s wardrobe as also the wooden pegs of a mud-house. However, this contemporary stole was a late fashion. Initially a stole was a component of female ensemble; now a male in trousers or even in sherawani or trousers-suit might be seen holding around his neck a colourful stole like this. As a matter of fact in a marriage function or on a ceremonial occasion there always are a number of young men putting on a silk stole over their ethnic wears, a sherawani suit or a traditional kurta-pajama and its ethnicity is doubled.
This description by Prof. P.C. Jain and Dr Daljeet. Prof. Jain specializes on the aesthetics of ancient India. Dr Daljeet is the chief curator of the Visual Arts Gallery at the National Museum of India, New Delhi. They have both collaborated on numerous books on Indian art and culture.