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Sari (Baluchar Butidar)

Late 19th century
Artist/maker unknown, Indian

The tradition of weaving Baluchar Butidar saris originated in the town of Baluchar in Murshidabad District, West Bengal, during the eighteenth century. It soon spread to nearby towns, spurred by the patronage of the upper classes. Production of these fine silk garments continued into the nineteenth century, declining only around 1900 with the death of Dubraj Das, the area's best known master weaver. Woven on a traditional drawloom, the central field was usually covered with rows of buti, a paisley motif, from which their descriptive name, butidar, derives.

The sari woven by Dubraj Das features repeating images of a Bengali man of the English-speaking clerical class and his courtesan companion in a boat ornamented with a peacock at its prow and a sea creature at its stern.

Object Details

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