Kanchipuram Silk Feature: Animal Motifs For The Win


Stories that inspire

Kanchipuram Silk Feature: Animal Motifs For The Win

Saree as the saying goes, is not merely a garment but an emotion for an Indian woman. She wears it with a great sense of pride and certainty, that she looks best in her ‘six yards of magic’. Any object of art draws inspiration from the vibrancy of this beautiful life, the natural surroundings that we live in, and the cultural factors that govern our lives; so does saree design. The motifs used in sarees are drawn copiously from the rich flora and fauna found in the diverse Indian landscape – from lush green forests, golden deserts, snow-clad mountains, and splendid seaside coasts to vernal valleys especially the animals inhabiting these habitats, each with its unique features.


Kanchipuram silk sarees are known for their varied colours smooth textures, sparkly sheen, and majestic motifs. The motifs are very variegated and characterful and stand as solid representations of abstract ideas, religious practices, and natural images. Animal motifs especially, are portrayed in such vivid detail that they look truly life-like. The peacock (Mayil) motif symbolizes royalty, power, and good fortune and perfectly encapsulates the colour, beauty, and grandeur of the bird. 


The Singam (Lion) is another popular Kanchi motif, epitomising strength, stateliness, and majesty; needless to say, the lion’s regal appearance with its powerful limbs and golden mane is depicted precisely in the motif.


Then we have the deer (Maan) motif which is so beautiful and pleasing to the eye, just like the animal itself - its fawn-coloured, silky, smooth, sometimes spotted skin, large endearing eyes, and bouncy sprightly gait. The deer motif stands for gentleness, enchantment, and magic.


Next comes the elephant (Yaanai) motif in zari or thread, woven seamlessly into the fabric of the Kanchipuram silk saree. The elephant holds an iconic status in ancient Indian mythology and religious lore; with its colossal frame, pillar-like legs, and beautiful, unique trunk, it embodies strength, loyalty, wisdom, and fertility.