Squaring Up With Checks and Stripes on Kanchipuram Sarees


Stories that inspire

Squaring Up With Checks and Stripes on Kanchipuram Sarees

The checkerboard pattern or ‘checks' as it is popularly known has existed from time immemorial and has no definitive origin. The black and white checks of the chess board, gingham checks on fabric, minute check designs on the keffiyeh (the Arabian head scarf for men), multi-coloured Madras check designs on the lungis of south Indian men, the famous Burberry check design on coats and bags, the itty bitty check designs on ancient Iranian pottery, chequered tiles on the floors and walls in the construction industry have all captured our attention instantly. But so have the checks or ‘Kattam’ design in Kanchipuram silk sarees is so beautifully incorporated that it confers upon the saree an alluring visual appeal.

Paalum Pazhamum

Yesteryear movie stars like Vyjayanthi Mala and Savitri and contemporary heartthrobs like Nayantara and Jyothika have serenaded the silver screen in Paalum Pazhamum Kattam sarees making our eyes pop in awe and admiration. Dual-toned or multi-toned checks run throughout the length and breadth of the Kanchipuram saree with a solid-coloured one/two-sided border and pallu (munthani). The saree is ravishing to look at and a dream to drape. 

Muthu Kattam

In the Muthu Kattam type, the warp and weft are very intricate and present the appearance of tiny pearls laid out beautifully in a linear design. These sarees have an air of cool chic about them, which is traditional and trendy at the same time.

Koorai Kattam

The Koorai Kattam is another intricate weave that dazzles in its geometry. Born in a small village named Koorai Nadu in the Thanjavur district of Tamil Nadu, this exemplary saree has the design of the check by the interlacing of the warp and weft process in bright, solid colours.