THE TALES OF TANTALIZING TANGALIYAS

The gorgeous state of Gujrat has been a region of captivating crafts and wonderfully woven and dyed textiles for years. Tons of crafts have taken birth here. One such weaving craft, which is almost seventy decades old, is Tangaliya. The subtle white dots against the magnificent dark base highlight the rich Tangaliya textiles that originated in Surendranagar, Gujrat.

Just like any other heritage craft, Tangaliya too has several stories connected to it’s origin. Some say, it started as a result of wedlock of a Bharwar guy and a girl from Dangasia community. As the marriage was against their parent’s wishes, they had no place to stay. But eventually when the girl’s community of weaver’s agreed, they came up with a deal. Just because the Bhadwar guy did not have any source of income to run their newly arranged home, the Dangasias decided to provide him with woven fabric in return of the wool from the shepherd community of Bhadwad. This is how the weave originated. The name is derived from the word ‘Tang’ or leg. The lad eventually came up with thread weaves in the form of dots or ‘dana’ and took shawl weaving to another level.

Tangaliya is generally either used as a shawl or a wraparound skirt for women- in shades of black, white and maroon. The raw material is procured from sheep to this day but the market trends have pushed the Dangasia tribe to experiment with cotton and other acrylic variations of yarns. To sustain a decent livelihood, the traditional community had no choice but to compromise with the authenticity of the craft.

Tangaliya motifs consist of simple, geometric patterns witha unique style of weaving that looks like delicate embroidered dots. The designs are derived from nature, flora and fauna and scenes showcasing everyday life which include the mango tree called ambo, the feet of peacocks called pag, phandi, Chakalo, Piyali, Navdhari, aurKangasikazhaad, BajariyaniJaadavi, Sitamadhi, morkizhaad andhaveli. Out of which ‘daana’ is the most common one which represent an Indian sweet delicacy called laddoo. This dotted motif was used for a number of Badwad community’s garments such as Habalo or Chamalia, Dhunslu, and Galmehndi, which they stopped wearing and production was finally stopped completely. There are a variegated category of tangalia weaves- Ramraj, CharmaliaLobadi and Dhunslu.

On one hand where Ramraj is woven with all the brightest shades of Tangaliya weaves-fuschia, green and vermillion, to make the Danas,Dhunslu, on the other hand, has the least number of Dana work, in white and maroon for elderly women. In contrast to Dhunslu, Lobadi is woven for newly weds or married ones. This woolen shawl is mostly made of off-white wool and dyed in the auspicious red colour. Charmalia consists of white Danas and a few maroon ones to portray a striking contrasting effect with maroon and black warp with a black weft.

This excellent and regal craft is in dire need of being protected and preserved. The artisans have to pass on this weaving technique to their next generations and instill the urge in them to continue the legacy. It’s certainly hard for the craftsmen to compete in this era of technology infused textile industries with their painstaking craft. Thus, the weavers have started handcrafting several modern products such as novel jackets, stationary items, bags and home linen. Hope the centuries old craft can sustain in this evolving era of market trends and demands. A handful of non-government organizations are helping the artisans since a long time. We should do our bit too.

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