Symbols Motiffs and Patterns:
The symbols and motifs which were woven on the silk garments traditionally have undergone a massive change.
According to design experts, earlier the designs were mostly handmade angular geometric shapes, which over the time, with the advent of the machinery, transformed into beautiful contemporary shapes and patterns.
The motifs are mostly imitation of flowers, ferns, trees, butterflies, animals, birds and even Assamese traditional ornaments like the Thuria, Loka Paro, Joonbiri and Gaam kharu.
Though most motifs and patterns found in the silk garments do not necessarily have a meaning, many are basically contemporary in style.
An insight into some of the traditional motifs leads to interesting facts.
Kaziranga style: One of the most commonly used motifs is the Kaziranga style. According to the local craftsmen and experts this style derives its inspiration from the wildlife of Kaziranga.
Here often a Rhino and a deer are woven to the silk garment.
King khap style: This style is inspired from the Ahom dynasty and signifies the royalty and magnanimity of the erstwhile kingdom.
As the Ahoms originally hailed from the Thailand, the design is largely inspired from the region.
The design consists of two lions facing each other.
It was believed that the traditional design consisted of rhinos and later was replaced with lions by the Ahoms in order to signify the royalty and power of the kingdom.
Joon biri style: This pattern woven on the silk garment is inspired from the Assamese neck piece called the Joon biri.
The shape of the Joon Biri is like a crescent moon and is engraved with a lot of patterns.
Gaamkharu style: This style is inspired from the Assamese wrist band called the Gaamkharu which forms a major part of the traditional Assamese attire.
Elephant design: This is a traditional design which tries to weave the shape of the elephant in a geometrical shape.
Bodo: The Arnai Design of the Bodo community is one of the most common pattern used in the garments.
Karbi: The Karbi designs and patterns are some of the most commonly used design patterns. The motif is called the Jamiliaman and has two birds sitting on a tree facing each other.
Mourah: Mourah means peacock in the local language. The symbol of the peacock is very commonly woven on the silk garments.
Gach: The motif of a tree is one of the most common patterns found in the Assamese traditional garments.
The shape is often represented in a geometrical manner and the shape and design varies according to the expertise of the weaver.
Phool Buta: Most patterns and motifs used in the traditional garments are representation of the nature. Hence flower or a bunch of flowers are one of the most common motif found in the traditional Assamese garments.
Bhagavat Sarai: This motif signifies the traditional Assamese Sarai (a brass platter) on which the sacred Bhagavat Gita is mounted and kept at the prayer rooms.
Kesh Baccha: This motif is very commonly used in the textiles and often used at the borders of the horizontal lines. It signifies the hairline or a women’s braid.
Japi: Japi is a traditional Headgear, once used by females of noble and rich families, but now serves as a headgear for farmers to protect them from rain and sun. The motif of japi is often found woven on traditional Assamese garments.
Kalki: Kalki patterns are contemporary patterns with no traditionalism attached to it. These patterns are often woven on the traditional Assamese garments and have become very popular in the recent times.
Pokhila: As most patterns woven on the Assamese Mekhela Chador are inspired by nature. The pattern of butterfly known as pokhila in the local language is often woven in different shapes depending on the expertise of the weaver.