Dakshinachitra | Documenting a Weavers House from Kanchipuram

DakshinaChitra is a center for the living traditions of art, folk performing arts, craft and architecture of India with an emphasis on the traditions of South India. A project of the Madras Craft Foundation (MCF), a non-profit organisation. DakshinaChitra opened to the public in December 1996. The center occupies ten undulating acres overlooking the Bay of Bengal, at Muttukadu, twenty five kilometers south of Chennai, on the East Coast Road to Mamallapuram, Tamil Nadu.

As a part of its activities, DakshinaChitra has documented a Weavers House from Kanchipuram, link here:

http://www.dakshinachitra.net/scripts/tn-weavers.asp

After documenting over twenty weavers’ houses in Kanchipuram, the one with the most commonly used plan was reconstructed at DakshinaChitra.

This house has one functional pitloom used for weaving Kanchipuram saris, along with a kitchen, a puja room and a front hall. The original weaver’s house had a large paved open area in the back that served as a utility area with toilets, bathing area, and facilities for washing clothes and kitchen vessels.

Weavers work in the large open area around the inside courtyard with all necessary equipment for reeling, twisting and preparing the weft thread. For marriages and other family functions, the warp is rolled up to free space which is then used for socialising, as a dining hall and as a communal hall for sleeping. Marriage rituals are performed in the courtyard.

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