Kerala Kasavu Sarees
Kasavu is a technique used in handlooms of Kerala, that very fine threads of gold or silver used in weave to make border lines and designs on silk and cotton fabricshandloom. This technique later spread to most of India and Kasav technique developed many other fabrics across India. White or off-white cotton cloth with Kasav borders that originated in the South Indian state of Kerala is now famous as Kerala saree is believed to be first form of use of Kasav technique.
The original kasavu was made by hand from fine golden or silver threads to make border lines or designs on cotton or silk fabrics. It is believed to date back to the Buddhist era and continues to be worn by Malayalis, the residents of Kerala. It is worn by both women and men, especially during festivals (Onam, Vishu), dances, and special occasions such as weddings and birthdays.
Traditionally Kasav was gold or silver threads but as it is expensive is not used now. Now typical white or off-white garments with a gold or silver coloured border is considered traditional and is called Kerala saree or Kerala Mundu.Garments made with kasavu are long, rectangular pieces cloth called the mundu, wrapped around the lower body, and the veshti, wrapped around the upper body. Women typically wear a red, green or gold traditional blouse under the veshti while men sometimes wear a formal shirt.
While the original garments had pure gold borders, the newer versions have red, green, orange etc. colors along with gold, to make them look more attractive. Power looms are also replacing handlooms but the machine-made fabric differs in texture from the original, though they are cheaper to produce on a mass scale.