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Home > Tamil Culture - the Heart of Tamil National Consciousness > Saris: An Illustrated Guide to the Indian Art of Draping
Saris: An Illustrated Guide to the Indian Art of Draping
by Chantal Boulanger
How to wrap a cloth around you in 100 different ways ! This book details the various methods of draping, outlining their ethnic origins and opening new perspectives on the understanding of drapes. A ground-breaking work for the study of a most neglected art.
A natural evolution of the veshti with a kosu (pleats falling out from the waistline) led to the Tamil saris. The cloth used to cover the upper part of the body became attached to one end of the veshti, becoming an 8-yard sari, instead of two separate 4-yard pieces of cloth.
Attaching the upper cloth to the veshti (covering the legs) had one major inconvenience: it made it difficult to walk. The top part of the sari pulled the lower half, revealing the legs. To avoid this, women in every region of Tamil Nadu adapted the drape in several different ways.
For all Tamil saris, the kosu remains the main characteristic feature of the drape. It can be placed in the middle of the back (as with pinkosu saris - "pin" means "back" in Tamil), on the right or on the left hip.
Right and left, a woman from Sengottai, Tamil Nadu, wears a "pinkosu" with her "kosu" arranged to fall in a fan-like shape over the bottom of her back.