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Ancient motifs adorn saris in… Butta Work

The ‘butta’ motif was introduced in India in the 17th century and is believed to have evolved from a Zoroastrian motif symbolising life. The distinctiveness of this droplet shaped motif that adorns Indian saris sets them a class apart.


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Buta Work

The droplet shaped floral motif that adorns so many saris in India is known as Buta (also called ‘Paisley’ in English). It evolved from a stylized motif depicting a floral spray and a cypress tree that has distinctly Persian roots. In fact, some historians believe it to be a Zoroastrian symbol of life and eternity that first originated in Azerbaijan. It is believed to have been introduced in India in the 17th century, and has grown to acquire different meanings in the various indigenous cultures of India, over time.
This pattern, known by different names across India- from amba in Punjab to kalka in West Bengal- is usually woven onto saris using gold or silver zari, or resham threads spun from the finest silk. Saris bearing buta work are worn differently in different parts of India. Most interestingly, they are embellished with matching set of earrings and necklace in the shape of mangoes in the state of Tamil Nadu.


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