Soft pastel shades characterize most Chanderi saris. Unlike the more flamboyant Kanjivaram saris of South India, or the Paithani saris of the West, most Chanderi saris display a remarkably subtle balance between the colours used on the body, and those on the borders. However, timeless combinations of bright colour borders on an off white base, or red on black, also exist. Interestingly, colour was introduced to Chanderi saris only fifty years ago. Until then, all Chanderi saris were woven in the natural white of cotton, and were then washed in saffron to give them their characteristic golden hue and fragrance. Some weavers also used natural dyes made from flowers, but usually on the woven product, not yarn. Today, Chanderi weavers prefer fast-acting chemical dyes. Traditionally, the quality of the gold thread used distinguished Chanderi saris from cheaper imitations. Most Chanderis have a rich gold border and two lines of gold on the pallu. Some have gold checks or little motifs (known as Butis) all over. Two unique methods are used to embellish Chanderi weaves – Minakari (inlay in the motifs) and Addedar Patela (jeweled cutwork) Unlike the geometrical motifs of Maheshwari weaves, Chanderi motifs are usually drawn from the earth and sky. Swans (hamsa), gold coins (asharfi), trees, fruits, flowers and heavenly bodies, all found their way into the idiom of motifs in Chanderi.
BUTTIS/ BUTTA "MOTIFS”
Since the inception of the Chanderi fabric and primarily ladies Sarees,the butiis on the Fabric are hand-woven and absolutely woven on Handloom. There is no use of any other process of manufacturing and it is Gold coated, Silver coated and as well as Copper coated. Now a days Tested Zari Butti are also common and in use. The Tested Zari is made with the use of Synthetic yarn. The Buttis are made by use of Needles. Number of Needles used depends upon the number of Buttis and its size. For each Butti/Butta separate Needles are used. All the weavers involved in this process are experts in it since they have been doing this for long. time. The most popular and traditional kind of Butti is Asharfi Butti, which is in shape of Asharfi (woven in pure gold and silver Zari and now a day it is also woven in Tested Zari). This kind of Butti was in use in past only by the Royal families because it is very expensive as genuine Gold and Silver is used. The Butti which is big is size is popularly called as Butta with all other specifications. More so and it is there ancestral business and trade.
The weavers involved in this process are long standing in trade and are well experienced. The Govt. from time to time also spends money and conduct workshops to train and educate them about the latest design and its quality control. The handmade Buttis are permanent in its nature and existence as well, interlaced and its original shape and structure always remain the same even after its long use. Whereas in comparison the Buttis created with the use of Power loom are not permanent and losses its shape and structure after some time. The thread used at Chanderi is of fine quality and even after long use its thread never comes out and its original shape and appearance is retained forever. It has no comparison anywhere else in the country or for that reasons in whole of the world.
It is easily distinguishable from the Buttis made outside Chanderi even with necked eyes because of its manner and Process of manufacture and in this manner it is exclusive and this itself is requisite ingredient for legal protection and for exclusive recognition. Initially the use of this quality and products has been a matter of use by the Royal families/ which for a long time is used by the common man.
The Chanderi Fabric is also well known for its transparency and sheer texture. The transparency is a unique feature, which is not commonly or found in any of the textile products all over the country. The transparency in Chanderi Fabric products is the consequence of Single Flature quality of yarn used. Flature yarn is the quality of yarn when the Glue of the raw yarn is not taken out. The none - degumming of the raw yearn gives shine and transparency to the finished fabric. This quality is not found in any other Fabric of the country and it is exclusive to the Chandari Fabric. The special transparent yarn is used both in warp and weft of different varieties and configurations. The transparent yarn is cotton and as well as silk also.
The silk yarn used of 20/21s, 2/100's and 16/18 denier. The term Denier connotes the fineness of yarn. The cotton uses in Chanderi Fabric is 2/120's, 2/100's (plain yarn) and 2/120 and 2/100 mercerized yarns. The yarn used in Chanderi fabric is of high quality and extra fine. Because of non-degumining of the raw yarn, the finished fabric produced is extremely transparent and which in consequence result into sheer texture.
This quality of the Chanderi Fabric is in existence since Moghul times and found mention if the Govt. gazetteer and various other history books written on Chanderi. This type of Fabric produced is family business in Chanderi and all the family members are involved in this process irrespective of caste and creed.
The Government gazetteer also mentions in detail about the Chanderi Fabric and its products, which has been used since the Moghul era. Even in the imperial Gazetteer of India the Chanderi silk Sarees are specifically mentioned. The copies of the Gazette maintained and issued by the Govt. of Madhya Pradesh and the copy of the relevant portion of the Imperial Gazetteer of India are annexed herewith and is marked as Amiextire D.