Traditionally, Gota ribbons were woven with a wrap of flattened gold and silver wire and a weft of silk/cotton thread and used as functional and decorative trims for a variety of garments and textiles used by the royalty, members of the court, temple idols and priests, as well as for altar cloths at shrines and prayer offerings.With the subsequent substitution of pure gold and silver with gilt or lurex and the mass production of gota on electrically powered swivel looms at Surat and Ajmer, gota came to be used by all communities and castes of Rajasthan. Considered to be shagan,a symbol of good omen and good will, gota may be used as kinari,edging, or cut and manipulated into motifs that are sewn onto garments and turbans worn during weddings and festivals such as Id,Diwali,Dussehra,Sharad Purnima,Holi,Teej and Gangaur.
With changing times, gota patti is done on saris, dupattas, fabrics for salwar kameez, kurtas, lengas, blouses and even on jootis. A number of designers have also used this embroidery as interplay in various of their designs. Even today, in Rajasthan, Gota Patti is worn on auspicious occasions by women of all households.
The work is carried out by artisans as household activity or within groups in guidance of senior craft mans. Generally a piece rate system is used which depends on design patterns, time required in each appliquè garments. The learning of skill is survived with families.
In earlier times, the Gota ( ribbons ) were made of pure gold and sliver, but now, a substitute Gota ribbons woven on power loom with cotton (warp) and metal (weft) threads is used for this embroidery. For the royalty, along with gota patti, the bluish-green metallic coloured wings of a particular variety of beetle were used as ornamentation among the gold and silver of the embroidery.
Myths & Legends
It is said and widely believed that there lived a princess who was very fond of glitter and when she was to be married, she wanted her wedding dress to be extravagent and adorned with gold. The king appointed the best embroiders in the kingdom to stitch her wedding dress and hence, the origination of the embroidery in terms of a wedding attire began. Even today, traditional gota patti is done on colours like red, pink, magenta and green- all the colours associated with Indian weddings.
Gota Patti work is also known as 'Aari tari' or 'zardozi' or 'Lappe ka Kaam'.
Gotapatti traditionally worked on temple idols, cloths on offering prayer, on royal outfits ( Mughal Era ). These outfits especially worn on auspicious days, weddings. Erstwhile, Mughal and Rajput Royals used to wear the clothes in which Silk and Satin were used as base fabric, while Gota Patti work was used to create motifs on royal garments. Gold and silver metallic wires used for Gotta ribbon. The Gota Patti was cut according to natural motifs like birds, human figures, animals and attached to cloth decorated by gold and silver wire. It resembled with the Kundan and Meenakari jewellery of Rajasthan.
The design and motifs are inspire by nature like birds (peacock, parrot, sparrow), human figure( Bani thani), animals (elephant, horse). The contemporary design like paisley, geometrical, palanquin, checkerboard are also in fashion. These motifs are structured into buta, butties and cut into various shapes likes flower pot (Gamla), Keri (Mango) and champak flower, and stitched with the base fabrics by chain stitch or by hemming.
The variations in the carft are inevitable in system. The two major types of variations are common which is inherent in a system and other which is caused by environment, thus creating a variety of textured patterns in the design over the time.
- Pure gold and silver wires have been substituted by the multi coloured polyester ribbon done cost competitiveness has good resistance to moisture and does not tarnish as compared to metal-based Gota.
- In the technique of gota tukdi,gota is cut into shapes such as the gamla (flower pot),kairi(mango) and champak flower, and appliqued onto a base fabric embellished with embroidery techniques such as zardozid and ari.Gota patti involves the folding of tapes into basic rhomboid units,referred to as patti or leaves and combining them to create elaborate motifs and patterns that are sewn onto turbans,garments,baskets,thalposh or platter covers, and hookah.
The crafts also used for products like salwar kurta, lehenga, short kurta, topper, skirts, cholis, ghagras, odhnis, saris, turbans, torans, cushion cover, mobile cover and jooties. Mainly The work of gota doing on pure Georgette, Chiffon, Velvet & Silk whereas as in recent years synthetic fabrics are used for the production. The colors commonly used were Red, Orange, Pink, magenta, Maroon & Yellow which are nowadays available in all possible shades as per the customer demand.
The golden or silver work that you see on the fabric is what Gota is. In the olden days, real gold and silver was used, but since it is not reasonable now, polyester is used in place of metal. The polyester is metalized and coated according to the design that has to be interlaced with the cloth. The shiny bands are then interwoven with the looms that are going to be sewn down to the material. Decorative patterns which appear to be like Zari are patched on the textile to give the complete impression.
~ The tradesman's controls this craft, while artisans is mainly paid on job work basis. The Financial conditions of artisans are not sound. There is intense competition among producers due to low margin.
~ Low wages ranging from Rs. 200 per day for 10 to 12 hours of work.
~ Work is seasonal, have variations in demand according to season.
~ The zardozi works have lower demand due to high price.
~Design Limitations. The artisans are producing dresses with obsolete design and no link to seasonal forecasts. Lack of investment to set up their own business.
~Health problems in the form of weak eyesight due to prolonged working hours and increasing age. Weak eyesight limits the work tenure of artisans up to 35 years only.