Ikat, the technique by which the warp or weft or both can be tie-dyed in such a
way that when woven, the 'programmed' pattern appears in the finished
fabric. Of resist-dye techniques, the use of clay or wax-resist has long
been known to Indian textile printers and painters, who would stamp or
delineate the fabric with resist and then immerse and re-immerse in dye.
To reserve areas of the warp or weft or both, before the process of weaving
with tied threads, and then to dye the yarn, is a more interesting process that
requires greater skill. And this seems to be more closely aligned to processes
of tie-resist and warp-resist after weaving, than to the application of
impression of a resist to the surface of a fabric.
Up to the beginning of this century, Chirala in Andhra Pradesh was renowned for
an exquisite type of cotton sari, lungi, rumal and yardage in a range of
Ikat techniques. One of the products of this place is known as telia
rumal, a many-purpose cloth used as lungi, loin-cloth,
shoulder-cloth and turban cloth which was a popular import item in many Islamic
countries. Due to the heavy use of tel (oil), in the process of preparing
the yarn for weaving, this variety of textile has deserved the name telia,
meaning ‘oily’. Chirala, Pochampalli, Puttapaka and Koyyalagudem
were given a new lease of life in the middle of this century by the All India
Handicrafts Board as a result of which these and other nearby places have
become important centres for the production of what is now known as Hyderabadi Ikats.
Many new experiments and imitations have been undertaken here ever
since. The techniques and designs of telia rumal have been adapted
to make saris, spreads, and yardage material.