I donned this black, soft silk Benarasi Valkalam saree to a wedding reception last week. Have always treasured it for its stunning Persian-carpet-like weave and motifs in the subtlest of jewel colours – jade, jasper, carnelian, ruby, coral, onyx and cat’s eye. Highly stylized in its use of vines, floral and foliate patterns, yet almost architectural in its precision and beauty.
Amply reminiscent of the Italian pietra dura or marble inlay work so generously used by Emperor Shah Jahan to embellish his beloved wife’s mausoleum, the Taj Mahal.

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