From time immemorial Butta sarees have been extremely popular, be it in different fabrics - cotton or silk and from different regions - be it Kanchipuram or Banaras. The buttas can transform a shimmering silk saree or an elegant cotton saree into a vibrant expression. Buttas and Buttis commonly refer to simple golden dots that are versatile to showcase any design and these motifs are woven into the fabric of the saree to create a unique pattern. Hence they are called Butta sarees or Butti sarees. The stylised small design that look like miniature golden dots are woven to showcase several patterns from traditional geometric patterns like Kolams and Tilagams or they are inspired by floral natural designs, fruits and flowers and even coins. The Butta Saree or the Butti Saree are so intricate and elaborate that the master weavers can embellish over the saree.
The intricate buttas and buttis have been woven into traditional sarees for years. These small and stylised motifs woven using different coloured silk threads or a blend of silk and cotton or are also woven with golden and silver zari. The themes vary from flora and fauna to simple rangoli or kolam dots to even geometric patterns. The Butta sarees can transform a simple and elegant saree into a magnificent saree with a celebratory and festive feel.
Buttas have been popular in Saurashtra in Gujarat and then it became popular across different weaving towns, be it in Odisha, West Bengal. Uttar Pradesh and Kanchipuram among several others. The making of the Butta saree is not easy as it calls for perfect geometric patterns and shapes and round dots that were later developed into motifs like flowers and fruits.
Butta sarees have miniature motifs that look like simple circles or dots at first glance. However the weavers who have been inspired by nature have created several variations with the butta motifs, most of them symbolise prosperity and abundance and are rooted in our culture and traditions. The Kolam or the rangoli pattern is one of the most common patterns but beyond these geometric dotts, also called as rudraksham , there are flowers like jasmine bud or malli moggu or the kamalam or lotus. There are also fruits like mango or mangai and leaf or ilai.. Other geometric patterns like thilakam or tilak and pavun or coin, representing a gold sovereign coin.
While Butta sarees and embroidered sarees are both traditional and worn during special occasions, they can be stand alone or blended as well. Buttas are traditionally small motifs woven into the silk fabric using silk threads with a tinge of gold and silver, while embroidery refers to the elaborate and grand patterns stitched on the silk fabric using zaris and embellished with sequins. Butta sarees are also different from brocaded sarees where opulent and grand designs are woven into the saree using gold and silver zari and threads.
One of the different types of Butta sarees are Zari Butta, a traditional saree where the intricate butta work is woven with zari . Sometimes there is a blend of intricate buttas woven with zari embroidery. While the zari butta sarees are woven with high quality Kanchipuram silk among others, the buttas are also woven with different coloured silk threads and the zari embroidery is created with gold or silver threads. The blending adds to the grandeur of the silk saree. Most of the zari butta sarees are considered family heirlooms.
Another family heirloom and treasure is the Thousand or the Aayiram Butta Saree. As the name suggests, the silk sarees are embellished with thousand golden dots or motifs and these butti sarees are one of a kind. RmKV creations also has come out with another unique saree called the 2000 Butta Saree which was a sheer tribute to the new millennium.
Meenakari saree or Meenakari technique of weaving in buttas is another artistic tradition that is time immemorial and adds a shimmering touch to the saree and highlights the craftsmanship of the weavers. Blending in Resham and silk threads and golden and silver zari, this technique has been crafted to perfection for years. All these designs and techniques are handwoven and they are precious treasures. Next time you go shopping, add these traditional butta sarees to your collection or buy a grand butti saree or a classic meenakari saree online.