Colour plays a major role in all oriental cultures. Any tradition / craft in this part of the world involves bold colours and bright designs.
The traditional “thombai” applique work of Tamil Nadu is one such traditional craft designed to add colour and cheer to celebrations.
Sewing works are mostly used in dress making. Unlike the rest, this applique work is mostly done on Temple decoratives like door banners, decorative cloth pillars, umbrellas etc.
It was done by hand, but of late sewing machines are used, making the process simpler. This umbrella or canopy has colourful applique work and “kuncham” border.
During days of maharajahs, when new temples were constructed, years of manual sewing resulted in huge banners and decors for the new temple. Artisans resided at the temple site for years, cutting and stitching colourful thombais and umbrellas needed for the temple.
Every temple, even small ones, have a complete set of thombais, banners and umbrellas with applique work. They appear at the beginning of any religious procession or temple functions in Tamil Nadu.