Tales That Motifs Narrate

An Indian woman’s wardrobe is never complete without a saree. And, a saree is never complete without the beautiful designs and patterns. Be it subtle borders or heavily ornate pallus, there has to be one element that catches your fancy. Since centuries motifs have played an essential role in representations of various characteristics. Traditional motifs have been used in Indian textiles since centuries and are passed on from generation to generation. Our traditional motifs find their basis in religious beliefs, culture, environment and other day to day activities. We, at Aura, lay great emphasis on creativity that inspires and motifs help us in achieving the subtle and elegant appeal of our drapes. We thought it would be good to introduce you to some of the motifs, so that next time you drape that gorgeous saree around, you will know what’s elevating your look.



Many poets, artists and craftsmen have found their muse in this graceful bird, with its long, charming body, extravagant tail and coruscating color. Being the national bird of India, its beauty is ingrained in every aspect of our culture. The peacock’s resplendent beauty has made it a timeless motif across Indian culture. You can spot this motif on architectural structures to paintings to textiles, jewelry and what not! The peacock tail inspires a myriad of stylized depictions. Plump peacocks feature along sari borders in shiny splendor or two peacocks facing each other or away from each other, enhance the magnificence of a fully worked pallu.


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Paisley is a tear-drop shaped motif with a curved end on one side. Of Persian origin, paisley or buta became very popular in the West in the 18th and 19th centuries. Its English name comes from the town of Paisley, in West Scotland, a center for textiles where paisley designs were produced. In our land, this pattern was called “Mankolam” in Tamil. The “Mankolam” is the mango shaped design that is often associated with the Hindu religion and its mythology. It is one of the widely used decorative motifs for the royal textiles and garments as well. Again, a nature inspired motif, paisleys are a timeless adornment for textiles. We could not and did not want to escape the beauty of paisleys on our sarees.


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Colorful and exuding fresh vibes, flowers are an evergreen motif to decorate anything. Floral motifs can be seen on art and architecture of India since ancient times. Traditional artisans made detailed observations of nature and probably flowers caught their fancy the most. They add a soothing element to any piece, keeping the design intact. Hence, florals have always been there and continue to spread their charm around in our sarees as well.


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Inspired by the architectural element of jaali or lattice, this motif has also travelled from art and architecture to textiles. Historically, jalis represented the porous nature of fabric, and their usage in interior spaces. Early manifestations also included cane blinds and sheer cloth. This motif not only gives a uniform appeal to the object it is placed on, but also improves the aesthetics creatively.


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The coin motifs are again a common motif that can be noticed on textiles. Characterized by a round, oval, diamond, or disc shape, this simple element can be a central focal point or an all-over mirrored print. The coin shape itself can represent so many things such as the sun and moon, fruits, floral rosettes etc. They are usually designed in a shiny texture, perhaps to give the look and feel of a coin.


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