Indian subcontinent

Indian subcontinent

The Victoria and Albert Museum, London, has acquired a number of embroidered items that derive from Chitral, in the extreme north of modern Pakistan. The items date to before 1938.

The Textile Research Centre in Leiden, the Netherlands, houses a hand embroidered, cotton jumlo from northern Pakistan.

Embroidered Kashmir shawls come from the Jammu and Kashmir region of the northwestern Indian subcontinent. Kashmir shawls can come in a variety of different ground materials, which range from a very fine to a coarse woollen cloth.

The Textile Research Centre in Leiden holds a number of printing blocks from India. They include blocks specifically used for transferrring designs in preparation of embroidery. The present block is about 5 x 5 cm. In the centre it has an X-shaped motif enclosed by squares with an elaborate outer border.

The Textile Research Centre in Leiden, the Netherlands, houses a sampler showing a variety of local embroidery techniques, including embroidery itself, beading, cut work, gota work, knotting, and metal thread embroidery.

A gabha floor covering has a ground material made out of shaped woollen pieces that are sewn together (a form of patchwork). Gabhas derive from Kashmir in the northwest of the Indian subcontinent, and their use may be compared to that of the felt namdhas, also from Kashmir. Gabhas are often strengthened with a cotton lining.

The Textile Museum of Canada, Toronto, Canada, houses a modern, silken nakshi kantha embroidery, called Georgian Times. It measures 158 x 108 cm. It was designed by Surayia Rahman in Bangladesh, in 2003. It is illustrated with scenes showing British soldiers in contact with local men and women in India. It has been described as a representation of an idyllic time before independence and chaos.

The Victoria and Albert Museum in London houses a young man's (formal) gown, or angarkha, from Lahore, South Asia, and dating to the mid-nineteenth century. The gold and silk thread embroidery has been applied separately to the cotton ground material of the gown.

Gota work, or gotapatti, is an Indian embroidery technique that originated in Rajasthan, Western India, where it is still being produced. Basically, gota work is an appliqué technique that fastens silver or gold (coloured) ribbons (gota) onto the ground material, with the edges of the ribbon sewn down, thus creating elaborate designs.

Hansiba is the name of an Indian fashion brand created by the Self-Employed Women’s Association Trade Facilitation Centre (SEWATFC). The brand is named after the first and oldest Self-Employed Women’s Association (SEWA) member, a traditional embroiderer called Hansiba.

The Hansiba Museum is a traditional crafts museum in Radhanpur, in the western Indian province of Gujarat. The museum was opened to the public in April 2012. The museum is organized and operated by embroiderers of the Self-Employed Women’s Association (SEWA). It is intended to showcase traditional embroidery and other crafts from across Gujarat and to be a resource centre for designers and researchers in general.

The Victoria and Albert Museum in London houses a decorated huqqa mat (a mat on which a water pipe was placed) from India, perhaps from Delhi, and dating to about the third quarter of the nineteenth century.

In various (English language) books about Indian textiles, the terms 'lace' and ‘lace makers' are associated with the production of woven braids and trimmings made from metal thread. These braids and trimmings are collectively known by the Hindu word ‘gota.’ They were and still are produced in Lucknow and other Indian cities.

A photograph of an embroiderer behind his frame from Delhi, India, and dated to c. 1863, was taken by Shepherd and Robinson. The photograph is included as illustration no. 188 in volume IV of John Forbes Watson's (co-editor with John William Kaye) The People of India (1868-1875), with the caption 'Scarfmaker'.

The Rijksmuseum Amsterdam houses an ivory-coloured, Indian shawl made of cotton crêpe. It measures 137 x 114 cm and is decorated with sprigs of flowers with a green leaf, embroidered in silk. It is dated to the late eighteenth century. A wooden block was probably used to transfer the outline of the motif to the cloth.

Craftsmen in India and beyond produce various types of metal threads and metal thread embroidery. The general Indian term for goldwork embroidery is zari. The word zari is ultimately derived from the Persian word for gold, zar. The term zari can be used to describe various types of metal threads and ways that they are used as embroidered decoration.

The Victoria and Albert Museum in London houses a remarkable woman's jacket from Nepal, dating to the mid-nineteenth century. It seems inspired by contemporary European/British military uniforms. The velvet garment has large cuffs, epaulettes and the front panels are densely embroidered with seed pearls, sequins and gold thread.

The Jains in Indian Gujarat used to protect their sacred texts with satin or velvet covers that were generally embroidered with metal and silk threads. The Victoria and Albert Museum in London houses an example that dates from the late nineteenth century. It is made of red satin with metal thread embroidery and sequins. It measures 16 x 29.2 cm.

The Kala Raksha Trust is a social development organisation based in Sumrasar Sheikh, in the Kutch region of Gujarat (western India). The Trust’s main aim is to preserve traditional arts, in particular embroidery, by helping artisans to become economically self-sustaining.

Page 3 of 7