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Indian Embroidery: Sindh, Kutch, Kathiawar:
India is a land of diverse cultures and her uniqueness lies in her unity in diversity. The sheer variety of the costumes, the traditions, festivals in enough to keep one fascinated. The same can be said about embroidery. Embroidery in India is different in different parts and states of India. One can identify the origins of an embroidered piece of fabric simply by the style, colors, fabric and stitched used. Among the many different types of embroidery one can see in India, the embroideries of Sindh, Kutch and Kathiawar are very popular.
The Origin of this embroidery:
Kutch embroidery was practised from the sixteenth and seventeenth century in Patan,a little town in the state of Gujarat. (Gujarat lies on the west coast of India) It is believed that this art was taught to the Mochi’s by a muslim who came from Sindh. The embroideries of Sindh, Kutch and Kathiawar are very similar and almost identical. The embroidery is very pictiral and original, the mirrorwork and ingterlacing stitch set it apart from any other kind of embroidery.
The stitches used in the embroidery of Sindh, Kutch and Kathiawar are chain stitch, herringbone, interlacing stitch, darning stitch and buttonhole stitch.
Chain stitch is usually done in white or any other color, interlacing stitch is done with indigo, blue, crimson, red, green, yellow. Mirror work is done with red, green, bue yellow predominantly, but other colors could also be used. Herringbone is typically done in indigo, blue, crimson, yellow, but not limited to those, other colors could also be used.
Motifs used in this type of embroidery are many- floral, peacocks, animals, birds, trees etc. Persian influence can be seen in the motifs.
These days shiny plastic pieces eg sequins are used in place of mirrors as mirrors are likely to break during laundering.
The embroidery is used to embellsih ‘ghagras’ – these are long colorful skirts, cholis or blouses, torans or wall and door hangings, floor mats, cushion covers, bolster covers, footwear called mojadis etc.
The fabric used is also very brightly colored. All said and done, India is a very colorful place to be in.