Beautifully Embroidered Indian Textiles
It was an exhibition of North Indian textiles (Kantha) at Dovecot Studios in Edinburgh last summer that turned me to stitching. I found these images via Etsy but they’re reminiscent of some of the works that I saw in that exhibition.
“Gujarat, a State in North West India, which had an open land route connecting it to Central Asia, had a large number of settlers from that area. They settled in Kutch and Saurashtra regions of Gujarat and retained their traditions of embroidery, with the result that a very rich range of embroidery can be found in these areas.
The people living in this region shared a common dowry tradition. In addition to the usual gifts of jewelry and household utensils, a bride would bring to her husband’s home, a large number of richly embroidered textiles, which she and the women of her family had worked on for many years. The dowry would normally consist of costumes for the bride and the groom, wall and doorway hangings for her new home and decorative coverings for their domestic animals, all intricately embroidered or appliquéd and often incorporating small mirrors.
From early childhood, a girl was trained in this craft by the older women in her family. The first stitches she learned were on a square piece of cloth, which, when folded over, became her first purse. As she grew older, she worked with her mother and grandmother to embroider quilts, pillow covers, bags, house decorations and animal coverings. Many of the embroidered pieces were made for her bridal trousseau and would signify the love for her mother and her own skill, with which she hoped to gain regard and respect from her new relatives.”