The term “embroidery” describes a large and vibrant category of decorative stitches that are applied to cloth. The word “stitch” comes from the Old English verb stice – to prick or puncture – and the puncturing of cloth with a sharp implement is the basis of all embroidery. Stitches used for embroidery cross the boundaries of space and time.
Where was this textile created?
Asia: South Asia, India, Western India, Gujarat, Kutch; Rabari or Ahir People
1960 - 1980
Cotton, silk, mirrors, embroidered
41 cm x 131 cm
Gift of Dr. Howard Gorman
T86.0273 Textile Museum of Canada
This boy’s jacket has such long arms that the garment seems to have been created for a special occasion. In the exuberant Rabari style of northern India, the ground cloth is almost completely covered with shisha, or mirror work, and densely embroidered flowers.
The use of stitches is universal, but shisha (mirror work) is unique to India. Besides creating a dazzlingly beautiful, reflective surface, the mirrors are also powerful protective amulets against evil.
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