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Tribal Textiles from India

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Tribal Textiles of India

The Tribal Textiles & fabric arts of India are exquisite. Since these arts are very labor intensive, we are seeing less of them in modern times. Lifestyles of nomadic & indigenous  peoples are changing with less time to create fabrications as they did in the past.  Some of the younger peoples have no interest in these arts anymore or create inferior tourist grade pieces. To own one of these pieces is a way to preserve & respect these arts. This is a rare collection of mostly antique elaborately embroidered & beaded

Wall Hangings, Bedspreads, Throws, Pillows, Rugs & More

from India, Pakistan & Afghanistan

The act of sewing is a process of emotional repair....Louis Bougeois

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Tribal Textiles of India & Pakistan


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, especially in the culturally diverse province of Gujarat,the embroideries of Sindh, Kutch ,Saurashtra and Kathiawar are very popular...

The embroidery is very pictorial and original, the mirror work and interlacing stitch set it apart from any other kind of embroidery.

The stitches used in the embroidery are the chain stitch, herringbone, interlacing stitch, darning stitch and buttonhole stitch.  Designs include flowers, peacocks, animals, birds, the tree of life...often you can tell what a woman has experienced in her life by  viewing these motifs.

Sewing , beading & quilting in groups of women serves many purposes besides pure creativity. It is a way to socialize and share their lives. It is especially important for a new bride coming from another village where she has left behind her family & she can become part of a new community.

Women are carriers of Tradition

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Rabari Nomadic Tribe

The Rabari are an indigenous tribal caste of nomadic cattle & camel herders & shepherds that live throughout northwest India, primarily in the states of Gujarat, Punjab and Rajasthan.Other Rabari groups also live in Pakistan, especially in the region of the Sindh Desert. The word "Rabari" translates as "outsiders", a fair description of their lifestyle.

The heavily beaded pieces here are exquisite . The white beads , all hand made , are not even the same size...not manufactured. The torans are designed to go over doors in welcome. The tapering pennants represent mango leaves, considered to be auspicious & welcoming.

The square Chaklas are what a bride uses to wrap  her dowry articles in, later using them to decorate her walls.

There is a 11.5 foot piece designed to wrap around the top of a wedding bed. And hand fans...extremely rare finds collected by dear friends from Kandahar Imports many years ago.

You see when weaving a blanket, an Indian woman leaves a flaw to let the Soul out... Martha  Graham


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Rabari Toran:


Parrots & Trees of Life

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Rabari  Hand Held Fan with

Ganesha & Eight Mirrors

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Rabari Wedding Bed Wrap

11.5' Long: Parrots & Flowers

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Teddy Banjara Style

in Black

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Rabari Bullock Cover,Jhul,
in Katab,Applique

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Vintage Mustard Banjara

Throw or Wall Hanging


Wedding Festival Quilts

The following quilts are similar to American Crazy Quilts in that the fabrics are fitted together in a willy nilly manner. The difference is  that the pieces of ornately beaded & embroidered pieces are from Wedding Festival Clothing. Indian weddings are elaborate events that take place sometimes over weeks. At the end of these events often the exquisite clothing is cut up & given out to attendees in commemoration of these extraordinary festivities. Eventually these pieces are gathered & made into these beautiful colorful quilts. You can recognize parts of garments in the quilts, an arm here, a yoke there. I always feel happy when i see these not only because of the amazing craftsmanship but because they represent the happiness of the wedding events.

Typically they are designed to hang with rod pockets sewn into the velvet or cotton framing fabrics...but not always. They

are  dazzling wall decorations as they sparkle in the sunlight.

‘Mangalyam Tantunanena Mama Jivana Hethuna, Kanthe Badhnami Subhage Twam Jeeva Sarada Satam’

Translation: This is a sacred thread. This is essential for my long life. I tie this around your neck, O maiden having many auspicious attributes, May you live happily for a hundred years.

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Kashmiri Kashida Kaam

As claimed by a local legend, a ‘Raffoogar’,darner, named Alibaba lived in the valley of Kashmir. He was proficient in his job of stitching and mending torn clothes and spent his days doing countless stitches and bringing dead clothes to life. One day a fowl stepped on a white cloth lying around, drying on his porch. The imprints of fowl’s feet caught Alibaba’s attention and he wanted to preserve this true to nature print. He picked up a needle with a colored thread and stitched around the print, preserving it for lifetime. An all-new technique of ornamenting the fabric, which was later known by the name of ‘Kashida kaam‘ was thus invented.

The craftsmen sit in a peculiar posture, with their knees up and their back against a wall. A thick hard cushion or a wooden plank at an angle acts as backrest. Men mostly work on embroidery while women prepare the yarn.

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Festival of Women by a River of Lotus Blossoms

Hand Painted Cotton Wall Hanging

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Peacock Merino Wool

Blanket Throw

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