Thursday, February 28, 2019

Rabari Weaving from India

On occasion, I (Teri) like to browse online auctions to see if I might stumble upon some fun finds relating to textile arts. Not long ago, I placed a fairly low bid on an "Exceptional Indian Wall Hanging, Kutchi" and—to my surprise—won the piece. The description claims it to be "an old and particularly fine Ribari tribal weaving, the mirrored panel of hand woven linen, of classic design." Of course, that piqued my interest to learn more.

As Kara mentioned last week, preparing for the Academy of Appliqué is consuming most of our time, as you can see from these shots of my kit-making endeavors, but I did take the time to do a bit of reading about the embroidery of the Rabari people.

Quite simply, the Rabari people are traditionally nomadic shepherds—herding cattle, camel, and goats—located primarily in northwest India. The majority of Rabari today are settled in small villages or towns. I read in numerous accounts that the women are known for their intricate embroidery, and it is an integral part of their lives. Typically, designs are bold in color, with motifs used from their surroundings. Mirrors are quite often incorporated into their designs. 

I hope you will enjoy these close-up views of my newest treasure.

The center motifs, bordered with mirrors—I love how the animals each face both directions.

I didn't find any other cow motifs in my search, but it makes sense to include a cow, since the Rabari are known as cattle herders.

I did find an example of a weaving with a very similar elephant motif. 

The flowers are centered and surrounded by small, glass mirrors.
 A few of the mirrors have cracked, but they were so expertly attached that they remain in place.

A bit of water damage: you can count on those reds to run.

Evidence of the marked pattern—these seemed to have been missed; there is no evidence of stitch marks.

Top right corner of the border

While all the embroidery is hand-stitched, the borders are attached by machine.

The back

Close-up of the back, with a peek inside—the top is attached to a linen backing, but there is no batting in between.

If you would like to learn more about the Rabari people and their exquisite embroidery, here are a few links to get you started.

I am off to continue packing for the Academy and will soon pick Kara up from the airport. There is a chance that we will be so involved with Academy activities next week that we may not post, but we will try to make up for it the following week. Until then—

Happy Stitching!

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