HISTORY OF INDIAN EMBROIDERY For many people around the world, india has always been a land of vibrant

festivals, fantastic art, craft, ethnic traditions and mystery. Interaction of people of different races, invaders, indigenous tribes, traders and explorers have built up a complex culture in this country, celebrated for its vitality, intricacy and vibrancy. Fashion designing is quite an old trend in india as professional designing and adorning of garments have been in practice since more than 5000 years. All of the stylistic elements that are used for adornment have deep signification rooted in its culture, religion and the daily lives of its people. No other country has ever enjoyed such a profusion of creative forces to produce ethnic art and craft in textile as in the subcontinent of india. Embroidery had always played a prominent role in india society. Be it in the life of rural folk as dowry goods, as wedding paraphernalia, as group indentifier in tribes, at the courts of Mughals and other nobilities, embroidery was always there serving its unique purpose. Embroidered textiles decorated the walls of places, tents, canopies, as well as costumes of the nobility. Indian embroidered textiles have been high fashion statements and the most cherished possessions for people in western countries since two millenniums. In all, embroidery has been one of the most enduring and foremost crafts in the rich heritage of textile industry in india. Vedic literature dates indian embroidery back to 5000 bc, indicating that the craft is being practised in india since prehistoric times. The ruins of mohenjo-daro, which dates back to 2000bc, provide many examples of embroidery with high aesthetic value. Bronze needles were found during the excavation and there were many indications of the existence of embroidery in their day to day life. Mgasthenes, the greek ambassador to yhe court of Chandragupta maurya in the late 4th centuryBC, mentions observing beautifully embroidered garments of muslin with gold work on them. Though we do not have any specimens from that age, we do get a glimpse of the art in the sculptures of the early medieval period. Most outstanding examples are the stupa of sanchi and the colourful frescoes of Ajanta. These frescoes show that the art of embroidery had attined a high level of sophistication during the Buddhist renaissance. The designs were made on costumes such as veils, scarves, waist coats and various types of tunics. It is difficult to figure out particular patterns to represent a brocade type or a needle work in the Ajanta designs, but the characteristics that are common to the Ajanta designs as a whole are certainly relevant to the study of embroidery. One can see recurring motifs like bands filled with geometrical designs like circles, stripes, checks, chevrons; sometimes enlivened with sacred geese or lions. There is complete absence of floral patterns, which were later introduced by the Persian and Mughals. if one looks for parallels between ajanta frescoes and the present day schools of embroidery, the closest matches are in phulkari – the darning stitch embroidery of punjab. in these two traditions persian influence seems to have been minimal. most types of professional embroidery that is practised now have recognizable link to the local folk craft that relates to the ancient times. The oldest surviving specimens of indian embroidery are two pieces made foe jain nuns probably in the fifteenth or sixteenth century. However, ample remains are available of those made for the Mughal courts during the seventeenth century. From earliest trading records, it is clear that European, Asian and haventic civilizations turned to india for textiles. Greek, roman, Persian and Chinese traded precious metal and silk for colourful indian cotton, specially light cotton cloth adorned with fine embroidery. The kantha quilts and satgaon quilts of Bengal, printed and embroidered textile from Gujarat and shawls made in Kashmir were exported to European industrial revolution, india was the foremost centre of textile production. Starting from the rann of kutch to the coromandal coast, thousands of professional craftsmen and housewives were relentlessly pursuing block printing, tie – n – dye, weaving and embroidering fascinating pieces of art and craft while keeping the indian ethinic art alive and vibrant. The invading mongols, turks, Persian, Mughals and many nomadic tribes brought their influences to this subcontinent. This influence is widely visible in present day indian textiles. Many floral motifs seem now in indian ethnic embroidery are direct adaptations of the West-Asian craft but the original designs are still being maintained.

4. Western india: this region covers Gujarat(saurashtra and kutch). Northern most: up in the north. 1. Punjab excelled in phulkari chaddars. The Gujarat region of kutch had the reputation of producing the best embroideries in the world and unique beadwork. south west rajasthan. Punjab and Sindh(now in pakisthan). 3. The chamba rumals of himachal also displays great artistic creed.CLASSIFICATION OF INDIAN EMBROIDERY: DIFFERENT REGIONAL STYLES There is enough evidence to believe that the techniques and patterns used in a particular region depended heavily upon the availability of fiber. We come across five distinct regions where ethnic embroidery flourished. Eastern india: Bengal produced kantha quilts and satgaon quilts and Orissa is famed for wide variety of its applique work artifacts for its temples and other religious purposes. Kashmir produced a fabulous range of embroidered shawls and carpets which have won worldwide critical acclaim and commercial success. pre-existing or co-existing artistic traditions. 2. The lower vganges valley: bihar and . colours. the presence of other local stimuli and the customary and religious commitments. while rajasthan produced gota and applique work. All these factors usually combine together to give birth to the distinct regional styles.

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful