Jaina Mishra on Kutch Embroideries

On June 4, 2016, Jaina Mishra

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gave a Rug and Textile Appreciation Morning program here at the Textile Museum in Washington, DC, on “Wedding Embroideries of Kutch.”

In the 1990s Jaina began to collect the “souls” of vanishing cultures embedded in the traditional arts.  There are three streams of her work.  First she is a collector, a consultant, and curator.  She is also a skilled photographer, and she writes and lectures on these cultures.  Her web site: WovenSouls.com is an entry to her work.

She began her program on Kutch wedding embroderies.

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Good morning,

I am going to talk about the textiles of the salt desert region of Kutch.  I will treat these textiles through the cultural paradigm from which they emerge.

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In Kutch, the geography has played an important role in shaping the social structure.  The people are migrants and the history of their migrations has influenced their life-style.

Let’s look at this cultural background before proceeding to examine their textiles.

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I am going to focus, particularly, on the Rabaris, who are nomadic herders who live scattered throughout the western Indian states of Rajasthan and Gujarat.

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It is said that the Rabaris originate from the Kachhi region of Baluchistan.

One source of this alleged connection is that one of the goddesses they worship. “Hanglaj” has a major temple in East Baluchistan and before the partition of India, Rabari elders made pilgrimages to Hinglaj at least once in their lifetimes.

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The brown area in the map above indicates the location of the state of Gujarat.

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Some famous people hail from Gugarat.  Gandhi and the newly elected Prime Mininster of India, Modi, and even some not-so-famous people, like myself, are from Gujarat.  Gujarat is the home to several tribes, some of Gypsy origin, but, as I’ve indicated, I’ll treat only the Rabaris of the Kutch.

The upper jaw of Gujarat (red) is largely a salt desert and,

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Let’s look at some Rabari people and their social context.

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Below are pictures I took in 2007.

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This is a Rabari woman carrying water to her home.

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 Here are two other Rabari women.  They are going to their temporary home in a field where they are parked for a fortnight.

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The economic model the Rabaris migrants follow is interesting. Because they are constantly moving, it is to their advantage to have only things they need.

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Below is a bare Rabari home (a simple tent), with meagre belongings.

The perspective of these people is that the more things one owns, the less freedom one has.

It is as if our possessions become “Gulliver’s pegs” and tie us down.

There is truth to that.

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The Rabaris are expert camel breeders, cattle herders and shepherds.  They are said to have introduced camels to the subcontinent.

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Camels

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Rabaris trace their ancestry to the Lord Shiva.

They are Hindu and devout worshipers of the Mother Goddesses.

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 Rabaris also have connection to the Rajput warriors of Rajasthan through marriage.  This establishes their position in the caste hierarchy through their association with the second rung of the pecking order.

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Periodically a given Rabari community grows too large for the environment in which it lives, even with migration, to sustain it.  The group divides and part of it migrates to a new region.  As a result of this periodic division there are many subgroups of Rabari.

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While many of the lifestyle elements differ from one Rabari subgroup to another, they still all retain a common set of Rabari values and beliefs that over-ride all other  differences.

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Rabaris have a strong sense of Rabari identity and belief that is the most important aspect of their lives.

When many non-Rabari strangers meet they introduce themselves as “I am from village X or city Y,” but Rabaris introduce themselves by saying “I am Rabari.” 

(ed. This strong sense of identity as a Rabari is a remarkable thing.  It contrasts with the sense of identity in some Central Asian tribes.  For example, one large Turkman tribe has, historically, been called the “Ersari,” but none of them would say “I am Ersari.”  Instead their identity is tied most strongly to a subgroup of the “Ersari” tribe.)

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Within the Rabari group, identity is defined by genealogical origin and expressed as “Shahkh” (or branch) and “Atak” (or surname).

All Rabaris determine marriage rules and allowable marital alliances based on genealogy.

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There is a strict code of social behavior among Rabari community members, bonded by the belief that they are descendants of Lord Shiva.

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We are going to treat wedding textiles, but first let’s look at the Rabari concept of weddings and marriages, which is quite different from that in much of the modern world.

These concepts can seem strange to us, as outsiders.  But we must realize that our constructs seem equally strange to them.

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In a society of scarcity, as opposed to one of abundance, it is necessary to utilize scarce resources to full capacity.

So in poorer countries, such as the India of the past, resources that require heavy investments of time or money, such as living quarters, child rearing, etc. are shared within an “extended family.”

These extended or joint families include several generations: grandparents, parents and children, all living under one “roof.”

The functions that must be performed are divided among the generations of the extended family by tradition.

The grandparents mind the children.  The middle-aged women mind the processes of managing domestic finances and inventory.  The younger married women manage the “kitchen,” domestic finances and inventory.  The men of all ages go out and earn an income (primarily by working with the livestock).  So while all the women have had some tasks assigned to them in their traditional roles, this traditional division of labor provided enough free time for them to invest in the considerable work required for their embroidery.

Now this division of labor was most strongly observed in the past.  Nowadays, it is more loosely defined and does not apply to every household.  And it is changing rapidly as people move to larger cities for work in nuclear units.  The gradual breakdown of the traditional division of labor will impact the creation of Kutch embroidery such as that we are treating here.

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For such an arrangement to work, the selection, training and assimilation of a new incumbent – the bride – was critical.  Her entry into the extended family was critical to the continued smooth functioning of such a collaborative organization within the home.

So marriages were arranged.

The families selected the bride/groom based on commonalities of lifestyle: religious beliefs, food habits, etc, so that the amalgamation results in the least possible friction for all concerned.

So when a young man or woman comes of age, proposals come to the parents from various relatives and clan members through common connections.

Once the parents are satisfied that the proposed new member is alright, an alliance is proposed.

Then, following negotiations of bride price an alliance is struck. (In some communities outside Kutch, this practice is reversed and is called the “groom price or dowry.”

When a new bride comes in, she absorbs the family’s ethos (and the previous arranged process has made this easier and more likely) and becomes an effective contributor to the “well-oiled machinery” of the extended family she has joined.

Now arranged marriages like this run counter to the modern notion of individual choice of marital partner, and of romance.  But there are many aspects of life over which (at least initially) individuals world-wide have no choice.  One’s parents are a given, as is the place where you will live in your early life.  Most are raised in the religion of their parents without the question of choice ever arising.  So the notion of not exercising one’s choice in important matters, is not necessarily as alien as some, nowadays, might think.  Nor is it limited to arranged marriages in India.

It is also important to note that romance and individual choice of marriage partner is, historically, a rather recent development world-wide.  In the traditional world love and romance (if it was to occur) happened after marriage.  So arranged marriages have for most of history, also “worked” for the purposes for which they were designed.

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When a girl of less than 18 marries – it is deemed a child marriage.  Child marriage is a custom prevalent even today in several states of India.  Actual number of child marriages in India is not clear, but at least several million occur each year.

Child marriages are sometimes presented as horror stories by the media, but examination of the actual facts shows that this is not the case.

First, in societies in which child marriage is part of the traditional structure, the age difference between the girl and the boy is usually 2 – 5 years.

Second, child marriage has been practiced, and its functionality tested, in traditional societies for centuries.  It is not salacious.  It is focused on family stability.

We cannot always assume that modern marriage practices are superior to those of traditional societies.

It might well by that, sometimes, the reverse is the case.

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So how does it work?

First the marriage is arranged, then some ceremonies are conducted to affirm the wedding.

And then the girl continues to live with her parents, to play and to go to school – just as she used to do before here wedding, until she attains child-bearing age.

Now preparations are made for her “gauna” or “aanu” or “farewell.”

This is the occasion when her husband’s family comes to the girl’s home to pick her up and take her to her new home.

This event is practiced in all communities that practice child marriage in its pure traditional form.

In the Rabaris, the bride wears a special Ludhi shawl – red with yellow dots for this occasion.

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What is the logic behind the practice of child marriage?

The thought is that, if the biological clock has begun to tick, then, it is time for the married couple to embark on family life.

Just as other animals do, humans live life according to the rules of nature.  Even in modern societies, we know that teenagers are, often, active in the biological sense regardless of the social and moral prohibitions imposed.  Modern societies have the problem of unwanted teen pregnancies.

Arranged marriages, even child marriages, are a solution that takes nature into account. They have created a social structure – the arranged marriage and the joint family – for bringing up the babies, rather than having teen pregnancies with no social structure to support them.

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The dowry is the bride’s trousseau, and consists of clothing and jewelry and household items.

She also takes ,with her dowry, things that remind her of her old home: things filled with love and memories.

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For some, the dowry might be comprised of things purchased in the market.  But those who are fortunate, the dowry contains pieces that were made by her mother, and grandmother, and her aunts before her own eyes during her childhood.

One stitch at a time, the textile is embroidered – together – by the women of the family.  They sing and embroider together in the afternoon.  They chat, passing stories of their ancestors and their wisdom.

So these home-made dowries contain, not just artistic wealth, but also memories of moments spent together.

Now let’s take a quick visit to a home on the morning of a wedding.

Note: Not all Rabaris are migrants and live in tents.

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This the decorated door of the bride’s home.  A member of the bride’s family, likely her mother, is a greeter.

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During our visit, we will treat textiles for women and men and, also, textiles for decorating walls and animals.

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We start with textiles that women wear.

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The next two images below are of Rabari women in traditional clothing.  As you can see, the first is on the occasion of a wedding.

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Here are some individual items of traditional Rabari women’s dress.

The first, below, is a backless blouse, called a “kapdu.”  It has only narrow panels at the back, tied together with strings.  The black veil hangs over the bare back so it isn’t exactly bare. 

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The kapdu is tight fitting, in front, and does not require a brassiere underneath.  The examples below are from a different Rabari subgroup than those above.

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The next three images show examples of Rabaris skirts.

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The examples of blouses and skirts above are those Rabari women wear everyday.  They are not reserved for ceremonial events.

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One item of the clothing of Rabari women stands out: the black veil. 

Hindus form 80% of India’s population.  The color black is not preferred by Hindus.  Not for wedding; not for funerals.

Black is considered inauspicious and, in the past, it was not worn at all.

The Rabaris are Hindus, so why the color black was chosen needs explanation.

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We will talk, in a moment, about how black came to be the color of the veil used, uniformly by the women of the entire Rabari tribe.

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But let’s first have a look at the art and the craft of this important black veil.

The veil is made of hand spun wool from goats.

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The veil is hand-woven on a narrow loom.  The woven material is tied and dyed (the orange-yellow on the piece below).  Then two pieces of the material are placed side-by-side and attached together along the long side.

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It is then embroidered together at the center.

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Now let’s return to the question of why Rabari women’s veils are black.

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Legend has it that “once upon a time,” a few centuries ago, the Rabari tribe with their herd roamed the lands ruled by a particular Muslim or Islamic king.

Nomadic tribes have symbiotic and cordial relationships with rulers, acting sometimes as escorts, sometimes as messengers, spies, or advisors in political matters of state.

In this case, the Rabari tribal lord and his family came to be on very good terms with this particular Islamic king and both families became close.

The wife of the Rabari chief declared the Islamic king her brother and the family ties strengthened.

From that point the families of the brother and sister participated in each others life celebrations and festivals.

Life went on and one day there was a battle between the Islamic king and some enemy of the state in which the king lost his life.

Since he was the Rabari “first lady’s” brother, mourning was declared among the Rabaris as well.

Black was worn because the king was a Muslim king.

All celebrations and joyous activities ceased for the mourning period.

Mourning usually lasts for up to 13 days, and ends with a ceremony, in which a feast is offered.

In this story, the Rabari’s tribal lord’s wife – the declared sister of the Islamic king – was so deeply devastated that that she declared more stringent terms for the end of the mourning.  She declared that mourning for the tribe would continue until an offering of a feast was held at which 2000 kg of salt would be used in the cooking.

Since such a feast was beyond the preparation capabilities and the eating capacities of the tribe, the end of the mourning period never came and the tribe continued to wear black.  This practice continues today.

Since all this happened centuries ago, most of normal life has resumed, but the dress tradition of the black veil continues.

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“This legend was heard from a prominent Rabari tribal patriarch.  The discovery of the tale in this textile and its multiple layers of beauty that make is a remarkable palimpsest, has made it one of my favorite textiles to collect.” 

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The image below is of a veil oriented horizontally, and not stretched out.

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Below, again, is a row 3-D floret embroidery done to seal the two narrow panels of cloth along the spine.  The greater the number of florets, the greater the value of the veil (ludhi or ludgadi).

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The bridal veils, below, are more decorated and ornate than some of the others we’ve seen.

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Now let’s turn to Rabari men’s clothing.

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The men in the photo above are wearing short tunics.  The sleeves of such tunics are fitted to allow the hands to be unobstructed for work.  But at the chest of these tunics, there are dozens of tiny gathers making it loose and airy.  These tunics are called “kediyus.”

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The shirt, above, is a kediyu that would be worn at a male child’s marriage.

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A similar one was exhibited at the “Fabric of India” exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.

The next textile is the men’s pants or dhoti.

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The dhoti is a panel of cloth (usually about five yards long) that is taken around the waist and the brought between the legs to form flexible pants.  One size fits all.

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Above is an open dhoti of the Debariya Rabari subgoup.

Below are closer images of the ends of this dhoti.

 

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Now, while we are treating this sort of pant form as one worn by men in India, in truth, this basic format is widely used in south and southeast Asia by both men and women. 

I make that point because I want to show one way in which a dhoti-like garment is put on and tied. 

The example I want to use is one worn in southeast Asia and is there called a “hip wrapper.”  In this example, this pant form is being worn by a woman volunteer in another Textile Museum program.

It starts by putting the long strip of cloth around her, kind of like a horizontal sling. 

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Next, she holds the two sides together around her waist (I think a clip of some sort is used; she’s holding it closed with her hand). 

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The man helping her, holds the ends of the sling, and twists them together to form a sort of “rope.”  The “rope” then gets passed through her legs and the end is tucked into the waist at the back.

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As we noted above, this is a unisex garment.  Yul Brynner wore one in his role as the King in “The King and I.”

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Now, with that explanation, we move back to India and to Rabari men’s dress. 

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The next item is the shawl.  The man in the image below is wearing one.

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Here is a closer view of it.

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The images above and below are of men and their camels at a religious fair where even the livestock are brought to worship.

The sense of style with which these shawls are worn is evident.  And the color is distinct.

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Now we turn to the accessories worn at a wedding by the Rabari groom.

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We are going to treat some of the groom accessories individually, but notice in the multicolor-banded, silk-cotton, Mashu shawl and pants (about which more later), worn by the groom over his clothes. 

Note also the sword sheath, held over the shoulder, and the panel worn above his turban.

Below are two, isolated examples of groom decor.  The first is a turban panel; the second a sheath.

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Below are two examples of the shoulder cloth, worn by the groom and called “bokani” or “bukani.” 

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The turban is the crown worn by every man.

It represents the dignity and honor of the man and his family in societies where material wealth is not the focal point of life.

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A little background on the turban and its role in marital ceremony.

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The identity of every community rests on a few anchors. 

For the Rabaris, the honor of the individual is among the most important anchors, and it is this anchor that drives all his behavior and makes him do things that will enhance his honor.

One of the factors that is critical to a man’s honor is the virtue of his daughter(s).

Daughters are raised with care and protected from the outside world and are expected to be virgins at the time of marriage.

A daughter is her father’s honor and pride.

At the time of the wedding, the father of the bride places this honor in the hands of his son-in-law.

The groom is responsible for treating his wife well, protecting and looking after her.

Divorce is permitted among the Rabaris, and if the groom sends his new wife back to her birth family, the honor of the bride’s father is at stake.

So the turban represents the honor of the bride’s father and the turban ceremony is one of the important rituals of a Rabari wedding.

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The turban being made here (the red strip) is the one worn by the father of the bride.  Here is how the making proceeds.

A long strip of material is first twisted to make it roundish.

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The twisting goes on…

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and on. 

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Then it begins to be coiled, a few beginning turns, around an arm, to begin to take on the shape it will have when placed on the bride’s father’s head.

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Next, the beginning coils are placed on the head of the father, and further coiling turns are made, building it up.

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Eventually, the winding of the turban on the head of the father of the bride is completed, the end is tucked in, and completed turban looks like this.

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Now we are ready for the turban honor ceremony.

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The groom, dressed in white, has arrived and is being received at the door.

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There is a long, decorated strip of material, held on his head, as he goes through the door.

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Once through the door, he removes the head cloth and here he is.

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The father of the bride enters the chamber.

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He takes off his turban,

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and places it on the bridegroom’s head. 

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This is a solemn moment; the bride’s father, is symbolically, conveying the family’s honor to the bridegroom.

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The bridegroom makes a few adjustments.

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Almost right…

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Yes, this is as it should be.

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He emerges from the chamber, proudly, with his new crown of responsibility.

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This is the second example that shows us how important textiles are to the cultural traditions of the Rabari people.

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In the pictures so far, you may have noticed textiles on the walls.  Wall hangings are another instance of Rabari textile practice.

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Above are three types of panels used to decorate doors. The piece on the left is hung on either side of the entrance.  The upper right piece hangs above the door.  The lower right piece is arranged on the wall, either as a square or a diamond.

Below is another wall hanging.

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The textile below is a cover, called a “dhaniyo” or a “dharaniyo.”  In nomadic households, it is not possible to have wooden cabinets for storage.  As a result, things are stacked one upon the other and, even if neatly stacked, the assortment of items makes it look untidy.  So covers have been created to make such a space look good.  Such covers are thrown over or hung in front of messy stacks to conceal the mess.

A dyaniyo usually conceals grain boxes, trunks full of clothing, bedding, and vessels meant for occasional use.

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Despite their primary functional purpose, covers, such as the one above can be fabulous examples of folk art.

Animals are essential to migratory Rabari life and the Rabari want them to look good for special occasions.

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Above are some animal decorations.  Bottom center is a camel hat with space for ears.  It could also be used as a horn cover.  The the upper right piece is a ceremonial bullock-forehead decoration.  The two pieces on the upper left are also said to be head decorations for bullocks.

Simple pieces of this sort, are, now, beginning to be made for the sole purpose of selling them.

Once commerce takes over, the taste of the buyer comes into play and the character of the art changes dramatically.

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The contents of the “dowry” will have different meanings depending on the Rabari group, place, customs and economic level, but it is essentially the bride’s trousseau.

The bride’s trousseau consists of things she may wear over her lifetime and things that will offer her memories and comforts when she moves to her new home.

The dowry may also contain heirloom items that are passed from generation to generation.  It may also contain a textile that the bride’s mother began work on with her.

Rugs, bags or other textiles in a dowry may also be gifts from relatives, mostly likely from the mother, the mother’s brother, or an aunt.

The selection of items for the dowry may take place over a long time.

A bride and her family will put into her dowry items that are as good as circumstances permit.

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The maternal uncle: the brides mother’s brother, is the person expected to give the most gifts in the dowry.

Performance of this function is the honor, responsibility and duty of this man and must be planned for by the uncle’s family as well.

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Here are members of the bride’s family carrying items of her trousseau.

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More trousseau items.

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Now family members of the bride, led by the maternal uncle, carry the trousseau items for presentation.

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The maternal uncle and other family members carry the trousseau item into the ceremony chamber.

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The bride’s trousseau is presented.

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A senior member of the groom’s family meets the trousseau entourage at the door.  Being met at the door by a senior member of a family is a sign of respect.

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The maternal uncle has done his duty.

Now we return to the textiles.

Here are some Rabari dowry bags.  They are made in various sizes and construction depending on the objects that would be placed in them.

They are extravagantly embroidered and embellished with mirrors.  The one on the left, below, is likely used for clothing.

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The small bag below is probably for jewelry.

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The dowry bags were used to pack the bride’s things when she moved from here parents home to her husband’s.

Because camels were the means of transport, suitcases were not appropriate.  Instead, pliable bags were used that could be comfortably carried on the camel’s back.

Here are some more examples.

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The bag on the right below has an “envelope” format, with the triangular top flap folding over to close it.

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The Kutch employ a variety of embroideries.  As the Rabari subgroups splintered, and moved away from each other, the embroidery art of of the subgroups evolved differently.

So we have three distinctly different types of embroidery, each practiced by one of the Rabari subgroups.

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The three types of Rabari embroidery are vagadia, debariya and kaachi.

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A close look at the work, above, from the Vagadia subtribe, reveals their preference for high-density stitching, rendered in yellow and white.

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The next two images below, show a Debariya preference for many unique motifs each rendered in a single color.  Mirrors are not necessarily found all over Debariya work – they may be restricted to border panels.

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The Kaachi Rabari embroidery work, below, employs mirrors, all over, and a variety of motifs, each rendered in several colors.

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A look at a dozen examples of each of these types of Rabari embroidery is sufficient to make good guesses about the particular subgroup a given piece originates from.  It is important to remember that these subgroups did not exist a century ago, so in older pieces they may have not attained the unique identities that we see today.

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Below is one more Rabari textile format: the cradle hammock

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Jaina said that she wanted to examine an interesting aspect of the Rabari embroidery stitch used in this cradle hammock.

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The stitch in the detail above (and also in the cradle hammock above) is one that is common in Rabari work.

It seems not a simple stitch that could have intuitively arisen in different parts of the world.

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Above are some clips of embroidery stitches.  Would you agree that they all look similar?

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Would you agree that the stitch used in the two pieces above are also similar?

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The surprise is that the piece above is not Rabari, but rather, “Marash embroidery” from Armenia.

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Jaina said that she finds it intriguing that this little cultural usage – a “meme,” if you will, is found in two geographically separated cultures.  She said that she wonders how these these two groups came to have the same complex stitch and what their connection might be.

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But that, she said, would be a topic for a future exploration.

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She said that she would end her lecture by examining some of the motifs used in Rabari embroidery.

Here, below, is a first set of two.

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The motif on the left above is of “butter-churning girls.”  The one on the right is a girl on a camel.

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Below are a second set of similar motifs.

They are of a girl or a goddess.  They are rendered differently from slide to slide.

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The next set of motifs are versions of the eight-pointed flower or star, as seen frequently.

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A next set of motifs are seen to be a girl or a goddess on a camel.

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Finally, Jaina said, are two set of embroidery stitches that can be used to fix mirrors on cloth.

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Jaina had brought a number of Rabari embroideries and some audience members had brought Rabari textiles, and she turned to them now.

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Some are treated in the lecture, but are worth seeing a little closer and in more detail.

I have not distinguished between pieces brought by Jaina and those brought by audience members.  Photos were taken opportunistically and, often, non-sequentially.

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J3*

Comments on J3:  Jaina described this piece as a tie-dyed, Gaji, silk, wedding shawl, called “odhana or ab0chani” in different regions.

It is an example, not just of the micro tie-dyes that create the red dots on the black background, but also the larger black devices on the yellow areas of the field.

Detail images of J3.

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J3a*

J3b*

J3c*

J3d*

J3e*

J3f*

J4

J4*

Comment on J4:  Jaina said that this is a little boy’s shirt that may have been his wedding suit.

The motifs suggest that it is probably from the Ahir community that shares geography with the Rabaris.  Their work is very similar.

Details of J4.

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J4a*

J4b*

J4c*

J5

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J5*

Comment on J5:  Jaina said that this is a dowry bag.

Details of J5.

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J5a*

J5b*

J6

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J6*

Comments on J6:  The use of silk floss thread and the type of stitching suggests that this work is probably from Saurashtra and not Kutch.

Details of J6.

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J6b*

J6c*

J6d*

J7

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J7*

Comments on J7:  This shirt front is not from Kutch but from a neighboring region.

Details of J7.

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J7b*

J7a*

J7c*

J7d*

J7e*

J8

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J8*

Comment on J8:  This is a “welcome” panel to be hung on the door.  The use of silk floss and the type of stitch suggests that this is not a Rabari piece.  Note the use of negative space to create lines between the diamonds.

Details of J8.

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J8a*

J8b*

J8c*

J8d*

J9

J9*

Comments on J9:  Jaina said that this is a beautiful dhanivo or dharaniy0 – used to cover up household goods.  Probably from the Jat community in Kutch.

Details of J9.

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J9b*

J9awithJaina*

Note the use of the camel and girl/goddess motif detailed below.

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J9adetail

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J9c*

J10

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J10a*

Comment on J10:  This is a skirt made of Mashru material.

Details of J10.

J10d*

J10*

It is made with silk on the outside and cotton on the inside and is created on a complex loom.  Such a structure came to be in order to circumvent the mandate of the Islamic community that silk could not be worn on the skin.  With this fabric, the cotton side faces the skin and the silk faces outward.

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J10adetail*

More details of J10.

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J10c*

J10b*

J11

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J11*

Comment on J11:  Jaina said that this is a lovely dhaaraniyo or dhaniyo.  She said that she is not sure which group it belongs to but that it is not Rabarai.

Details of J11.

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J11a*

J11c*

J11b*

J12

J12

Comment on J12:  This is a blouse called a “kapdu.”

Note the various animals and birds on it in the detail images below.

Details of J12.

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J12a*

J12b*

J12c*

J12d*

J13

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J13*

Comment on J13:  Jaina said that these are a pair of ceremonial bullock headdresses.  When I first saw these, in Jaina’s lecture above, they seemed similar to knee decorations for camels in Central Asia and Turkey.  If they were headdresses I  was not clear why there were two. 

I thought that perhaps bullocks are usually used in pairs, but have seen some photos of singles.

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26985410-bullock-cart-on-road-shot-at-afternoon-hours-on-march-26-2014-at-patna-bihar-india

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Jaina indicates that bullocks are used both singly and in pairs and that fact there there are two of these bullock head decorations suggests that they are intended for use on a bullock pair.

Details of J13.  Probably natural dyes.

J13 left

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J13aleft*

J13 right

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J13aright*

J14

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J14*

Comment on J14: This is a groom’s ceremonial sword shield of the Debariya Rabari.

Details of J4.

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J14d*

J14e*

J15

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J15*

Comment on J15:  This is a Ludhi – ceremonial “Aanu” shawl of the Vagadia Rabari tribe, with eleven florets.  An expensive one.

Details of J15.  Lots of them.

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J15a*

J15b*

J15c*

J15d*

J15f*

J15e*

J15g*

J15h*

J15i*

J16

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J16*

Comment on J16: This is a groom’s shoulder cloth/scarf called “bokani” or “bukani.”  Kaachi Rabari tribe.

Details of J16.

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J16a*

J16b*

J16c*

J16d*

J17

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J17*

Comment on J17:  This is a ceremonial “kediyu” for a Debariya Rabari child.  Probably used for a wedding.

Details of J17.

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J17a*J17b*

J17c*

J17d*

J18

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J18*

Comment on J18:  This is a Vagadiya dowy bag – envelope style.

Details of J18.

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J18a*

J18b*

J18c*

J18d*

J19

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J20enlarged*

The image, above, of J19 is not good.  Here, below, is a better image of a similar piece from the lecture slides.

J20similarmaybe*

Comment on J19:  This is a superb Jat community (not Rabari) dowy bag.  Note the use of silk floss and negative spaces.

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J20

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J21*

The detail, below, of J20 shows its character much more clearly.

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J21a*

Comment on J20 and detail:  Not sure where this is from, but, it is, certainly, Gujarat.  The flowers could be mochi work.

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The last piece of the day was J21.

J21

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J19*

Comment on J21:  This piece is also from Gujarat, with rich, natural dyed red hand-spun cloth.  Probably not Rabari.

J21 is a piece deserving of details.

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J19b*

J19a*

J19c*

J19e*

J19d*

J19f*

Jaina answered questions

Jbroughtinc

and adjourned her session.  The forward migration began…

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After1*

After5*

After4*

After8*

After3*

Jaina’s dress deserved notice.

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After9*

After10*

After2*

After6*

After7*

I want to thank Jaina for coming and presenting this interesting program.  She and I have known one another via the internet, since, perhaps, 2004, so it was especially good to see her in person.  She not only came from a great distance, she gave two programs: this one, and another she gave, the next day, to our local textile club.  You will eventually also be able to enjoy that second presentation on my Eccentric Wefts site.

Jaina expressed her own thanks with this calling card.

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Slide121*

I hope you have enjoyed this program by a person who travels widely in traditional societies, documenting their ways of life and their textiles.

Regards,

R. John Howe

 

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