It is rightly said that Gujarat has given India the greatest heritage in embroidery work and craft through its famous and versatile Kutch embroidery. The hub of the Kutch embroidery work is basically located in the regions of Kutch and Saurashtra wherein the local artisans churn out the most creative and exquisite designs. From mirror and bead work to Abhala embroidery along with the usage of silk threads of bright colors, the Kutch embroidery basically ornate the entire fabric and embellishes it completely. The impeccable designs of Kutch embroidery is a tribute to Rabaris, a nomadic tribe that crafted the art of Kutch embroidery which is now an artwork of international repute.
Origin & History
Historically, it is said that Kutch embroidery was brought about by ‘Kathi’ cattle breeders who later settled down and created some ne needlework which displayed a variety of elements, designs, themes, patterns and moods. Kutch embroidery has been there for centuries and in the 16th and 17th centuries Kutch embroidery pieces were exported by western countries. It is also believed that mochis or shoemakers were taught Kutch embroidery 300 years ago by a Muslim wanderer in Sindh and that is what started the tradition. However, Kutch embroidery clubbed with Sindh tradition owns styles such as Suf, Khaarek, and Paako, Rabari, Garasia Jat and Mutava.
Sources of Inspiration
A lot of the Kutch embroidery is influenced by various architectural designs and motifs such as the ‘Heer bharat’. Using the Heer Bharat as a mirror is easily xed in the center that adds more beauty to the embroidery work. Kutch embroidery is mainly done in colors such as Green, Ivory, Indigo, Black, Deep red, Yellow and off White.
This embroidery is also influenced by romantic motifs as well as patterns of human gurines in dancing poses and dancing peacocks too. A lot of motifs are also inspired by Persian and Mughal arts that are inspired by animals. Delicate beadwork is also incorporated with great nesse. The work is done on fabrics such as Cotton and Silk.
The Ahirs, who migrated from Gokul Mathura settled mostly in Kutch and Saurashtra. They are mostly engaged in agriculture. Women of the Ahir community do needle work, when they get time from the work m the house and elds. This embroidery resembles Rabari stitches but only round mirrors are used with geometrical and oral motifs. Their dresses are embellished with embroidered articles. Kotay, Dhori, Sumraser, Habai, Lodai, Dharempur, Padhar, Dhanette, Mamuara, Nagor, Cheperedi are main centres of Ahir embroidery.
Rabari has mirrors in a variety of shapes and patterns in chain stitch. It is then decorated with a sequence of stitches in vibrant colors. Artisans also use decorative back stitching, called bakhiya, to decorate men’s kediya/ jackets and the seams of women’s blouses.
Banni embroidery' refers to a kind of embroidery done by people belonging to the Banni community in Kutch. It is also known as 'Heer Bharat'. It makes use of brightly coloured threads; yellow, red and orange are the most commonly used colours. Beads and mirrors are also widely used for added effect. Usually, silk oss is used for the embroidery. Chain stitches and buttonhole stitches are commonly used in the Banni style of embroidery.