[vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css=".vc_custom_1623043300818{padding-right: 15px !important;}" z_index=""][vc_column offset="vc_col-xs-12"][vc_column_text]Enameled Jewelry: In the story of my career, I've had much to do with the popularising of fashion jewelry in India.  But that's another story, which I will tell one day.  For the moment, I want to start a new blog series on the various genres of jewelry, not just in India but worldwide.

[vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css=".vc_custom_1622248632215{padding-right: 15px !important;}" z_index=""][vc_column offset="vc_col-xs-12"][vc_column_text]Draped Apparel: In our first blog in this series, we talked about the Indian tradition of wearing unstitched clothing from pre-Vedic times, possibly because applying a needle to cloth was believed to be polluting. [caption id="attachment_4173" align="alignleft" width="126"]The Genesis of Draped Apparel in India A kid in a langot, still worn in India by traditional wrestlers. Image Source: https://www.danielmalikyar.com/kushti-india/[/caption] Because of this belief, and probably because of the climate, India has always had a tradition of draped apparel, starting from the langot, a rectangular cloth worn as underwear.  Interestingly. I remember my grandfather still wore a langot until the 1960s, as I remember long strips of cloth drying on the washing line. 

[vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css=".vc_custom_1621725875397{padding-right: 15px !important;}" z_index=""][vc_column offset="vc_col-xs-12"][vc_column_text] Achkan, Shervani and Choga: In our last blog, we spoke of the history of the Angrakha and the Jama.  Today, we will continue with three other classic silhouettes worn by men in India, two of which are still worn on formal occasions.  The Achkan is so popular that an Indian wedding is unthinkable without the groom and several guests wearing it.  I remember when my sister was married, I cut up one of my Benares brocade sarees to make a miniature version of Achkan for my then seven-year-old son, something I now regret considering he wore it just once.  

The Achkan :Achkan, Shervani and Choga- The Indian Silhouettes

[caption id="attachment_4124" align="alignleft" width="270"] Portrait of Pratap Singh Maharaja Nabha, by Alfred Thomson[/caption]

[vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css=".vc_custom_1620800676193{padding-right: 15px !important;}" z_index=""][vc_column offset="vc_col-xs-12"][vc_column_text] [caption id="attachment_4052" align="alignleft" width="260"]Silhouettes of Indian Apparel Statue of Saraswati at the National Museum Delhi. Note her apparel.[/caption] Silhouettes of Indian Apparel : India is perhaps unique in its history of wearing unstitched clothing from pre-Vedic times, draped on the body in stylized ways.  Interestingly, in Vedic India, the body was considered an integral part of a human personality. Therefore there was no stigma attached to body parts being on display. As a culture, too, India has traditionally believed in the fluidity of form, matching well with draped garments. 

[vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css=".vc_custom_1619985119265{padding-right: 15px !important;}" z_index=""][vc_column offset="vc_col-xs-12" css=".vc_custom_1619981845491{padding-right: 15px !important;}"][vc_column_text]Gara Embroidery A study of textile or craft form becomes doubly rewarding when it amalgamates history and culture, not just from one geography but across nations and histories.  Nothing exemplifies this maxim more than the Parsi Gara. Its intricately embroidered yards of the fabric brings together Persia,  Europe, India, and China.  

[vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css=".vc_custom_1619207173048{padding-right: 15px !important;}" z_index=""][vc_column offset="vc_col-xs-12"][vc_column_text]Chikankari Embroidery from India - As a child growing up in Lucknow in the 1960s, I recall being dragged along to the stores when my mother and aunts shopped.  Much to my boredom.  Except when we went to the chikankari shops.  Even as a child, I found the gossamer tenderness and transparency of the craft fascinating, and I'm not alone in this.  In 1903, George Watt described it as "the most artistic and delicate form of the indigenous needlework of India."  Laila Tyabji compares it to a dragonfly wing.  

[vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css=".vc_custom_1618453133623{padding-right: 15px !important;}" z_index=""][vc_column offset="vc_col-xs-12"][vc_column_text]Kantha Embroidery: We speak so much nowadays of recycling and upcycling as a means of repairing what we have done to the environment and our ecology through thoughtless consumption. But in several cultures, and particularly Japan and India, upcycling has existed historically. [/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css=".vc_custom_1618453133623{padding-right: 15px !important;}" z_index=""][vc_column offset="vc_col-xs-12"][vc_column_text] [caption id="attachment_3869" align="alignleft" width="300"]Kantha Embroidery born out of Recycling and Upcycling Traditions Sashiko from Japan. So similar to Kantha. Picture Rit Maes[/caption] Japan, of course, has her Sashiko and Boro. And India has Kantha. I recall when my son was born, our Bengali help embroidered his first nappies using soft used cloth and beautiful Kantha, something I still treasure. 

[vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css=".vc_custom_1616956674552{padding-right: 15px !important;}" z_index=""][vc_column offset="vc_col-xs-12"][vc_column_text]If there is any embroidery that is solely in the realm of women, it is phulkari, and that too the women of Punjab.  Translating to 'flower work,' it is vital in the history and culture of its state of origin, steeped in its history, its customs, and rites of passage ceremonies. More than any other embroidery of India, it is significant- less for commercial reasons and more for the insight it offers into women's lives historically. 

[vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css=".vc_custom_1616300712552{padding-right: 15px !important;}" z_index=""][vc_column offset="vc_col-xs-12"][vc_column_text]Zardozi Embroidery: There is something about embroidery that has held the world in thrall in all of recorded history.  Is it the human urge to beautify and improve? Is it a stress buster? Whatever the reasons, India probably stands at the forefront of the world in terms of both the variety and the complexity of its embroidery traditions. Many of the embroideries found on garments on the international catwalks are developed in India, though this may not be known or acknowledged. 

[vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css=".vc_custom_1613962117888{padding-right: 15px !important;}" z_index=""][vc_column offset="vc_col-xs-12"][vc_column_text]Persian Carpets: There is something about the Persian carpet that makes it the most potent and symbolic of all textiles.  Of course, it's just a floor covering, so why has it made its way into art, poetry, music, and fashion?  Delving into the history and the marvelous workmanship may answer these questions.  
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