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Treasures from Gujarat - Kutch Mirror Embroidery

Kutch embroidery is a beautiful and heavily detailed form of Indian traditional embroidery which originates from the Kutch and the Saurashtra regions of Gujarat in North Western India. Speaking of this part of India, the images bearing the essence of the Gujarati embroideries are those of colourful Garba attires, animal clothing and handicrafts bearing gorgeous and exquisite embroideries. Interestingly a lot of varieties exist in the Kutch embroideries. Such varieties are a result of socio-economic, historical and cultural influences that have affected the weaving traditions.

Done on cotton or silk, the Kutch embroideries can be identified among more than seventeen varieties of embroidery techniques that exist till date. Of these, six techniques are popular based on regional and community differences.  The embroidery techniques comprise a combination of stitches like—herringbone stitch, darning stitch, chain stitch, buttonhole stitch, running stitch and cross stitch. The techniques are regionalized; therefore each has a dominance of particular types of stitches. A common trait of the different varieties is the highly intricate and extensive needlework on the fabric.  The use of mirror or ‘abhla’ is another characteristic of this embroidery. These small mirrors and sometimes even beads are used along with the embroideries, placed decoratively along geometric patterns.  

          Richly embellished Kutch embroidery     Richly embellished Kutch embroidery

The Kutch embroidery is a traditional craft done by the village women of the region. It had been passed down to the daughters of the family in each generation. Though at present it promises a good revenue generation for the Kutch village communities, it wasn’t originally used for commercial purposes. Embraced as a part of the daily chores, the Kutch women would embroider garments and teach the younger girls of the house how to do it. Often the ability to embroider would determine matrimonial prospects for a young woman. These embroideries were offered as customary gifts in weddings, dowry, decorations in festivities and deity clothing.

A village woman making the embroidery

 

Image sources: Hands-Across-Sea-Samplers, UnnatiSilks, Isha.Sadhguru, Pinterest, Kutchimaddu, Instagram, VibgyorCollections, HeritageTrading, MatsyaCrafts