India - Embroidery


















Rabari Tribal women of Gujarat have traditionally embroidered their dowry consisting of clothing and house hold items. Although these women are married off at a young age, they stay with their parents until the embroidery is finished. This could take years. Each woman embroiders the same traditional design with only slight variations. Each tribe in geographical localities have their own specific designs. The homes have a special cupboard especially to store the embroidery work. Groups to the west have found that tourists are very eager to buy this work and have started to sell off old family pieces and to produce work just for the tourist market which is not done with the same love and care as for their own dowry. However the supplement to the family income has been extremely helpful. 

Dana and Marg

Dana and Margaret admire this antique Rabari embroidery including wedding garments for grooms. The size of these exquisitely embroidered garments  indicates the young age of the couple. These days marriages are not happening at such young ages.


This large embroidered and appliquéd canopy was made especially for the dinning area of the Desert Coursers, Camp Zainabad, at the Little Rann of Kutch. This remote spot was the ideal place to safari viewing the rare Wild Ass as well as flamingos, Black-Buck, and many water birds. 

Banjara tribal women near Hyderabad wear blouses and head scarves embroidered and decorated with mirrors. These women are mainly labourers but wear all their jewellery and embroidered clothing to do heavy work which could consist of road construction or brick carrying. These women are having a day off on a national holiday. The Banjaras are descended from the original gypsy originating in North Western India.

In the past ten years, more Banjara women have started to wear saris and use their traditional clothing only for special holidays.




Copyright 1997-2012 Dana McCown *