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Indian Embroidery > Indian Embroidery Styles > Rabari Embroidery

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Indian Embroidery Rabari Embroidery

Rabari Embroidery Rabari embroidery is a pictographic representation of their mythology, beliefs, culture and life. Women embroider their clothes, cradle cloth and other linen of the house. Embroidery is a vital, living and evolving expression of the craft and textile traditions of the Rabaris. They use glass mirrors in various shapes: round, rhomboid, rectangular, square, triangular, and beak shaped.

Rabaris are nomadic people who came to Gujarat via Sindh, Rajasthan and Baluchistan. While the origins of this embroidery form are not exactly known, the style is quite similar to ancient Baluch embroidery. The importance given to camel also points to the connection. The embroidered chaklas and kothalos marks the relation with Rajasthan. Rabari women embroider textiles as an expression of creativity, aesthetics and identity for ever.

Patterns and Stitches
As per the belief the mirrors on the cradle cloth protect their children from evil spirits. Rabaris embroider camel trappings, long adan jackets, chorani pants ludi (veil), the groom's kediyan and so many other ceremonial and daily utility things. Rabari embroidery is like a language of expression for women. The compositions created comprise specific motifs each of which has a name and meaning. Many of these symbols represent elements intrinsic to Rabari everyday life and throws light upon how the community sees their world. Others have historical meaning and help to perpetuate the Rabari knowledge of their heritage.

There is intensive use of shaped mirrors. The stitches are square chain interlaced with buttonhole for mirror work, single chain, knot, Romanian, blanket interlaced with herringbone, running, and double running. Temple motifs, women balancing pots on their heads (paniyari), mango leaves, coconuts, scorpions, camels, parrots, elephants and the tree of life are some of the beloved and auspicious motifs of Rabari embroidery

This embroidery style is not static. The stitches, scales, color, everything changes with the imagination and spontaneity of the artist. The style is constantly evolving. Its the creativity of Rabari women, a manifestation of their extraordinary capacity for adaptation that keeps this traditional vital

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