Textile Traditions of India

Man’s robe. Zari embroidery on wool; 168 cm x 141 cm. Kashmir. c. early 20th century. 7/4235.

This majestic robe of fine green woollen cloth has a lining of red raw silk. It is embroidered all over with kalabattun or gold thread by a hath-ari or hand-operated awl. With this technique of embroidery it is possible to obtain a range of chain-stitches, employed sparsely or densely, depending upon the required design. The front and the back yoke, the shoulder, the cuff, the border and the edges of the front opening, are densely embroidered with flowering scrolls and paisley motifs, whereas the rest of the robe is covered with a repetitive pattern of lobes, each enclosing a tiny flower. The buttons are in the form of two horizontally placed paisleys on either side which ingeniously break the continuity of the embroidered design.

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