Banjara Embroidery: Traditional & Vivid Embroidery From Kutch
Banjara Embroidery is famous for its vivid decoration coins, cowry shells, woolen tassels and cotton. The textiles are adorned with glass beads, lead weights and mirror work in order to enhance the appearance. The banjaras originally moved into the region surrounding the Deccan plateau in India in the 17 th century. Most of the population is settled in the state of Andhra Pradesh. They had to leave their ancestral work during the 19 th century due to the rail work initiated by the British. Presently, the major popular of the Banjaras lives in small sized villages known as tandas spread across the Deccan plateau and their primary profession has turned into casual labor work.
Banjara women are recognized for adorning the finest jewelry and clothes, even when they are engaged in their regular works. They wear cholis, ghaghras and odhnis with mirror work, in bold appliqué. The work of the Banajara women in adjoining states of Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh is more restrained. The Banjaras are also found in huge concentration in the districts of Nimar and Malwa in Madhya Pradesh.
The women of Jalgaon make beautiful Banjara Embroidery in rectangles and squares from stem and cross stitch in a grid laid out across minutely done herring-bone stitch. The designs are primarily found angular or geometrically zoomorphic. Commonly produced articles using Banjara Embroidery include tasseled square rumals or handkerchiefs, bordered with cowries, used as presentations at ceremonial dances or ceremonies, purses for keeping areca nuts or money. Even cholis, odhnis, or ghaghras are embroidered.
Other Banjaras produce elegant quilted bags, rumals along with purses generally using brown and sometimes even blue cloth. Patterning is mostly limited to quilting stitches, but generally cotton threads are used for creating distinct geometric patterns, and then embedded underneath. Further down the south, cotton or woolen thread is used in Banjara Embroidery along with huge collection of stitches. They are used for making waist bands, bags, purses and rectangular Banjara Embroidery pieces bordered with cowry shells hanging from a head ring known as indhoni for balancing water pots.
Very deep weaving traditions are found in both southern as well as eastern Indian region. As in other parts of the country, in most of the villages, simple handloom fabrics are produced by weavers to fulfill the needs of the rural populace. Without concern for the state where the weaver belongs, he uses the weaving cloth for similar use for shawls, dhotis, saris and lungis. The style and colors of Banjara Embroidery on different textiles are determined by the cultural and climatic factors. Areas that have superior and courteous consumers, classy textiles using sophisticated methods and designs have been evolved thorough centuries from the simple original styles.
Even though the banjaras have gradually moved into the main stream, but they are still maintaining the traditional crafts. Banjara Embroidery that was earlier restricted to colorful traditional blouses, skirts and men’s jackets is now visible on belts, bags, living room decors and bead spreads on wall hangings. And, the use of bead work, mirror work, ivory beads, shells and colored threads are finding more place in different dresses using Banjara Embroidery, more than before.
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