Indian subcontinent

Indian subcontinent

Kantha (compare Skt: Kanthā for rag, patched garment) work is a form of free style embroidery from Northeast India and Bangladesh. It is traditionally made from layers of old cloth (usually cotton or silk), which are sewn together forming a quilt, generally using a running stitch(often called a kantha stitch) with a relatively coarse thread.

The Victoria and Albert Museum in London houses a nineteenth century Kashmir coat made of black wool with gold thread embroidery. The embroidery includes the paisley motif.

Kashmir embroidery is one of the most famous styles of decorated needlework from the Indian subcontinent.It originates from the Jammu and Kashmir region of the northwestern part of South Asia It is also known as Kashida embroidery. Traditionally, the cloth for this type of work was woven and then decorated by embroiderers (rafugar), often from the same (extended) family.

An embroidered woollen Kashmir shawl dating to the (mid-) nineteenth century and probably produced in Kashmir is housed in the collection of the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. It measures 137 x 126 cm. The embroidery is worked with a stem stitch.

Khaarek is a form of satin stitch used for counted thread work in western India (Kutch). Khaarek embroidery is carried out by Sodha, Rajput and Meghwal communities. Geometric patterns are first outlined on a fabric and then filled in with bands of satin stitches (kharek) that are worked along the warp and weft from the front.

The Victoria and Albert Museum in London houses a woman's shirt from Lahore, in what is now Pakistan. It is dated to the mid-nineteenth century. The shirt, locally called a kurta, is made of cotton with silk and metal thread embroidery, and sequins. It is 71 cm long and 156 cm across the sleeves.

The Jats are a conglomeration of peoples who live in parts of Pakistan and northwestern India (Haryana, Gujarat, Kutch and Rajasthan). Traditionally they make their living by herding or farming. The diversity of the Jats means that they may be Hindus, Muslims or Sikhs. The Kutch Jats are known for their embroidery work, which comes in a diversity of forms.

The people of Ladakh in the mountains of northern India tend to wear a variety of plain coloured garments that are not embroidered. Instead decoration is emphasised, especially among the married women, by the use of jewellery of various types. The main exception with respect to embroidery is the hat worn by married women.

'Lady from Amritsar' is a late nineteenth century oil painting depicting a lady wearing very elaborate, embroidered garments. The painting is said to have been worked in 1880 by the English artist, Horace van Ruith (1839-1923), although there are some questions about this attribution.

Lais is a nineteenth and early twentieth century Indian (Hindu) term for a form of woven braid

The Victoria and Albert Museum in London houses a lap cloth (localled called pangkheb) from Bhutan. It is made of unbleached cotton with woven and embroidered geometrical patterns in terracotta and indigo-coloured cotton threads. It is almost 2.5 m long. It dates to about 1900.

The British Museum in London houses a large rectangular shawl from Gujarat, western India. It is made of black silk and is embroidered with chain stitch, showing alternate bands of white-petalled and crimson-petalled flowers. In the centre is a densely embroidered star-shaped motif with shisha work. The shawl is edged with bands of crimson satin. The shawl measures 195 x 170 cm.

There are three forms of lace associated with the northeastern Indian city of Lucknow. The first is a metal form that is really a woven braid, rather than a form of handmade lace using bobbins, hooks or needles, although it is called by some authors, writing in English, ‘Lucknow lace’.

In the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, the northeastern Indian city of Lucknow was well-known for the production of a wide range of metal threads. 

The collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York includes a man's coat, a choga, which probably dates to the first half of the nineteenth century and may derive from Kashmir in the northwest of the Indian subcontinent. It is 133 cm long and 75 cm wide at the bottom. It is made of wool and is decorated with metal thread embroidery and applied braids.

The Victoria and Albert Museum in London houses a waistcoat measuring 76.2 x 38.1 cm. It was made in the mid-eighteenth century in India, perhaps for the European market, and consists of a cotton ground material with woollen thread embroidery.

Mojaris (also known as mozaris) are a form of traditional footwear from the Indian subcontinent. They are mostly made of tanned leather. The leather (or sometimes textile) uppers are characteristically decorated with embroidery, metal threads, pieces of glass, brass nails, cowry shells, etc. The uppers are generally connected to the soles with cotton thread.

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