ASKARI, Nasreen and Hasan Askari (2019). The Flowering Desert: Textiles from Sindh. London: Paul Holberton Publishing, Mohatta Palace Museum, Karachi. ISBN 978-1-911300-71-7, hardback, pp. 168, fully illustrated in colour and b/w, bibliography, glossary. Price: GB ₤30.
A beautifully illustrated and presented book about woven, dyed and hand embroidered textiles and garments from the Sindh Province of Pakistan. Most of the items date from the 20th century and are items worn by girls and women, with some pieces for men. In addition, there are accessories and household items, such as game boards and covers for objects.
The subject matters are divided into five essays, a chapter about the collection, as well as a glossary and extensive bibliography. The essays include numerous details concerning different peoples and tribes, materials, techniques (especially embroidered and dyed forms), patterns, and the general diversity of the textiles produced and used in this vast region.
There are numerous high quality object and detail colour photographs that make following the complexity of the different groups and their textiles a pleasure.
Recommendation: This book should be in the library of anyone interested in embroidery, let alone South Asian textiles and accessories. It will also be worth while having just for the sheer enjoyment of looking at these diverse, colourful and decorative textiles (especially the embroideries). The textiles are indeed flowers in the desert.
Gillian Vogelsang-Eastwood, March 2020