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Textiles » Textile Glossary

A-Z

Ahir

A caste of Hindu pastoralists and farmers. Ahir women of Kutch and Saurashtra are prolific embroiderers.

Ambadevi

Mother goddess worshipped in Gujarat.

Ari

A small awl with a notch near the point, used (in the manner of the European tambour hook) to embroider in chain stitch.

Bagh (lit. 'Garden')

A Punjabi woman's shawl worn at weddings and some other ceremonies. Embroidered in 'heer' (floss) silk so that the background 'khaddar' (hand-woven) cloth is almost completely covered.

Bandhani (also bandhej)

The Gujarati word for the resist technique of tie-and-dye.

Banjara

A tribe of north Indian origin who are reputed to have moved south to the Deccan plateau when transporting the baggage train of Aurangzeb's invading army. Their traditional caste occupation was carting. Now they are classed as gypsies and sometimes as farmers. Banjara women produce some of the most intricately stitched folk embroidery in all India.

Bari

A 'toran' (embroidered doorway hanging) in the shape of an arch. From Kutch and Saurashtra.

Bukhani

Scarf or sash, worn by bridegrooms in Kutch and Saurashtra and Thar Parkar, Sind.

Butti

Flower design in textiles. The 'paisley' cone design of Kashmir is also termed 'butti'.

Chakla

A square hanging (embroidered, appliquéd or of bead work) from Kutch and Saurashtra.

Chandarvo

A large, usually square, embroidered, appliquéd or block-printed cloth used as a canopy at marriages and other ceremonies in Gujarat and western Rajasthan.

Dharaniyo (also darnia, orchard)

Rectangular embroidered or appliquéd cloth used in Kutch and Saurashtra to cover a pile of quilts when they are not in use.

Eri

A type of wild silk produced mainly in Assam, west Bengal and neighboring states.

Gaghra

Full skirt worn by women of western India.

Ganesha

Elephant-headed god. The remover of obstacles, worshipped by Hindus before undertaking any fresh venture.

Ganeshtapan

Pentagonal embroidered hanging with images of Ganesh and his wives Siddi and Buddhi, usually hung on the wall of farming houses in Saurashtra for ceremonial occasions.

Ghughi

A triangular embroidered or appliquéd cover which fits over the ears and neck of a horse.

Gopi

Milkmaid.

Guj

Embroidered wedding blouse or coat in Sind and Kutch.

Heer

Term used for floss silk in western India.

Ikat

Woven fabric in which the pattern is tied and dyed before weaving.

Jajam

Floor spread.

Jakh

Legendary horsemen, now deified, who liberated Kutch from tyrannical rule in the 10th century.

Jhul

An embroidered or appliquéd cover for a bullock's back.

Kalamkari

Pen work hand-painted cloths of Masulipatnam and Kalahasti.

Kanbi

Farming caste of Kutch and Saurashtra. Kanbi women are the most prolific embroiderers in this area.

Kathi

Landowning caste of Saurashtra.

Kathipa

A style of embroidery in 'heer' (floss) silk, utilizing geometric designs with adjoining areas of the design achieving a variation in texture by working one section in the horizontal direction, the other in the vertical, in the manner of Punjabi bagh embroidery.

Keriya

A tight-fitting, long-sleeved jacket with a skirt-like border flaring out from breastbone level. Worn by young children, adolescent boys and grown men in Gujarat.

Khaddar (also khadi)

Handspun, hand-woven cotton cloth.

Mahajan

Gujarati merchant or moneylender.

Mandap

Gujarati wedding pavilion.

Marwaris (lit. 'Inhabitants of Marwar', the old name for jodhpur state)

Members of the Rajasthani trading caste, which is now the dominant force in business and industry throughout india.

Mochi

Male professional embroiderers of Kutch and Saurashtra, famed for their delicate ari-work silk embroidery.

Moti

Class beads, particularly Venetian Murano beads.

Murano

The island in the lagoon of Venice that has been the centre of Venetian glassmaking since 1292.

Phulkari (lit. 'Flower work')

Shawls of khaddar cloth worked by Punjabi women in cloth silk, leaving much of the background cloth unembroidered.

Shisha

Mirrored glass used in embroidery work.

Toran

Gujarati doorway hanging.

Zari

Metal thread embroidery.