In Indian embroidery, probably the richest in design and most varied in stitches is that of the Gujarat state.
The legend that explains this phenomenon is as follows, Lord Krishna once killed a demon to save the lives of thousand enslaved women.
These women became his playmates and each of them bought
along her own style of embroidery, all of which took root
in this land of Saurashtra, making a resplendent
garden in which all types of needlework flourished.
Probably the oldest and certainly the most important is the kathi embroidery. Kathi is a tribe of cattle breeders. Their work has various styles like Sindhi Taropa, Abhla Bharat but Heer Bharat is the richest of them- Bharat is embroidery and Heer derives its name from the flossy silk that is used.
This embroidery with its long stitches and embossed designs and the all over work covering the entire surface looks rather like the Bagh Phulkari. Generally the background is bluish grey and stitches in deep orange, dark blue and purple, in exceptional cases white. The dominant colors are the glowing madder red picked up in places with touches of black and white: indigo, ivory, sometimes yellow and green, but only in small surfaces.
The centre of the motif has a little mirror stitched on with a colourful buttonhole stitch.
The kathi embroidery is in two styles, the chain or the elongated darn stitch called adiya fatiya which gives it a vibrant quality. The other kind is patchwork in which beautiful multicolor effects are introduced by using brightly woven fabric pieces like brocades or Mashrus or strips from Bandhanis.
Motifs comprise of narratives of romantic tales and episodes from epics like the Ramayana, compositions reflecting their everyday life. Composite animals also figure in their motifs. One of the most powerful figures is of the kesari Sinha, king among the the thirty two kind of Sinhas, described as possessing long hair, back hump like that of a sheep, body of a...