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A Collection of Shape Resist and Tie-Dyed Indian Turbans: Lahariya, Mothara and Bandhani

March 19, 2009

The flinty light of today’s rainy spring day makes for a subdued atmosphere to present a collection of exuberantly colored Indian turbans that were dyed and worn in the bright desert sun of Rajasthan.

This is a tight little group of mothara, lahariya and bandhani turbans: generally speaking you can characterize the shape resist techniques as such: mothara , very simply put is pleated and twisted on two diagonals and can yield a  complex and dazzling criss-cross effect.  Lahariya–which literally means “waves”– shows an intricate chevron-like pattern, and bandhani is what is called tie-dye.

Three madder-dyed bandhani turbans are positioned on the right side of the group: do they seem familiar in design?  Through a circuitous history of trade and travel, bandhani morphed into the present-day bandanna.

The group of turbans sits in a mended wooden trough from Gilgit, Pakistan; the trough sits on a collection of ralli quilts from Sindh, an area that traverses Pakistan and India.

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Two Lahariya “Tie Dyed” Indian Turbans, a Sindhi Ralli and an Afghani Embroidered Bag

November 11, 2008

How about a blast of saturated, bright color today?  Here are two lahariya turbans: lahariya is a kind of wrap resist (or tie-dye or shibori) dyeing process, usually resulting in ‘wavy’ stripes or zigzags.  Lahariya dyeing is the province of Jaipur, India and these two examples are done of gossamer-thin cotton muslin and probably date to the middle of the last century.  The book “Tie-dyed Textiles of India: Tradition and Trade” published by the Victoria and Albert Museum shows many examples of lahariya turbans.  I’ve shown similar examples on my website, here.

The small, envelope-shaped embroidered cotton bag is from Afghanistan and is lined in a kind of block print cotton, whose curved and floral print is a wonderful contrast to the intricate, interlocking geometries of the counted thread embroidery of the exterior.

And please note the gorgeous textile which these others sit on; this is a ralli, or a heavily layered and stitched quilt which comes from the area called Sindh, which now extends across the border between Gujarat/Rajasthan/Punjab, India and Pakistan.  I love this ralli for its wear: note the abrasion to the surface of the quilt which reveals the multi-colored layers beneath. 

Rallis can be made from left over cloth, and they can assume a variety of forms, from bedcovers to cushion covers, to saddle blankets and the like.  The word ralli comes from the local word ralanna, which means to connect or to mix.  I have some really nice rallis on my website, and in time, I will be offering for sale on my website all the textiles shown here on this post–  feel free to e mail me if you’re interested.

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