Parsis: The Zoroastrians of India Pakistan and The World

The secret of embroidering a Parsi ‘gara’

The secret of embroidering a Parsi ‘gara’ is now being taught to those willing to learn, as a part of a five-day workshop at Khareghat Colony

Parsi gara embroidery, which is a specialty of the Parsi community has long been appreciated by the fashion industry all over the country. History suggests that this beautiful silk embroidery was conceived, designed and executed by skilled Chinese craftsmen for embellishing garment ordered by their prosperous Parsi clients.

The rich gara embroidery, originally considered a Parsi family’s heirloom, has become rare, collector’s items because of the intricate work and beauty. These intricate garas, kors (sari border) and jhablas (kid’s wear), influenced by Persian styled motifs of peacocks, fruits, flowers and birds have made quite a few appearances on Indian ramps as well.

And now, it is the UNESCO Parzor Project that has been documenting this embroidery tradition through various field trips and exhibitions across the nation. Explaining the intricacies of this art is the Foundation held a symposium yesterday at the NCPA. “At present, there are very few people practicing this craft, although it has so much demand in the market. Parsi crafts and their designs are a special contribution of this community, which have so far not received the acknowledgement deserved. So we want to give back the craft to the people,” said the project head, Mr. Ashdeen Lilaowala.

The researchers with their audio-visual presentations explained the intra-cultural links of Parsi Textiles and highlighted the designs and techniques, which make them unique. Interactive sessions were also held to demonstrate the training for this craft.

After the symposium, at 4 pm, an exhibition of a few exquisite and rare pieces of Parsi Textile and Embroidery had been put up yesterday. This workshop begins today, at Khareghat Colony Hall,” said Lilaowala, who has taken the symposium and the workshop to cities like Ahemdabad and Navsari in the last six months. The five-day workshop will include kasti weaving along with gara embroidery. “In Navsari, we had a lot of participants eager to gain the knowledge of making a Kasti, while in Ahemdabad, there were more people interested in the art of embroidering a gara,” said Lilaowala.

The participants in the workshop have been divided into groups, depending on their qualifications and training. “We have 50 to 60 participants registered with us. Those who have little experience in this kind of embroidery will be taught right from the basics,” said Lilaowala.

Original article here