EMBROIDERIES OF INDIA / PARSI WORK / HISTORY
History of Gara embroidery
- Parsi embroidery can be traced to Bronze Age Persia, but the gara or current version of the embroidery is not more than 150 years old.
- In 633 AD when the Arabs invaded Iran, Parsis were driven out of Persia and they used the sea route to reach the western coast of India, with the largest group reaching Sanjan in Gujarat. The Hindu king there, Jadi Rana, was willing to give them refuge in his kingdom, on the condition that the newcomers adopted the dress and language of the land. That is how, initially, the Parsis came to wear the saree and speak Gujarati.
- The exquisite embroidery soon found itself on the beautiful canvas , the saree, and similar wide spreading canvas by Chinese master embroiderers.
- In the 19th and early 20th centuries there was brisk trade between Parsis of Western India and China. Back then, Chinese craftsmen, travelled with big chests of embroidery across the seas to Persian lands and sold them to Parsi women.
- Some of the Parsi women were also taught the craft by these travelling artisans, and the women learnt it sufficiently to evolve new techniques from there on.