Aba (Lady’s Kurta)

Early 20th century CE

Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya (CSMVS)

Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya (CSMVS)

The dull orange kurta in gaji silk (satin silk) is embroidered with silk threads and abhala (tiny pieces of mirrors). There is a distinctive neck border and the main decoration is the shield-like front yoke that extends over the shoulders to the ends of the sleeves. A floral border similar to the one at the neck frames the sleeves and the yoke. The yoke ends in a gentle point below which is a medallion in the shape of an inverted flower. At the lower hem is another embroidered border. The embroidery is intricately executed in a dense chain stitch with running stitch, straight stitch, interlacing stitch, and buttonhole stitch for the mirrors.

Worked with an intricacy rivalling that of the mochi embroiderers of Bhuj, the embroidery of the Banni tract is dissimilar in that it was a homecraft. The Jats of the Banni tract had migrated to Kutch from Baluchistan years ago and in their embroidery they retained their original technical finesse, intricacy of patterns, and affinity to geometric composition. Kutchi influences appeared in the form of floral and foliage motifs.

Similar kurtas are in the collection of the Calico Museum, Ahmedabad and the Indian Museum, Kolkata.

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  • Title: Aba (Lady’s Kurta)
  • Date Created: Early 20th century CE
  • Location: India
  • Provenance: Sir Ratan Tata Art Collection
  • Type: Long Blouse
  • Medium: Satin silk embroidered with silk thread and abhala (mirrors)
  • Remarks: From Tata catalogue
  • Region: Kutch
  • Dimensions: (Length) 118 cms
  • Accession Number: 22.3178


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