The tools and the spinning process of the Kusti - the sacred cord worn round the waist by Zoroastrians.
Zoroastrian women start by covering their head with a mathabanu, a white muslin scarf in respect for their sacred craft. Some do their kusti prayers while others start by reciting Yatha Ahu Vairyo or the Ahuna Vairya - a Gathic Avestan prayer.
(Left) - Late Katy Sorabji of Navsari on the Junu Jantar.
Oon Kantwanu or Spinning the Wool :
For preparing the yarn for weaving, the fibers are separated and arranged by the women who tease the wool by pulling apart the locks with their fingers. They divide the wool into small pieces of about eight to ten inches. The wool piece is either tied in the centre with a strand of wool or is left loose.
The spinner prepares durry from two spindles. The yarn from the durry is given a double twist in a process known as val dewanu . The spinner has to spin enough yarn to make the kusti. Normally for a medium size mapni kusti the weaver requires a maximum of three chaaterdos and approximately 40 grams of wool.
Earlier the junu jantar or the older loom was used for weaving. Made up of three pieces, the jantar has been modified over the years. When an additional stool is added on the base, the type of jantar is known as goriwala jantar or a jantar with a stool. This is done so that a weaver can weave sitting on a chair or a stool.
The craftswomen of Navsari who have shared their homes and skill with us, especially the cooperative spirit of Navaz and Erna Bamji over the years and the Late Katy Sorabji.
Parzor's first researcher, Ashdeen Lilaowala, then a student of National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad did the first ever textile study of this Bronze Age Craft of Kusti Weaving in Navsari.
This research culminated into Threads of Continuity , co-authored by Ashdeen Lilaowala and Dr. Shernaz Cama available at http://unescoparzor.com/publication/.
The Late Vada Dastur Meherjirana of Navsari for explaining details of the symbolism and Late General Adi Sethna, Founder President, Parzor
Jonas Spinoy, Dushyant Mehta and Hemant Mehta, Rustom Havewala - Photography
Dr. Shernaz Cama, Director UNESCO Parzor
Vanshika Singh, Researcher, Parzor Foundation