1972 - 2016

Hansiba Museum: Crafting Communities and Rural Ownership

SEWA Hansiba Museum

SEWA Hansiba Museum is a host to heirlooms from the local community. The museum is managed by women, and contains the fine examples of traditional clothing which are heirlooms. This exhibit showcases the traditions and techniques of the five such communities working closely with SEWA Hansiba Museum: the Chaudhury Patels, Kanbi Patels, Harijans, Darbar and Mochis. 

Traditions, Heirlooms and Keepsakes
The purpose behind setting up a community based Museum by SEWA was to ensure proper preservation of the visual repertoire and techniques of the traditional embroidery arts. The museum hopes both to inspire the new generation of artisans and inculcate community values in them as well as to serve as a resource center for researchers and designers alike. The museum has collected more than 1700 articles from across the region. Of this, 241 artifacts are on display at present, which have been contributed by the women artisans as part of their heirloom.
Chaudhary Patel Community
.The Chaudhary Patel community migrated from neighboring state of Gujarat approximately 200 years ago. Their ancestors belonged to the Anjane and before that the Aarbuda tribe. Hence they worship the Aabuda mata (mother goddess), their guardian deity, who resides near Mt. Abu in Rajasthan. The women of this community use combination of applique, patchwork and hand embroidery to create exquisite textiles.
Chaudhary Patel Motif
Baar Jari - The design is inspired from a Bajari Charvani Jari/strainer used to sieve the millet. This motif is a combination of a peacock and boar jari design.

The motifs on the dowry bag are called basakadi, popular to Chaudhury Patels.

Blue, red and black are the major colors that is prevalent in garments of Chaudhary Patel women. Here Vejl-ben demonstrates the cotton spinning.

Blue, red and black are the major colors that is prevalent in garments of Chaudhary Patel females.

The women of this communty use combination of applique, patchwork and hand embroidery to create exquisite textiles.

Kanabi Patel Community
Kanabi women sitting together. The large embroidered sack is the kind of bag used to fill with a daughter’s dowry. The dowry includes several embroidered garments and articles for the bride for daily use in her new home. A mother begins to embroider as soon as a girl is born, and pours her love and good wishes for her daughter’s happiness.

Kanbi motif similar to the chaupat (traditional chess brand) design.

Some of Kanbi Patels who are part of the SEWA community live in houses composed of stone walls.

Harijan Community
Harijan women making patch work and applique quilts. Most women work in their homes; their patios and front yards are their workplace. These are members of SEWA. 
Darbar Community and Saadu Bharat Footwear
The traditional weave of the Darbar community is called the Saadu Bharat. The embroidered dresses were given as a part of the huge dowry, with the daughters. Jewelry, utensils and other clothes were also a part of the dowry. In the olden days, the women were not allowed to step out of their houses. Whatever was needed was bought in by the men in the family. The women were allowed to move freely inside the house premises, however there were a lot of restrictions if they had to step out of the house.
Chamkaar or Mochi Community
The Mochi community were traditionally cobblers and leatherworkers by trade. They migrated from Rajasthan and settled in Radhanpur region in the last 50-60 years. There are approximately 600 Mochi embroidery artisans associated with SEWA. The Mochi community, practice the Ari embroidery, also known as Mochi Bharat or the Cobbler's stitch. This type of embroidery is worked with a cobbler needle, which is a kind of hook needle, locally called 'aar'. It requires considerable skill and extensive practice since the thread is introduced from below the fabric.

Chaklo is a small square wall decoration for the home. This simple repetition of the elephant motif is delightful.

A square wall decoration for the home, this piece is embroidered in chain stich using the ari, a hooked needle, almost entirely covering the ground. It has popular animal and bird motifs such as elephants, horse, peacock etc.

Self Employed Women's Association (SEWA) and SEWA Hansiba Museum
Credits: Story

Hansibaben, for being an inspiration.

Text: Reema Nanavaty
Online exhibit setup: Parul Sagarwala, Tejas Raval, Neeta Trivedi

Hansiba Museum

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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