Weaving the Kusti

Parzor Foundation

The warping sequence and the weaving process of the Kusti - the sacred cord worn round the waist by Zoroastrians. 

The warp threads being stretched on the Tan Khuta .

(Left) - Navaz Bamji of Navsari working on her Jantar.

The Warping Sequence

The Chaaterdo is used to stretch the warp.

A detail of the 12 threads on each fork of the tan-khuta.

The first unit of 12 threads is inserted in the veesoon .

All three units are sealed with a sali.

A lace is placed to separate the first set of 36 threads.

The second unit of 36 threads are divided on the three khutas.

The ends of the warp are tied with a knot after which the fourth set of 12 threads is placed in the veesoon.

All six units are locked in the veesoon.

Four sets of 12 threads are tied for the heald shafts.

The Khangu is placed between the warp threads.

The khangu-veesoon are tied with a string.

The warp is pulled off the tan-khuta.

After adjusting the threads to give a uniform warp, the gargari is used to give tension to the stretched warp. The weaver then adjusts the final warp on the jantar .

Now, the weaver selects 12 threads with the beater to form the heald shafts. A loop is made on the sali for lifting the shaft.

Here, we can see for heald shafts on the warp.

This is a detail of the naru with the warp.

The whole warp is wrapped on a newspaper after which the woven kusti is taken off the loom.

The needle is then inserted in the hollow kusti and carefully pulled through the entire length of the cord. This delicate task of inverting - Kusti Otlavanu is crucial to the completion of the weaving process.

The ends curl on washing and are then plaited to form the lars and laris.

Kor Bhog means making parts or divisions of eight each. Each part is twisted so that it does not get mixed up with one another. These threads are placed on the palm and heavily twisted so that they form small twisted bundles. Weavers then keep the kusti for a whole day. Now the lar or the loose ends have to be washed with soap and water.

Sulphur sprinkled on heated coal bleaches the new kusti. An earthen vessel is used as the cover in this bleaching process.

This process called Dhupvanu is completed using a small vessel made of pital or tamba (brass or copper) filled with ash or burning coal. This vessel is placed on the centre of the kusti. The vessel wrapped in white muslin cloth is placed in a part of the house where it is not touched. After about 10-15 minutes the vessel is opened and the bleached kusti is allowed to dry in the sun.

In Patti Parvani the kusti is flattened on the sambhelu or sariya- a wooden cylinder, for at least half a day.

It is then carefully rolled by the weaver.

Finally, it is placed between two wooden blocks to make it even.

Neatly flattened and rolled kustis are now ready for the 'hamkar' - Ahura Mazda's agent on the path of truth and righteousness.

Credits: Story

The craftswomen and weavers 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

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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