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The Sari Hardcover – April 17, 2004

ISBN-13: 978-1859737323 ISBN-10: 1859737323

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Berg Publishers (April 17, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1859737323
  • ISBN-13: 978-1859737323
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 8.6 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,472,107 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Banerjee and Miller, a lecturer and a professor, respectively, in the anthropology department at University College London, examine five meters of fabric in their intricate study. Their academic background is only bothersome in the unnecessary and distracting footnotes, whose information could have easily been incorporated into the text. Otherwise, it's an enthralling celebration, exploration and analysis-through women's voices-of India's most symbolic garment. The authors quickly explain that their book isn't a primer on colors, types, draping and tying; rather, it uses interviews and research to explore the relationship between women and their saris. It covers the traditions and politics of acquisition, whether by a girl, a bride-to-be or a maid receiving a hand-me-down from her mistress; of learning to wear it; of storage and cleaning; and of sexuality. These implications combine with ever-present practical considerations: "She must try to avoid the frequent injuries that arise from getting the sari caught in doors, machines, or worst of all, the stove. But to achieve social respectability, she must learn to move, drape, sit, fold, pleat and swirl the sari in an appropriate way." One chapter takes readers through an executive woman's morning sari decision making and how she creatively makes her selection with specific visual (and political) goals in mind. The women's stories enrich throughout, successfully and unforgettably bringing the sari alive. Banerjee and Miller have provided an intimate peek into the culture of Indian women, and their research shows that although the subject is specific to a particular culture, its concerns are universal to all women. Photos.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Review

"A fascinating look at this great Indian traditional wear told through the voices of women who love and live with it on a daily basis."--G. Chadha, director of Bend It Like Beckham

"Intellectually compelling and theoretically sophisticated, The Sari will be of great interest to scholars in many disciplines - from anthropology to women's studies. It is also an absolutely fascinating read, which will appeal to anyone with an interest in India." --Valerie Steele, author of The Corset: A Cultural History

"With this book Mukulika Banerjee and Daniel Miller offer rare and intimate insights into the social life of the sari which becomes a metaphor and tool for understanding the biographies of Indian women. Engaging photography and first person narratives invite us to look at the garment afresh and consider the web of material and symbolic complexities concealed in its simple form." --Emma Tarlo, author of Clothing Matters: Dress and Identity in India

"Provides a visual feast and an easy introduction to the subject."--Fashion Theory

"An enthralling celebration, exploration and analysis - through women's voices - of India's most symbolic garment ... The women's stories enrich throughout, successfully and unforgettably bringing the sari alive. Banerjee and Miller have provided an intimate peek into the culture of Indian women, and their research shows that although the subject is specific to a particular culture, its concerns are universal to all women."--Publishers Weekly

Customer Reviews

I because very aware of the social implications of wearing a sari.
Pamela Day
This volume uses poor black and white renditions of the color images used in the original.
Gwaitur
Banerjee's "The Sari" is an extraordinarily beautiful coffee table book.
Kim Burdick

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

23 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Carol Mathis on February 8, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I own about 450 books on India and Indian culture, so when I say this is one of my 2-3 favorite books on India (the other probably being Meeting God by Stephen Huyler), it truly says something about this book.

The Sari is beautiful to look at, and fascinating to read. It draws us into women's lives in a way that is enlightening, personal, and does not play to Western preconceptions.

A cross between social antropology and coffee-table book, this book appeals on many levels. It has a ring of truth, drawn from hundreds of interviews with Indian women about their lives and their attitude towards the clothes they wear. It sets these individual attitudes squarely in the cultural milieu in which they belong.

I hope that it gets the wide readership it deserves.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Angela D. Kinzel on July 7, 2005
Format: Hardcover
I have had a deep interest in Indian and Pakistani dress for four or five years. I own and wear several saris and shalwar kamiz, but didn't know much about their history or the nuances of dress; this book changed that for me. I was looking for a well illustrated coffee table book, but got that and much more! I could barely put it down from the moment it was delivered. Although there is a lot of detail, it is written in a way that is interesting and easy to read. I highly reccomend it!
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Chris Waterous on September 15, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Mukulika Bannerjee's book, while easily accessible to Westerners with little to no knowledge of Indian clothing customs, also goes in-depth about the many levels of nuance attached to a deceptively simple 6-yard piece of unsewn cloth. She delineates cultural sentiments about what colors and styles are appropriate for unmarried girls, the new bride, middle-aged mothers, and widows. Sections include explanations of the many fabric styles, from ethnic handloom cottons and silks to garish polyester synthetics, along with discussions on what sort of woman is likely to wear each, and for what occasion. Fascinating real-life vignettes feature all sorts of sari wearers, from Hindu to Muslim and from the poorest villager to Bollywood stars and political leaders like Indira Gandhi. The many stunning color photographs make this book a real delight to the eyes as well as a great source of information on a topic rarely covered in the West.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Gwaitur on December 26, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Don't buy this book if you are expecting it to have the full-color photos that are in the original hard bound edition!! This volume uses poor black and white renditions of the color images used in the original.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By L. Berry on February 19, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I really enjoyed Mukulika Banerjee's look into the beautiful but often complicated world of the sari. It provides a great deal of information on regional customs. I was disappointed that the book did not contian more photos.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Kirsten M. Houseknecht on December 29, 2012
Format: Paperback
as i said in my title this book is more about cultural history, society and the impact of the sari in that context, than a guide to the regional variety of Sari. Beautiful pictures, and you do indeed learn a bit about the Sari itself, but this is about the impact of clothing on culture, and culture on clothing.

does this sari (and how you wear it) say you are western? filmy? cultured? poor? Does the Sari wear the woman or does she wear the sari? and what impact does CHOOSING to wear it have in a environment where western wear is more of an option?

and yes the pictures are stunning. it would be well worth it as either a picture book OR a social histroy and cultural book, as it is you get both.

if you want a directory on wrapping the sari, you may have to hunt for the out of print book:Saris: An Illustrated Guide to the Indian Art of Draping. Luckily there are many good webpages with directions on how to wrap a sari, i suggest looking up "sari Safari" as an example.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Carla Greenberg on February 26, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Photos are in black and white. I assumed from the cover the pictures would be in color. the beauty of saris are in the design and often vibrant colors
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