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.
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"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