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Uncut Cloth: Saris, Shawls, and Sashes Paperback – September, 1999
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From Library Journal
For centuries, people in the West have been fascinated by the beautiful textiles imported from India and Pakistan. Here, the colorful hues, patterns, and embroideries of flat textiles are explored. Ordinary people traditionally wrap these materials around their bodies as turbans, shawls, women's dresses (saris), and waist sashes or hang them as canopies and spreads, uses that are all illustrated here. Askari and Arthur co-curated the exhibit on which this book is based, and Arthur gives a fascinating account of how the mills in Europe actually copied South Asian cloth and exported it back (e.g., "Paisley shawls" were made in Paisley, Scotland). A map of the Indian subcontinent is included but not the iconography or the details of weaving techniques as shown in Linda Lynton's splendid but hard-to-find The Sari: Styles Patterns, History, Techniques (o.p.). Still, this is a well-priced introduction to appreciation of the rich cultures of the regions as evidenced in their textiles. Recommended for both academic and public libraries.ATherese Duzinkiewicz Baker, Western Kentucky Univ. Libs., Bowling Green
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Top customer reviews
Ms. Nasreen penned the bulk of the book and explains the sari, shawls, headgear, waistcloths, skirts, turbans, spreads, coverlets and canopies. She targets each area of India and southeast Asia with the cloth, styles, designs and colors used. Then Ms. Arthur discusses the fabrics, dyes, exporting, migration and transport of the items.
Almost every page has gigantic color close-ups accompanied by intelligent text that gives a full explanation of the textiles shown including origin, date, purpose, current location, motifs, and materials used. For example, the book fell open to page 42 with a large maroon squarish object with intricate banding and curly-cue patterns. The caption reads thus:
"Woman's shawl (bandhani) Amatli, Badin. Indus delta 20th century. Tie-dyed cotton. Length 274 cm. Width 202 cm. Also referred to as a 'chunri' or 'pomco,' this colourful [British spelling] shawl has been tie-dyed in the popular pattern of the area, based on a central medallion in a square with multiple narrow borders containing vines or tendrils."
For many of the items, there are accompanying pictures of people wearing them. And I see a lay-out array of photos covering both pages: one is 18 close-ups of females from a little girl to very elderly women wearing the shawls or headgear of their home area; the other is 18 close-ups of men wearing turbans...I never realized how many different ways there must be to wrap them!
The final chapter of the book is on the paisley shawl written by Valerie Reilly. We all know what a paisley design looks like but I had no clue what a rich history it has! This chapter carries us back to ancient Babylon and wrenches us through the centuries in the history and development of weaving in general and the weavers in particular. I had heard before of the Indian word "boteh" meaning flower and did not realize that the word we use is actually the town of Paisley in Scotland. This chapter is extensive and intensive...very enlightening.
This book really is a delight and I highly recommend it.
I have a library copy in front of me, but intend to buy a copy -- particularly since (right now) used copies are available for the price of shipping. Judging from this copy's good appearance after 14 years of library service, it's a well-mde book. Highly recommended for Indian textile fans.
Happy reading, viewing, and collecting --
Peter D. Tillman