A Parsi-Indian Legacy 

Saving the world from an apocalypse in the form of winter destined to kill everyone, Jamshed, creator of the shahenshahi calendar became a legend on whose name the festival of Navroz or Jamshed-i-Navroz/Jamshed-i-Nowruz is celebrated. Not just their Bronze Age religion – Zoroastrianism, there are many artefacts associated with Persians. They are unique and special. One of them is Parsi Embroidery. 

Parsi Embroidery

Parsi Embroidery
Image credits: Google

The textiles of India are famous for their quality and artwork that represents stories of every culture and tradition. Parsi embroidery has its roots in Iran and it is a unique art form of Indian textile heritage. It has existed since the Bronze Age. Gara embroidery is in beautiful shades of pastels, pale white, and many other colours. Beautifully adorned with delicate embroidery and craftsmanship. 

Parsi embroidery is an artistic and cultural amalgamation of four unique design traditions- Iranian, Indian, Chinese and European. This has resulted in a distinctive style which blends nature’s creations, birds- real and exotic, flowers, plant life and animals with elements of mythology. These motifs are skillfully embroidered on the kors, garas, jhablas and ijars. Parsi embroidery is truly an intercultural art form, which has descended from Achaemenian times in an unbroken continuum.

Significance of Parsi Embroidery

Parsi embroidery is famous for its pictorial, smooth-flowing texture and the delicate composition that it represents. It portrays the style and elegance of the Parsi culture. It takes months to complete due to their tedious stitching. 

Also known as forbidden stictch. The embroidery is on all four sides of the saree. Many colourful threads make these clothes and they are quite expensive due to the artwork of this embroidery.

Parsi Emboidery
Image credits: Direct Create

The creations by Parsi women exhibited their preference for certain motifs such as the rooster and fish, which have significance in Zoroastrian tradition as against dragons and snakes popular in Chinese tradition.

Hubs Of Parsi Embroidery

Parsi weavers pioneered in centred at Surat, three of India’s traditional crafts, the Surti Ghat, the Tanchoi and the Garo. The Ghat was handwoven silk extremely strong compared to the strength of the Surat Ghat or Mountains. This is how this silk was named. The Sali Garo and Tanchoi were originally Chinese crafts, the tanchoi were named after the three (Tan) Parsi Joshi brothers from China (Choi). The famous Tanchois of Surat (and later of Benares) originated with three Parsi Jokhi brothers (tan -Choi). They learnt the technique in China and brought it to India. Gandhiji himself visited the Joshi family and invited him after Independence to organise the Tanchoi Centres. They today exist across India. 

There are a lot of attempts at giving a modern twist to Parsi embroidery by making the style more contemporary. adding new products like bags, scarves, cushion covers, dupattas and dress materials. A lot of young fashion designers are coming up with stylish alternatives. As to give a new look to the traditional gara.

Fun fact

Parsi embroidery is traditional and cultural artwork of the Parsis. Hence they have still preserved their rich heritage textile culture.

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