February, 2010


Maker unknown

Circa 1985-2005
Banni, Kutch, Gujarat, India

This boldly colored ralli quilt is attributed to the Muslim Mutwa group from the Kutch District of Gujarat, India. The Mutwa women are famous for highly detailed embroidery that uses a range of stitches, including the chain, square chain, reverse chain, knot, satin, double running, lazy daisy, herringbone, and hemming stitches. This style of embroidery also makes ample use of mirror work or shisha. This ralli has dozens of tiny glass mirrors scattered around the central portion of the brightly colored cotton fabric.

Historically, young Mutwa women begin learning embroidery by the age of 7 or 8 and use their skills to embroider clothing and household items for their wedding dowries. At the turn of the 21st Century, many of these domestic goods are no longer made, but quilts like this still remain important. Mutwa women are expected to have collected or made at least 21 quilts by the time they marry.