In a pioneering approach to textile study, this text presents an in-depth look at the embroideries and dress of the Rabaris of western India. It synthesizes folk art and culture, history and anthropology as a range of striking, elaborately embroidered textiles and exquisite jewellery worn by 12 Rabari subgroups are thoroughly documented. Looking deeper than documentation, "Threads of Identity" is equally about people. It portrays the Rabaris, proud, independent, deeply wedded to tradition, and explains the roles of embroidery and dress in their lives. In this vividly recreated context, the author defines embroidery styles, and interprets elements of embroidery and dress. Patterns in variations express how, over more than 10 centuries, Rabaris migrated across the subcontinent and spread into different regions. Adapting to new environments, subgroups of Rabaris simultaneously preserved their identity. The balance maintained between tradition and change is tangibly expressed in Rabari adornment. In the second half of the book, the author recounts her personal experiences with Rabaris and brings to life these nomads and their own sense of their arts.
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