The history of the sari links an ancient north Indian terra-cotta of a woman wearing this simple garment to the saris created by twentieth-century Paris designers. The essential simplicity of the sari -- an untailored length of cloth measuring between four and nine meters long by approximately one meter wide -- is set against a wonderful variety of fabrics, colors, patterns, and draping styles. There are richly diverse regional traditions of color, pattern, and weave, analyzed comprehensively here through a six-fold division of the Indian subcontinent: the West; the East; the North-East and the Himalayas; the Eastern Deccan; the South; and the Western Deccan. Each section is accompanied by a dazzling display of sari types in color, all specially photographed.
The result of many years' research, the book contains the most detailed analysis of sari design ever undertaken, with a comprehensive guide to the symbols, patterns, and motifs used, together with their origins and information about how they have evolved. Many rare and unusual saris are featured, along with photographs of the designs and diagrams of over forty sari types. A substantial reference section includes translations of more than four hundred Indian words and concepts, a glossary of textile terms, information on museum collections, a full bibliography, a detailed chronology, and a table of sari measurements.
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