Parsi merchants started trading with China in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and during their trips, they discovered a beautiful silk cloth known as Gaaj or Paak. They ended up buying yards of it to delight their spouses because it was so stunning.
For their elegant appearance and upper-class routines, wealthy Parsi ladies desired to draw parallels with British women who preferred Chinese embroidered textile. As a result, Parsi women began to embroider exquisite nature-based items such as flowers, birds, roosters, and other animals, merging them in designs with images of men, women, dragons (a Parsi culture influence), and pagodas (a Chinese influence). While the amount of the embroidery varied, it was required to have at least 3.5 inches long along the sari’s border.
The Embroidered Parsi saris patterns and patterns showed a mix of Iranian and Hindu civilizations. Then came “GARA,” a traditional sari border that reflected the richness of Gujarati and Parsi dress with regal colors and silken threads, perfectly forming stunning borders around the sari.
Embroidered Parsi saris in 20 the Century.
The Sino-India trade reduced by the middle of the twentieth century, but the popularity of these borders and their numerous types remained constant. To meet the demand, Indian craftsmen began making gold and silver zardozi borders.
These were added to Parsi-style embroidered borders and then applied to the “or” Embroidered Parsi saris. English designs and patterns were also provided by European and British mills, increasing their social acceptance in the anglophile Parsi community.
As a symbol of distinction, they favored wealthy Bombay Parsi women over socially lower-ranking Parsis from other regions of Gujarat, mostly outside the Bombay Presidency. The women of wealthy merchants wore these high-end embroidered borders, which were well-known in exclusive and clearly defined categories of varied designs such as Chinese patterns of peonies, cherry blossom trees, Chinese ladies in leisure, acanthus leaves, pebbled paths, and lovely clouds.
The Parsi merchants were attracted to the Chinese silks because of their prominent designs, which were often inspired by nature. They brought back massive volumes of the silks. The Parsi women, who had already taken the Indian sari as their dress and dressed it in their own unique style, used the lavishly embroidered swatches to make them into saris, just like the men. The Parsi women’s sophisticated sartorial challenge to the European or British women’s clothing at parties was known as Gara or garo.
According to fashion experts, the golden age of the Embroidered Parsi saris Gara was between 1910 and 1930. The Chinese phoenix and cranes were two of the most popular embroidery. Another frequent motif was fish. Designs on the fabrics included beautiful flowers and even Chinese themes.
Swans or ducks, lily pads, reeds on ponds, running water, pineapple patterns, baskets, and other European motifs were also featured. Silver beads, threads, and sequins in the form of superimposed flowers were also utilized as fillers in lace borders, whether machine-made or handmade.
Its aesthetic and practical elements in Embroidered Parsi saris
In Embroidered Parsi saris Borders were worn in two ways: as an overlay to a plain or jacquard sari, and as an extension of the Gara sari’s embroidery. Borders on saris served two purposes: they undoubtedly increased the decorative element of the saris and made it more beautiful by splitting the line of borders on the top, and they also held the light fabric down from running up the wearer’s leg.
The latter was previously called primary concern, especially because Chinese silk and French chiffons are both extremely light fabrics. Saris made entirely of those fabrics may disgrace the wearer if they weren’t weighed down by something – this was made possible by the borders.
Despite the fact that the sari was adopted by Parsis from India, their ladies did not prefer to display their midriffs as their Indian counterparts did. Saris with rich borders and long blouses with ruffled sleeves were their favorites. Borders with lead bits were sewn into the hems of their blouses so that they wouldn’t ride up above the sari’s waistband.
Borders held saris and blouses in place in a number of ways, assuring that they conformed to the standards of modesty at the period.
Unexpectedly, the Embroidered Parsi saris borders had a useful purpose in the development of saris by the cultured, refined, and polished Parsi people, far from the superficial ornamental elements of any clothing.
Embroidered Parsi saris stayed popular until 1980
Although it’s growing in popularity in everyday life, the Parsi Gara has become an heirloom. While wearing a Gara to a wedding stayed popular until the 1980s, it began to fall out of favor as young people gravitated toward western clothing. The Gara Embroidered Parsi saris, on the other hand, are undergoing a makeover to make them more suitable for today’s sartorial taste, as well as being used to fashion dupattas, lehengas, jackets, shawls, and even accessories.
For centuries, these elaborate borders have served as a symbol for this community, reflecting ancient Persian hand-embroidery techniques, craftsmanship, and the complexities of traditional heirlooms.