Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Shadow work and the town of Mhow

The town of Mhow is famous for its shadow work. What shadow-work actually means it that the actual embroidary is never seen, but only the shadow or the faint color and outline of it is seen from the other side.

This work has caused much sorrow and confusion since the time it was created. My own mother once gave a suit to be stiched and the tailor like any sane person thought that the beautiful embroidery work should be presented outside and stiched the whole suit inside-out. I personally think that the whole story of the Shadow work might very well resemble that story of The Emperors New Clothes.

But one thing that is undeniable is that this is a work of art. The first thing that I thought on seeing the work was that it was a pity that they had made the shadowwork on such poor cloth. But then I realised that the cloth had to be thin and of that texture if the color of the threads had to be seen on the other side.

To make the shadow-work, a tracing is first printed on the cloth. You can still this dark colored stain in some of the pictures. In the confines of the tracing are then the painstaking work of the embroidery done. The trick in the whole thing is that the embroidery should not be visible on the other side. So if you look at the pictures, you shall see that on the actual visible side you hardle see any threads poking out their (in my opinion) beautiful head.

We bought two of these that you see here. The first one is for the top in white that I honestly can not figure out how it will turn out. My doubts about the feasibility of this peice turing out into a wearable peice of apparel are "Pssh'ed" and "Phoosh'ed" out of the window.

But the other one, the yellow thing promises to be awesome when it comes out. It is a cloth for a salwar Kurta and you can see where the neck goes. I guess once the neck goes correctly, the rest of the anatomical parts fall in place on their own. Salwar suits do look great, as you can see on the model in red on the link provided.

Of course my wife will look better.


Carrie said...

Velu - beautiful!

plain jane said...

i'm on bills of lading! all right!! :) really excited. and honoured. oh n nice post.

Velu said...

Thanks people!

PlainJane: Ofcourse you are on the bills of lading. Only space for the best you see! :)