Deepa Balagopal has kindly let me know that one of the “Hmong” embroideries I posted earlier was miscategorized – the elephant design is actually an Indian design, although the cross-stitch is Hmong style. It’s long enough ago that my parents don’t recall anything more about these pieces other than they were purchased in Thailand. I don’t know if they were actually from Indian artists, or if some Hmong refugees found that Indian designs sell well. Who knows! Anyway, I have a few more Indian designs to show y’all.
Deepa tells me the design below is definitely Indian, because the dancers depicted are clearly traditional dancers from the state of Gujarat in western India. Also, peacocks and elephants are traditional Indian symbols.
Like the elephant design, these are entirely composed of chain stitching (see the closeup!). I’ve noticed (as I’ve been working on this blog) that a lot of regional traditional embroideries seem to focus around one particular stitch and explore its possibilities. Sometimes adhering to a rule that seems like a restriction can inspire additional creativity in how the stitch is used, and it gives the embroidery a very distinct character.
Finally, here is a closeup of one of the dancers. I love it! I want y’all to notice that you don’t really need to be able to draw realistically to design your own patterns! We all recognize this as a dancer, and we all recognize the birds and elephants in the earlier pictures. If you deliberately incorporate your style of drawing into your design decisions, it is an artistic choice and not a mistake. It gives the work a unique style.