These two cloths are Indian textiles, both heavily embroidered including mirrored details. Shisha or sheesha is the name given to the type of embroidery that uses a special stitch to attach the mirrors to fabric. The word, meaning glass, is Persian in origin. This type of embroidery was, in fact, brought to India by the Persian Moghul Dynasty in the 13 Century, according to an article in Selvedge magazine. It also noted that mica was used originally but today silvered glass is used to create the mirrored effect.
The first textile is a mid-twentieth century piece from Rajasthan that I found on sri threads, a wonderful site for Japanese and Indian textiles. Today Shisha embroidery is most often found in Gujerat, Rajasthan, Haryana, and Delhi. The raku bowl is by Karl Borgeson from the 1970s.
This is a long runner made up pieces embroidered with Shisha and mettalic threads. It was purchased at the late great Thistle Hill in Dodgeville where I found many wonderful textiles over the years.
If you are interested in Indian textiles you might enjoy these books, which are among my favorites:
- Traditional Indian Textiles by John Gillow and Nicholas Barnard (Thames and Hudson, 1991)
- Uncut Cloth: Saris, Shawls and Sashes by Nasreen Askari and Liz Arthur (Merrell Holberton, 1999)
Locally both books are available through the South Central Library System.