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Cloth and Community: The Local Trade in Resist-Dyed and Block-Printed Textiles in the Kachchh District, Gujarat.

Edwards, Eiluned (2007) Cloth and Community: The Local Trade in Resist-Dyed and Block-Printed Textiles in the Kachchh District, Gujarat. Textile History, 38 (2). pp. 179-197. ISSN 00404969

Type of Research: Article
Creators: Edwards, Eiluned

This article draws on fieldwork over several years with dyers and printers in Gujarat. It identifies products for local clients, and analyses the development of trade in the district, addressing royal patronage, caste identity and religious affiliation. It then focuses on a particular family to reveal the specificities of local trade going back to the sixteenth century, combining their commentary with that of their clients.

This material and information drawn from caste genealogists, is cross-referred to the historical records of the district, combining to offer insight into a regional trade that archaeologists suggest goes back about four thousand years.

Cloth and Community offers a micro-history of local trade in a primary textile-producing area. Uniquely, the voices of contemporary makers and their clients are set in historical perspective through the use of oral history and archival records. This contrasts with the existing literature which preferences the export trade (Irwin and Hall 1971; Gittinger 1982).

“Cloth and community” draws on interviews over sixteen years with dyers and printers, and with their customers in Kachchh district. Analysis of field notes and interviews has been combined with archival research in India and the UK.


The Khatris are an hereditary caste of dyers and block-printers in Kachchh district, Gujarat. This article reviews the traditional market for the Khatris' textiles, discussing in detail items made for specific client castes, chiefly the farmers and herders of Kachchh. It analyzes factors that have affected this traditional market in the post-colonial period, such as the wholesale industrialization of manufacture and changing patterns of agriculture. It goes on to identify the emergence of new, globalized markets and how the Khatris are developing new products in response to those markets.

Official Website: http://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/maney/tex/2007/00000038/00000002/art00004
Publisher/Broadcaster/Company: Maney Publishing.
Your affiliations with UAL: Colleges > London College of Fashion
Date: 1 November 2007
Funders: Leverhulme Trust, Society for South Asian Studies, The British Academy
Digital Object Identifier: 10.1179/004049607x229151
Related Websites: http://www.fashion.arts.ac.uk/31499.htm
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Date Deposited: 04 Dec 2009 13:57
Last Modified: 31 Oct 2013 13:11
Item ID: 1256
URI: https://ualresearchonline.arts.ac.uk/id/eprint/1256

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