I consider this the prize of my sari collection. It’s an antique silk Parsi Gara sari made in China, probably around the end of the 19th or early 20th century. On their travels to China, Parsi tradesmen from Gujarat fell in love with traditional Chinese embroidery and began to have saris embroidered there. They brought them back and sold them to wealthy Parsi women. This trade stopped after the Chinese revolution, and there have been no true Parsi Gara saris made since about 1950. There are very few whole saris left, and most of those are family heirlooms. The majority have been cut up and the borders preserved, while the silk body of the sari disintegrated.
My sariwalli Melinda is here visiting. I spent some satisfying time last evening pawing through her stash of saris. She specializes in regional handlooms, particularly cotton, and has wonderful taste (you can see her wares at http://sarishop.com). Since she’s captive in my house I also got her to identify some of the older saris I’ve gotten on eBay and elsewhere.
Turns out I have two lovely gold Chanderi saris from the 1950’s (this one is my favorite):
and she identified another of my favorites as a silk Dhaka sari from Bangladesh (or East Pakistan depending on its age):
The last thing I need is yet another sari, but I may not be able to resist one of her baby-soft Kanchi cottons.