Mochi or Cobbler Embroidery of Gujarat

noviembre 07, 2015

Anyone who knows Gujarati or Hindi knows that Mochi means a cobbler. So when I first heard my dealer say that a category of very fine embroidery is known as mochi work it surprised me.

As always, my first reaction to believe that maybe my knowledge is incomplete or wrong – and so I wondered whether the word ‘mochi’ as I understood it had some other roots. Because the finesse of the stitch seemed to be antithetic to the stitch of cobblers.

In fact our sowing teacher in school (Grade 5), Mrs. Lobo, would reprimand us for untidy embroidery saying that we were stitching like cobblers. [those were the good old days when teachers & parents did scold children and the children and society were all better off]

Cobblers were meant to be using large needles and their stitches were meant to be large too – to suit the medium they worked on. And on that basis, the idea that they produced only rough work took root.

In those days when people were content in their own lives and travel was neither easy nor was it the stylish thing to do, it is quite likely that Mrs. Lobo, a resident of Bombay but hailing from Goa or Mangalore,  had not been to the remote areas of Gujarat or the Kutch. And therefore it is likely that she had no exposure to the fine embroidery of the mochi community executed on silk.

And so unbeknownst to her, she was bestowing compliments on us noobs instead of the caustic corrective words that she intended.

[The opposite just occurred to me: Maybe she DID know of mochi embroidery and maybe my work was really so good!!! Possible but improbable.]

The mistake in my thinking was that I defined the work of cobblers by the idea of large stitches. What one needed to focus on was the challenge of working on the tougher medium of leather. The fact that generations working on the same craft meant that learnings and experiences would have been passed down to create a larger deeper collective understanding – somewhat like the ‘Big Data Analytics’ we see today.

This  is what probably resulted in an innovation – the use of the hook – that further resulted in the evolution of the craft.


Here is an enlightening note on the technique  written in 1957 by John Irwin and Babette Hanish published in the “Needle and Bobbin Bulletin” [wow! there is such a bulletin!!! – the world is so full of surprises!!]

Article on Mochi Embroidery Technique


Some photos of Mochi work from my visit to the museums in Bhuj in 2007.

cimg6391 cimg6384 CIMG6383

And a beautiful beautiful piece that went under the hammer in 2014 for nearly US$10,000 at Bonhams.

Mochi Embroidery Pichwai

Am marveling at the mochi embroidery depicted within this mochi embrodiery!


Mochi embroidery is now an extinct art – am not sure though but this is what dealers have told me.

I can only hope that someone will come along and tell me that I am wrong!


Nov 2015



The post Mochi or Cobbler Embroidery of Gujarat appeared first on The Art Blog by WOVENSOULS.COM.

Ver artículo completo

Sin Zapatos En El Interior

mayo 09, 2019

Los orígenes de esta suavemente-pero-estrictamente la regla en todos los Asiáticos tradicionales casas podrían ser muchos. Pero creo que la verdadera razón es el arte que se muestra en la baja...... ... Seguir leyendo

El post Sin Zapatos En El Interior apareció por primera vez en El Arte por el Blog WOVENSOULS.COM.

Ver artículo completo

Una Nota sobre Phulkari Clasificación

abril 30, 2019

Una compilación de mi jottings en Phulkaris Textiles de Punjab

El post Una Nota sobre Phulkari Clasificación apareció por primera vez en El Arte por el Blog WOVENSOULS.COM.

Ver artículo completo

Bronce de Arte para el Amante de la Alfombra

abril 24, 2019

Bronce Arte por Franz Bergman visto en internet: Lindo eh? ¿Podríamos concluir que la amaba alfombras así? Estas son frías-pintado de bronces que primero fueron emitidos en el ... Seguir leyendo

El post Bronce de Arte para el Amante de la Alfombra apareció por primera vez en El Arte por el Blog WOVENSOULS.COM.

Ver artículo completo

Liquid error: include usage is not allowed in this context