Intricate mirror work and beadwork have been done in the Gujurat region of India for hundreds of years. The decorative pieces are used for special occasions — weddings, festivals, as ornamentation for animals. They are for good omen or good luck and they show the artistic skills of the woman who does them. The pieces are made for personal use and pleasure, not for resale.
These Indian textiles include a large group of pieces ornamented with shisha embroidery, also called mirror cloth because of the many tiny round mirrors stitched onto the surface, which is then heavily embroidered. These pieces are done by the Banjara, an ethnic group found in the Kutch District of Gujurat and in Rajasthan and form a very important part of a girl’s dowry. This group of chakla cloth and torans includes pieces up to 20 years old. Torans are hanging chakla cloths which can be hung over doors and windows, where the small mirrors are believed to trap or ward off the evil eye. Older embroidered pieces like these became scarce because so many were destroyed by the severe earthquake in Gujarat Province over a dozen years ago.