Shah, Archana
Shifting Sands



Shifting Sands: Kutch Textiles, Traditions, Transformation

The exquisite fabrics of Kutch were legendary and widely traded as far back as the time of the Indus Valley Civilization, some 5000 years ago. Through the centuries, the ancient techniques of dyeing, weaving and printing continued to flourish there, and clothing played a key role in defining the identity of the various communities in Kutch. Mesmerized by its vibrant textiles and embroideries, Archana Shah first set foot in Kutch when she was a student at the National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad, in the mid-seventies, little knowing that it would be the beginning of a life-long affair with this magical land.

Weaving together history and legend, as well as myths, mores and miracles, her book, Shifting Sands offers vivid glimpses of the unique culture and craft practices of the people of Kutch, as well as their food and homes, and particularly their ancient textile traditions, all of which are closely connected with one another and with the vast, arid landscape of the region.

This sensitive, thought-provoking narrative also chronicles the author’s personal journey of discovery, enriched by the building of relationships, and the lessons learnt from those whose lives were very different from her own. It goes on to explore their traditional self-sustaining way of life, their values and world view steeped in ancient wisdom, all the more relevant today because it taught them to care for their environment and conserve their precious resources. At the same time, the book raises pertinent questions about the unrestrained “development” of the region, which has upset the ecological balance and created deep fissures in what was once a harmoniously integrated society.

With 427 photographs

Shifting Sands: Kutch Textiles, Traditions, Transformation, Archana Shah, Bandhej Books, 2013

Hardcover. Minor shelf wear to dust jacket. Very good condition.