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The Flowering Desert: Textiles from Sindh

The Flowering Desert: Textiles from Sindh


A lavishly illustrated volume of Pakistani textiles of extraordinary colour and vibrancy from one of the most arid areas on Earth. This stunning book showcases over 120 remarkable objects with a further 30 images of the textiles in use.


The Flowering Desert explores the history and craftsmanship, the styles and the stitches of textiles from Sindh in Pakistan, which, according to some scholars, was the crucible in which the textile traditions of Gujarat and Rajasthan were forged. It focuses on a spectacular private collection, parts of which have exhibited at the Victoria & Albert Museum, London and the National Museums of Scotland.


The textile crafts of Sindh are amongst the oldest in South Asia. A kaleidoscope of colour, mirrors and embroidery, Sindhi textiles feature motifs of the cosmos, desert flowers, peacocks, scorpions and sand dunes. The topography of the land has led to the emergence of styles of dress and ornamentation that have become markers of identity for the various tribes of the region. The inhabitants of the central plains have dyeing, printing, weaving and embroidery skills, whilst those who inhabit the plain between the west bank of the Indus and the Kirthar and Lakhi mountains employ finely embroidered geometric patterns with mirrors. The areas to the north are known for their festive and intricate silver thread embroideries. Thread-work embroideries from the semi desert region of Tharparkar in the southeast are among the most evocative, with stylized motifs of the flowers and birds of the desert.


In addition to sumptuous photography of over 120 remarkable objects – from tunics and turban sashes to dowry bags and animal adornments – the book includes a further 30 images of the textiles in use, essays on the history of the region, its tribes and their differing styles, as well as on the numerous stitches used in Sindhi embroidery and on the various techniques of printing on and painting fabric.

  • Nasreen and Hasan Askari

    November 2019 

    Hardback, 280 x 240 mm

    168 pages, 150 colour illus.

    ISBN: 978-1-911300-71-7


    About the authors

    Nasreen Askari is founder-director of the Mohatta Palace Museum in Karachi and co-author of the seminal book on Pakistani textiles, Colours of the Indus, and on ceramics, Tale of the Tile.

    Hasan Askari is a former trustee of the British Museum, London.

  • In the press

    "A breathtaking visual history." —The Guardian


    "This handsome book focuses on the remarkable collection of textiles from Paki­stan's Sindh province..." —The World of Interiors


    "...the catalogue offers not only a visual feast but also a fascinating and authoritative reference through which to explore the repertoire of the region, so often overlooked in the literature." — Journal of the Oriental Rug and Textile Society


    "sumptuous production and illustrations but in addition offers a scholarly introduction to the textiles and embroidery of an area too little appreciated in the past." —Asian Affairs


    "This important book and exquisite illustrations will become a vital reference for collectors, textile historians, and those interested in the textile arts wishing to research Sindhi textiles, culture, and embroidery or textiles in general." —The Journal of Dress History

  • Awards

    The Flowering Desert has been nominated for the Textile Society of America's Shep Ethnic Textile Book Award.

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