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The Flowering Desert: Textiles from Sindh (Second Edition)

The Flowering Desert: Textiles from Sindh (Second Edition)


This is a revised second edition of the best-selling book which incorporates new and additional material on the majority of the objects as well as an expanded glossary which will be of interest to both collector and scholar. The first edition was long-listed for the R.L. Shep Award by the Textile Society of America and chosen as one of the twelve best books of the year by the Crafts Council of the UK, both in 2020.


The Flowering Desert explores the history, craftsmanship, styles and 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 been 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 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 various groups in the region. The inhabitants of the central plains have dyeing, printing, weaving and embroidery skills, whilst those who inhabit the area 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 of the desert. 


In addition to sumptuous photography of 120 remarkable objects – from tunics and turban sashes to dowry bags and animal adornments – the book has essays on the history of the region, its ethnic groups and their differing styles, as well as on the numerous stitches used in Sindhi embroidery. 


  • By Nareen and Hasan Askari

    April 2024

    Hardback, 280 x 240 mm

    168 pages, 150 colour illus.

    ISBN 978-1-913645-57-1


    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.

  • First Edition 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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