Parsi Salon



"There was the Paddy Goose, the Green Railing Tavern and the Parsi George, 'reserved for the jolly Parsi who would like to have bouts, specially of his favourite ‘Gulabee Mowra’, liquor of rose and jungle flower in his own fashion'"
(from A Zoroastrian Tapestry: art, religion and culture)

During the mid nineteenth century weavers from the town of Surat on the west coast of India travelled to Shanghai to learn the art of Chinese silk weaving. The result was the distinctive tanchoi material that became popular for its intricate finish and Chinese motifs and was used mainly for saris by Parsi women. The flourishing trade with China meant that Parsi agents stayed there for months at a time with the result that other materials, such as brocade and embroidered silks, were manufactured especially for the Parsi sari market. Apart from the tanchoi, the other distinctive Parsi fabric was the the garo which was a plain satin sari length, usually in a dark colour, covered with embroidery in contrasting shades. Parsi sari brooches were also distinctive insofar as they adopted European designs in their depiction of tulips and lilies as well as the Victorian fascination for animals and insects such as butterflies and grasshoppers.

Elaborately carved furniture and wooden chests with Chinese motifs were also popular among Parsi China traders in the 19th century. The chests were used to transport the delicately woven and embroidered fabrics. Chinese porcelain was another import that resulted from the growing wealth of Parsi patrons of the China trade.

Vermilion Gara with Pea Fowls Chinese Porcelain Parsi women sketching at Sir JJ School of Art Carved Image of Zarathustra Purple Gara