Embroidery has been practiced for thousands of years, and the variety is astonishing: gold-embroidered Chinese court insignia, landscape-worked Japanese kimonos, Sumatran sarongs, Indian saris, Afghan chain-stitched purses, Turkish napkin borders, Ghanaian patchwork banners, Egyptian head shawls, Moroccan cushion covers, Hungarian sheepskin jerkins, Slovakian bed curtains, German folk dress, Dutch bonnets, Breton coifs, Scilian ecclesiastical cloths, Spanish sleeves, North American Indian quillwork pouches, Mexican blouses, Panamanian molas, Peruvian Nasca textiles, and more. The book is organized into four main sections, covering every aspect of embroidered textiles: Guide to Identificaiton: the key fabrics, materials, stitches, motifs, and styles;The Decorative Power of Cult: recurrent mythological symbols, including Great Goddess figures, Trees of Life, and symbols of the Hunt;Religion and Its Patterns: the main symbols of all the major religious and spiritual systems;The Magic of Embroidery: protective and strengthening devices rooted in ancient beliefs and superstitions. There are over 350 illustrations, including specially taken color photographs, maps, line drawings and a dictionary of stitches. Complete with a glossary, a guide to textile collections around the world, and advice on collecting and conserving textiles, this comprehesive survey will be invaluable to anyone interested in fashion, textiles, crafts, and design. Shelia Paine is a world expert on tribal societies and textiles. One of the first books to examine in detail the symbolism of the motifs and designs that give life to marvelous embroidered textiles features a dazzling array of embroideries from all over the world. Lively and informative text explores the relation of designs to different religions, traditions, and cults. Includes a comprehensive regional guide. 279 illus. 171 in color.