RILII, MAKER UNKNOWN, PROBABLY MADE IN HYDERABAD, SINDH, PAKISTAN, CIRCA 1950-1960, 215 X 123 CENTIMETERS. IMAGE COURTESY OF THE INTERNATIONAL QUILT STUDY CENTER, UNIVERSITY OF NEBRASKA-LINCOLN; IQSCM 2005.035.0002. WWW.QUILTSTUDY.ORG. – TAASA Review September 2014

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This article was originally found in the September 2014 edition of TAASA Review (Volume 23, Issue 3, Page 24).

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It is Sindh, an area in the south of Pakistan with a population of 42.4 million people, many of whom are related to tribes in Baluchistan, Punjab, Rajasthan and Gujarat, which is considered to be the centre of the ralli-producing area (Sindh Government Statistics).

The words ralli (plural) and rilii (singular) mean a quilt or coverlet stuffed with old clothes' and are words derived from the Sindhi verb ralarnu, tomix freely, to join’, or `connect’ (Parmanand Mewaram SindhiEnglish Dictionary). Ralli quilts are hung over doorways, and used to decorate walls, as bedcovers, and on the backs of animals.

They can also be made into bags to hold a dowry (gotho) to wrap a sacred text (bhuiki) or even by a snake charmer to store his snake (Ormsby Stoddard 2003: 31). Until the 1970s women only made ralli for personal use, and the cloth used was recycled from old clothing...