TX4648_1-TX4648_2-TX4648_3-TX4648_4-Reverse (detail)

Orange and White Phulkari

This phulkari with orange and white diamonds was made in Punjab, either in India or Pakistan in the 20th century. The maker used white and orange silk to embroider a pattern of alternately colored diamonds onto a deep red-brown cotton base textile. The diamonds are each made up of many small foliate shapes bordered by fine green silk stitches.

Phulkari are embroidered shawls that are made out of cotton and silk in Punjab and the greater region of northwest India and parts of Pakistan. Embroiderers decorate plain-woven cotton fabric with abstract geometric, floral, or figurative patterns, using brilliantly colored floss silk.  The makers work from the back of the textiles and use a darning stitch so most of the silk shows on the front. These long silk stitches catch the light in a way that makes monochromatic designs appear multi-hued, which imbues the textiles with a certain fantastical quality.

White-ground phulkari were popular in the 19th century, but in the 20th century embroiderers began to also use deep red-brown or blue ground fabrics that had been dyed with madder or indigo.

Circa: Early 20th century

Origin: Punjab, India or Pakistan

Material: Silk embroidery on cotton



Inventory number: TX4648


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