Phulkari, the dowry shawl of rural Punjabi women is silk embroidered cotton made by the bride and other females of her family. Common to all phulkaris they are embroidered from the back with floss silk in satin stitch. Most of the silk threads end up on the front of the shawl so not much silk is wasted on the unseen back side.

There are quite a few phulkari sub categories. First has to do with the religion of the wearer, Muslim women wear floral or abstract phulkaris while Hindu women’s phulkaris have figurative and animal motifs. Then the Bagh phulkaris feature embroidery that covers the whole ground and one can see the ground only as thin outline of the motifs while others show more of the ground. The ground color can date phulkaris as most older ones are on white cotton ground while 20th century phulkaris are embroidered on reddish brown or dark blue cotton.

This phulkari is called Pallu phulkari as it has wide borders on the shorter edges, similar in design to a saree. The two Pallus have different coloration. The rest is divided into three parts, a plain center with no embroidery and flanking it are two wide sections that are completely covered with gold embroidery with colorful diamond shaped inserts along narrow borders and penetrating into the center.

Circa: Early 20th century

Origin: India

Material: Silk embroidery on cotton

Condition: Excellent

Dimensions: 100” x 54”

Inventory number: NS00015



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