Phulkaris are embroidered shawls that were a part of rural women’s dowery. They were made out of cotton ground and decorated with silk embroidery. The embroidery is done on the reverse thus showing as much of the silk on the front. Embroiderers decorate the plain-woven cotton fabric using brilliantly colored floss silk. The long satin stitches reflect the light and contribute to a luxurious effect.
Phulkaris originate in the Punjab region and its vicinity which straddles eastern Pakistan and western India. They were made by both Muslims and Hindus. Muslim phulkaris are mostly abstract or floral in design, while the Hindu ones, like this piece, feature figures and animals. White ground phulkaris were popular in the 19th century, but in the 20th-century embroiderers began also to use dark red-brown or blue ground fabrics that had been dyed with madder or indigo.
This phulkari is made of dark blue/black ground and embroidered with a field of abstract florals and diamonds. The edges of the longer sides are lined with human figures and animals, and a checkered border.
Circa: First half 20th Century
Origin: Punjab, India
Material: Silk Embroidery on Cotton
Inventory number: TX4945