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The Beauty of Phulkari: Flower Work Embroidered Cloth of the Punjab

Written on April 24, 2010

Today I am sharing some fascinating information on Punjabi phulkari and bagh as researched and presented by Frederic Rond of Indian Heritage Gallery which is located in the heart of Paris.  Frederic Rond is passionate about Indian art and culture, as can be seen by visiting his website and reading his research: Indian Heritage Gallery presents tribal and classical works from India and the Himalayas and shows both objects and textiles.

Mattu01Frederic sent me the link to his website where he launched a new page showing his research on phulkari: what a boon to us who love Indian textiles.   I think we can all benefit from Frederic’s thoughtful and precise text and the marvelous historical photos that serve to illustrate his words. WU3G8304 OK copieEnjoy viewing these images of phulkari and bagh from Indian Heritage Gallery:  these beautifully shimmering textiles  were produced by hand embroidering silk floss onto a hand spun and hand woven cotton base.  Thread counting is the basis for the embroidered patterns.WU3G8338 OK copieSome of the more elaborate works, such as these, are like a length of supple, woven gold.WU3G8339 OK copieRond writes about phulkari, “Phulkari, a rural tradition of handmade embroidery, literally meaning ” flower work ,” was perpetuated by the women of Punjab (North-west India & Pakistan) during the 19th century and till the beginning of the 20th century.”  WU3G8351 OK copie

Rond continues, “Generally fabricated by a family for its own use, the fact of having completed a phulkari signified an important step for a girl on her way to becoming a woman.   Techniques and patterns were not documented but transmitted by word of mouth.  Hence, each regional group was identifiable by its unique embroidery work.  The word phulkari usually indicates the shawl that was loomed and embroidered to cover women’s heads or to be displayed in the gurudwara (Sikh temple.)”


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