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A Very Abraded and Beautiful Pakistani Ralli: Textile Archaeology

November 1, 2012

Today I’m showing a super-amazing, large Pakistani ralli.   Although some rallis show a surface that is highly abraded–and beautiful–this one is just fascinating for HOW it’s been abraded.You can see that through a worn-away brown figured surface there is the suggestion of  another layer of patterning.What this is is fascinating: the original surface of this ralli was piece constructed like the rallis seen here.  Obviously, a solid layer of cloth was stitched entirely over this piece constructed top, and over time this solid layer of cloth was worn away to expose bits of the multi-colored layer underneath.Feast your eyes.  This is wonderful.

And the back is certainly a surprise.   Again we have leftover pieces of cotton that are pieced together to form one, complete surface.  And included in these pieces are what appear to be some kind of Pakistani cotton grain sacks.

This piece probably dates to the mid twentieth century.  It measures 86″ x 52″ or 218.5 cm x 132 cm.

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A Wonderful, Very Large Ralli

October 26, 2011

When I choose a ralli, the quilted cotton patchworks of Sindh, I choose them not for their proper front, but for what is meant to be their back.  I’m showing a smashing one here today.To me, this arrangement of color and form is really sophisticated and marvelous, and I prefer the “wrong side” of a ralli to its intricately patchworked and appliqued side, shown here.Here’s another in my collection with a really unbelievably beautiful “wrong” side.Rallis come in all sizes and shapes and, therefore, they are used differently according to their size: large ones such as the one shown here are bedcovers; smaller ones like this, could have been a sitting cushion or perhaps a dowry bag that has been opened.This one measures 78″ x 66″ or 198 cm x 168 cm.  It was most likely made in the mid-twentieth century.  And of course it’s completely hand stitched.

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