Dept of clothing and textiles
Embroidery is the art of using stitches as a
decorative feature in their own right by
embellishing fabric or other material with design
stitches in strands of threads or yarns using a
needle. Embroidery may also incorporate other
material such as metal strips, pearls, beads, quilts
(Namrata & Naik, 2008)
Kashida of Kashmir
• Kashida, the other name of Kashmir
embroidery is broadly been encouraged by the
beautiful natural environment of the valley.
• The embroidery is quite popular due to its
color, texture, design and technique.
• The very embroidery is in turn revealed in
shawls as well as in cottage industry
performed by the very members of families of
• Kashmiri embroidery is particularly practiced
by men of the families and is a total
• Stem stitch.
•One of the most intriguing features of the embroidery is the very
fact that it is made of single thread thus offering a flat appearance
to the design.
•The satin stitch has been endorsed for covering larger surface
without even pulling the cloth. It has quite become the variation of
both short and long stitch.
•The importance of this style is that the entire pattern is created
through usage of one or two embroidery stitch styles.
•Wool and cotton is the very base cloth used. More often, they are
available in some shades of white or some similar light shade.
Several times, pastel colors are even used.
•The colors of motifs are drawn from flowers, creepers and chinar
leaves, mango etc.
• There are bird motifs seen on the shawls ranging from parrot to
woodpeckers and kingfishers and floral motifs such as lily, lotus,
iris, saffron flower etc.
•Some of the other interesting designs are inspired from grapes,
cherries, almonds and apples, to name a few.
• Chain is mainly used only at inferior places, however
not on expensive piece of work. The true Indian
customer does set a great store displaying the same
fitness on quite both sides for making even the wrong
side vary from right.
• Kashida embroidery is particularly used commonly on
fabrics like white, green, purple, blue, yellow and
• This embroidery does increase the elegance of Kashmir
shawls, sarees and other dress materials
Kashmiri ari-work embroidery on a ‘phiren’ (smock) yoke
• The influence of Muslim culture can be seen in this
industry in that the animals and human figures are
not seen in Kashmir embroidery.
• But few old pieces depicting hunting scene popularly
known as ‘Shikargah’ are available in Museums of
Srinagar. The displayed pieces have embroidered
borders using bands of marching soldiers and separate
panels showing horse riders.
• Several forms of cones that existed in Indo-Persian art
around seventeenth and eighteenth century emerged
into Kashmiri embroidery as the cone shaped mango
motif, popularly known as the Kalka or Badami
Tracing of the design
• The selected design is traced on the fabric. It is done by the
professional tracers called Naquashband (Nakshaband) following
the traditional technique of tracing.
• The procedure of tracing is as follows-
1. The fabric is spread on a flat surface
2. The perforated design sheet is placed over the fabric
3. The charcoal or chalk powder is rubbed over it, which leaves the
impression over the fabric
4. To make the tracings durable, gum arabic is added to the powder
5. The traced design is outlined with a pen called Kalam
Fabric and Thread Used
Different types of fabrics are used for Kashida of Kashmir. The
most commonly used fabrics are:
Like the fabrics, different types of threads are used in Kashida
• Artificial silk
• The outstanding feature of this embroidery is the fact that it is made
with single threads, resulting in a flat, formalized appearance to the
• Special stitches
Zalakdozi ( chain Stitch)
Vata Chikn (button Hole),
Doria ( open work ),
Talaibar ( Gold Work ).
• There are three main techniques and some have
Sozni and Rezkari: It is mainly done on Shawls using
single strand and sometime double strand of silk or
fine pashmina floss. The stitches are open chain, open
stem, couching, fly, buttonhole and herringbone stitch
locally known as Kashmiri stitch.
• It is a chain stitch done with the help
• Mainly done on articles like cushion
covers, bed covers and also on
• Also done on the garments like
Phirans and poncho.
• This is done by twisting 4-6 strands of thread on
the right side and couching it with a single thread
of same color.
• It is a very intricate work and extensive training is
needed to perfect this technique.
Kashmir also produces two
very famous works one is
called Gabha, a unique type
of floor covering and
another is Namda, a special
work done on carpets.
• It is a unique type of a floor covering,
• It is very cheap,
• Devised from old or torn woolen blankets or shawls after
being washed milled and dyed in various colors appliqué
work in grey colour and bold floral ornamental design is
• Gabha work is centered mainly around the town of Anantnag
• It is a special work done on a felt carpet with a hook called
crewel forming chain stitch which forms the base
foundation and it is supplemented by other stitches such as
satin, cross filling etc.
• This embroidery is done either in white or in various
colours where patterns are filled completely with chain
stitch and the stitches are started from the centre. It is also
called Crewel embroidery. The carpet designs selected for
Namda ranges from Persian to French like Chinar leaf,
Shikargah, Theridar, Bulbuldar, Guldar, Badamdar, Kalka
and so on
Types of Kashmir Embroideries
• Kashida is a general term for
Kashmir embroidery which
include many stitches namely,
chain stitch (zalakdozi), button
hole (vata chikn), open work
(dora), gold work (talaibar) and
• Zalakdozi- a form of Kashmir
embroidery where tiny delicate
chain stitch is used to render
the stylized paisley motif, a
favourite for this art form.
• Refoogari which means darning derives the name from
the stitch. It is done with the thread as that fabric
material used in the base. This results in the
interweaving that produces a fine texture in the fabric.
Design is worked evenly to look alike on both sides
• Tapestry work- This art was introduced by Major and
Mrs. Handow to make household articles around 1935.
• It is done with a blunt tapestry needle on the canvas
cloth called Dasuta. It is done with the woollen thread
called Ear, with whip stitch by counting the threads
•Chickan-kari is derived from the word Chakeen that means elegant
patterns on the fabric which is a Persian word.
•The state of Uttar Pradesh especially the city of Lucknow is considered to
be the hub of Chickan-kari embroidery.
•Earlier it was done with white thread on muslin clothes. However now it
is been done on various types of fabrics like cotton, linen nylon, georgette,
chiffon and synthetic fabrics. Apart from wearable garments it is also
done on various other things like curtains, bed sheets, table cloths, pillow
covers and cushion covers.
•Unlike earlier times it is not only done on white colored cloths but also
fabrics of various colors. But the thread used for the embroidery is
•Various motifs are embroidered through it like floral motifs which
include flowers like rose, lotus, jasmine, creepers, etc.
• Chikankari is famous as 'shadow work'. It is a very
delicate work of Lucknow.
• It is possible that the craft originated in East Bengal. It is
now seen in Bhopal, Gaya, Calcutta, Allahabad and
Varanasi but Lucknow is the great modern centre where
work of a quite remarkable beauty and distinction is
• According to Kamaladevi Chattopadyaya, "this was
introduced by Nur Jehan and may have been inspired by
or based on, Turkish embroidery. The designs were said
to have been evolved by herself.“
• Chikankari work is called white embroidery.
• The fabric used for this work is plain white fabric.
• It is mostly done white on white.
• Chikankari is though done on the white muslin
background now is done on fine cotton material like
voile, cambric, mulmul, chiffon, georgettes, koil cotton,
organdy, nets and other similar sheer fabrics.
White on white
White on coloured and
coloured on coloured
Pre preparation (Design
• The patterns are printed from wood blocks in a
• The designs are first prepared in paper and wooden
stamping blocks are prepared from them.
• The designs are then stamped on the cloth and
passed on to the embroiderers.
• 'Chikankari does not employ a large
variety of stitches although.
• It makes use of ordinary stitches like:-
1. The Satin stitch
2. The Stem stitch
3. The Back stitch
4. The Herring bone stitch
5. The Button hole stitch.
• There are two types of chikankari work
• The flat style and the Knotted embossed for example jali or
netting in varieties of designs.
• Special stitches used in chikankari work are named as:-
• Taipchi is a simple darning stitch used in a cheaper
• It consists of strokes and straight lines driven
through the cloth in the direction required to form
• It is usually employed for outlines or running
• Taipchi is the flat style of chikan work.
2. Khatawa or Khatao
• This is applique work prepared
on white calico material.
• It is not on fine muslins. It is an
exceedingly intricate kind of
• The same fabric is used as for the
• This embroidery belongs to the
flat style of chikankari.
• This constitutes an inverted satin stitch
with designs outlined on the right side of
the fabric. The thread is chiefly below the
cloth. Compact masses of thread are then
worked on the wrong side so that the
design appears opaque.
• It is also called shadow work because the
stitches that cover the wrong side of the
cloth are in herring bone producing a
• The stitches cover the back of the cloth
giving an opaque effect on the front side
of the fine white fabric working at the
same time, an outline of motif of flowers
and leaves resembling back stitches.
• This falls under emboss knitted style.
Murri means rice shape.
• It is usually done on muslin cloth.
Murri is worked in the centre of the
• This is a knotted variety of stitch to
give a rich heavy embossed effect.
• The stitch is the French knot.
• This resembles grains like millet.
• This also is in emboss knotted style.
• This is a smaller and shorter form of
the murri stitch.
• These are used to fill petals or leaves in
• Jali Work or netting or lace like trellis is
somewhat like drawn thread work.
• This is done by breaking up the fabric
into holes and not by drawing out the
• The warp and weft threads are pushed
apart with the needle into holes and
tightened to give the cloth the
appearance of a net.
• This is done by a sort of very fine
button-holing and then pulling the
• This embroidery is of supreme
excellence comparable only with the
best European laces to which it
corresponds in purpose and effect.
• The design motifs in Chikankari are
predominantly influenced by Mughal
• The bel or creeper is the most
commonly used design individual
motifs or butis, animals and flowers
are also made including
fish, hathi (elephant)
and kairi (mango), dhaniya
patti (corriander leaf) ghas patti (grass
leaves V-shaped line of stitches
worked in a graduated series) murri
(grain motif – diagonal stitches are
worked several times on a basic stitch
to form a grain shape)
Chikankari work is done on:
• Sari borders
• Tiny buttas in the body of the sari,
• Kurtas, cuffs, jubbas,
• Table cloth,
• Table mats
• Other household linens.
It is commercialized and had gained
the foreign market.
Chiffon dress material: Yellow and white
threads on black chiffon.
Shadow work on blue
Exquisite chikan work done on red pure chiffon kurti. green colour sequins are
added to create magic.It includes phanda along with murri and shadow work.
Zari embroidery is the use of thin gold or silver thread for
embroidery work. Surat and Varanasi are major centers for making
the metal thread which is also known as kalabathi. Zari embroidery
is known as Zardozi. it is supposed to be an ancient art , known
even in rigvedic times . For long it remained a cherished item by
traders who exported it to major countries of the world during the
The popular styles practices all over India.
• Salma-Sitara in which small round pieces of Gold or Silver are
set in between the Zari work. This work is chiefly done by
Muslim artisans in Lucknow.
• Kamdani in which the effect is that of thousands of dots,
producing a glittering effect and hence the designed is also called
• Minakari in which gold enameling is used.
• Mokaish done with silver thread called Badla.
• Gota in which border is made entirely of gold or silver threads
.In Gota Kinari work , which is a specialty of Jaipur, figures of
birds ,animals ,humans,etc are cutout of the Gota and attached to
the cloth. The cut outs are then encased in wires of silver and
Zardosi with Sitara and Salma
Zardosi with Dabka
• Among the outstanding & famous Indian embroideries
probably the earliest seem to be gold & silver embroidery.
• Even in the Vedas & epics references have been made to such
• It flourished during Mughal period.
• It was done on silk.
• Nowadays it is practiced allover the country. Places like Agra,
Delhi, Lucknow, Kashmir, Bhopal, Varanasi, Bombay &
Hyderabad are well known for this type of work.
There are two main types of Embroidery:-
• Heavy is known as Zardozi.
• Lighter is known as Kamdani.
And other types are :-
Tilla or Marori Work
• Zardozi : This is a heavy and more elaborate embroidery
work which uses varieties of gold threads, spangles,
beads, seed pearls, wire, and gota. It is used to embellish
wedding outfits, heavy coats, cushions, curtains,
canopies, animal trappings, bags, purses, belts, and
• The material on which this kind of embroidery is done is
usually heavy silk, velvet and satin.
• The kind of work found are salma-sitara, gijai, badla,
katori, and seed pearls, among others.
• The main centers are in Delhi, Jaipur, Banaras, Agra,
and Surat. The old teach the young and the skill
continues from generation to generation.
Kamdani : This is a lighter needlework which is
done on lighter material like scarves, veils, and
caps. Ordinary thread is used and the wire is
pressed down with the stitching producing a
satin-stitch effect. The effect produced is glittering
and is called hazara butti (thousand lights).
• Stitches are very close & elaborate
• It is prepared with Badla (thin strips
of metal) Gijai (circular thin wire
resembling an insect of that name)
sitara (round metal piece) & salma.
• Zardozi is prepared on curtains,
heavy coats, cushions shapes &
• In Zardozi the design is first out lined
with the twisted gold thread.
• Simpler kind & less
elaborate, done on fine
• Kamdani is done on
wearing apparel such as
caps, veils, scarves etc.
Meena Work : This is thus called due to its resemblance
with enamel work. The embroidery is done with gold
Kataoki Bel : This is a border pattern made of stiff
canvas and the whole surface is filled with sequin
edging. A variation of this border technique is lace
made on net and filled with zari stitches and spangles.
Makaish : This is one of the oldest
styles and is done with silver wire or
badla. The wire itself serves as a
needle, piercing the material to
complete the stitches. A variety of
designs are produced in this
Karchobi work :Surat is famous for
Karchobi work. In karchobi
different types of gold are used for
embroider & spangles are also used.
There embroideries are known by
different names based on the
material being used for the
Gota Work : The woven gold border is cut
into various shapes to create a variety of
textures in the patterns. In Jaipur the border
of the material or sari is cut into shapes of
birds, animals, and human figures, attached
to the cloth, and covered with wires of silver
and gold. It is surrounded by coloured silks.
The work resembles enameling.
Kinari Work : A small variation of zari is
Kinari work, where the embellishments are
done only at the edges in the form of tassels.
This is done mainly by men and women of
the Muslim community.
• It was mostly done on satin
with a buckram lining .
• lining is tacked to make it
easy for the embroiderer to
• Fine needles & threads
should be used to
embroider the gold & silver
• The main stitches used in zari is, Laid or couching, satin,
lain stem & running.
• The satin stitch is used for embroidering caps, borders &
other articles of dress which require heavy embroidery.
• Chain – On Saris
• Stem & running – for miscellaneous kind work running
goes well with fine & net like fabric.
• Laid or Couching - Cushion covers & mashads done
with gold thread.
• Zardozi : This is a heavy and more elaborate embroidery work which
uses varieties of gold threads, spangles, beads, seed pearls, wire, and
gota. It is used to embellish wedding outfits, heavy coats, cushions,
curtains, canopies, animal trappings, bags, purses, belts, and shoes.
• The material on which this kind of embroidery is done is usually
heavy silk, velvet and satin.
• The kind of work found are salma-sitara, gijai, badla, katori, and seed
pearls, among others.
• The main centers are in Delhi, Jaipur, Banaras, Agra, and Surat. The
old teach the young and the skill continues from generation to
• Kamdani : This is a lighter needlework which is done on lighter
material like scarves, veils, and caps. Ordinary thread is used and the
wire is pressed down with the stitching producing a satin-stitch
effect. The effect produced is glittering and is called hazara butti
• According to B.C Mohanty following varities of gold thread
manufactured and used:
• Pure gold thread or pure gold zari: Silver wire is wrapped around silk
core thread and then gilded.
• Nim zari or half zari: copper wire is wraped around silk or silk core
thread in different colours and then silvered. The copper wire spirals
are comparatively wider apart. This is not made now unless specially
• Haldi gold thread or haldi zari: silver wire is wrapped around
mercerized cotton thread and then coated with chemical golden
• Rasi or table zari: Silver wire is wrapped around dyed golden orange
mercerized cotton core thread and then coated with chemical golden
• Badla: The flattened wire of metal made after the
• Kalabattu or Kasab: The wire when twisted on core of
silk or cotton becomes Kalabattu.
• Tilla: It is a flat wire which cannot be threaded and is
stitched on to the material directly.
• Gijai: A wire coiled in ziz zag manner and is used as
an appliqué and is also stitched on.
• Dabka: Coiled thin wire through which a thread
niddle is passed. It is tied to the surface and has shine
• Sitara: A small round metal piece which when set in
an embroidery looks like a star, and used mostly in
• Thicker Kallabattu is braided gold thread, used in
border, while the thinner variety is used at the end of
laces of purses, tassels, strings, e.t.c
• Tikora: Gold thread spirally twisted for use in curve
and convulsions in complex designs.
• Kora: Dull Zari thread.
• Chikna: Lustrous zari thread.
•The Zardozi embroidery has five basic designs which have
further variations. They are:
•Jali or tanke bandi ka kaam which comprises of geometrical
patterns. Here the stitches are counted and the design is made
.Some jali designs are Chandi ki jali, Chakle wali jali,Suiyo wali
•Bharat designs refers to the filling work .
•Floral designs or patti and phul motifs.
•Birds or panchi motifs.
•Animal or janwar designs.
•Kasuti is world famous embroidery of Karnataka state earlier known as
Mysore state, the motifs and art is a part of women’s world
•Kasuti embroidery speaks about the people of Karnataka their
traditions, customs and professions.
•It is said that Kasuti resembles the embroidery of Austria, Hungary and
•The word Kasuti comprised of ‘Kai’ means hand and ‘Suti’ is cotton
thread, i.e. Kasuti is hand work of cotton thread, in Karnataka language.
•Kasuti embroidery was famous in many places especially in the
districts of Bijapur, Dharwar, Belgaum, Miraj, Sangli and Jamkhandi.
This embroidery is prepared by women for their personal use. In the olden
days it was a custom that the bride had to possess a black silk sari, called
chandrakali sari with Kasuti work on it.
As a matter of fact traditionally this embroidery is done on saris and blouses.
The five garments on which Kasuti was done were kunchi (bonnet and cape
combined), lenga (skirt), seragu (pallav of a sari), kusuba (bodice) and kulai
Material used- The material on which the Kasuti embroidery was done
earlier was mostly khans (used as blouse pieces) and Irkal sarees.
Today Kasuti embroidery is done on any type of fabric. It is done on table
cloth, curtains, cushion covers and many other household articles of hand
• The colours mostly used for Kasuti are orange, green, purple
• The colour combination in these four colours is red, orange
and purple, or red, green and orange.
• White is predominant on a black and dark background.
• Blue and yellow are rarely used, whereas bright pink, pale
green and lemon yellow were hardly used
•Hindu motifs predominate here and Muslim influence appears to be
•The motifs used in Kasuti embroidery ranged from mythological
and architectural to the beautiful flora and fauna.
•The motifs used in Kasuti are from temple architecture, the
gopurams of South India, raths and palanquins, bird motif such as
the parrot, the peacock, the swan, and the squirrel. Animal motifs
used are the sacred bull (Nandi), the elephant and the deer.
•Near the pallu larger designs are depicted such as the temple,
elephant and howdah, nandi the secret bull, parrot and peacock etc.
They are followed by motifs of diminishing sizes like flowers, birds,
animals and geometrical patterns.
•The other designs used for Kasuti embroidery are inspired from
the articles of daily use such as rudraksha, rattle, cradle, flower
pot, anklets, bells, cashew nut, chess square and tulsi katte (katte is
the enclosure for the sacred tulsi plant).
•One will rarely see horses, lions, or tigers but cats and dogs are
•Among the floral motifs lotus is most common, others were
jasmine, marigold, chrysanthemum.
The secret of this age-old embroidery form is that it can be
done only by counting the threads of the warp and weft and
never the design is traced in the material to be embroidered
and the embroidery starts without knotting thread but with
a tiny back stitch.
Vertical, horizontal, and diagonal stitches are used. The
motifs have to be completed as the stitching line comes
back to fill in the blank spaces. In such cases the wrong
and right sides are like .
Gavanti: The Gavanti is double running stitch and is commonest
among all the other stitches used in Kasuti embroidery.
Muragi or Murgi: This means twisted. It is a variation of holbein
stitch. It has a ‘zig zag’ nature. This can be made vertically,
horizontally, or diagonally. The diagonal pattern, with a ladder
like appearance, is used most popularly. Muragi is also used to
fill up patterns. This stitch is reversible and shows up the same
on the front and reverse of the fabric.
Negi: The word negi originates from the Kannada word neg
meaning to weave. It is the typical pattern darning stitch. It uses
running stitch to make patterns and gives a weaved effect. This
stitch is reversible, but they tend to be like mirror images of each
Menthi: This means fenugreek Menthi is a cross stitch and is
used to cover up the back ground of the design. It is done by
counting the warp and the weft threads. It uses the typical cross
stitch to fill in the patterns or motifs. This stitch is not reversible.
• The Rumals of Chamba, a state in the Himalayan range are
remarkable pieces of embroidery.
• The evidence about existence of Chamba embroidery pages
back to fifteenth century, mentions in Buddhist literature that
the embroidery was practiced in Pathankot, Chamba and other
neighboring remote villages.
• It was also mentioned that during eleventh and twelfth
century A.D this luxurious embroidery was done in Pahari
areas like, Churah, Chamba, Jammu, Kulu, Kangra, Mandi.
• The embroidery depicted a fine, delicate, perfect manual work
called as needle miniatures of Himachal or Pahari Rumal
• The primitive traditional Chamba has undergone gradual evolution
with respect to motifs, colours, stitches, workmanship and aesthetic
• Reflecting back into the earlier Chamba embroidery all most all the
motifs namely, human figures, birds, flora and fauna were highly
stylized and disproportionately drawn.
• Colours employed were very bright, bold and brilliant.
• The folk style was replaced by subdued colours and become more
popular during the eighteenth and nineteenth century.
• The Rumal are generally in square shape but sometimes they are
rectangular ranging from two feet to six feet in length. Chamba
rumals are very picturesque and are small head shawls.
• The chamba rumals had special significance. The embroidered
rumals were used to cover offerings, to deities, to cover presents
from the bride’s home to that of the bride groom and vice versa.
• Chamba embroidery was also used on household accessories such
as dice-cloth, caps, hand fans, pillow covers, wall hanging, ceiling
• Today, it can also be found on choli and blouse pieces
• In the matter of styles in Chamba rumals, there are two different
kinds, the most widely used being one in the style of Pahari
paintings. The second style was a folk style in which the women
embroidered their cholis and rumals (scarves) using their own
patterns and designs.
• Chamba rumals were ultimately done by the upper class women
of royalty. They had the use of the trained miniature artist who
would draw the theme of the rumal in charcoal and provide
guiding colour schemes.
• Hand drawing of free style was the mode of tracing or outlining
the design or motif, carried out exclusively by ladies. These
women drew the figures of their own creation and produced the
images of their deity on the material as visualized by them.
• Second type being hand-spun, hand woven coarser, relatively heavier
• In later period the unbleached cotton material was replaced by mill
made cotton cloth.
• However, cream or white coloured Tassar silk materials was also
commonly used for making rumals
• Earlier, the white fabric was locally dyed by professional dyers using
natural vegetable colours. Today, according to the taste, demand
fashion trend and availability the ground fabric employed being
terycot, organdie, linen, poplin and muslin of either white or light
• Traditionally the ground fabric used was two types
of unbleached cotton cloth, first being the light weight,
fine, delicate, cambric like, semitransparent,
manufactured at Sialkot, Amritsar and Ludhiana
• The threads used for embroidery were untwisted pat
(silk thread), which gave rich effect against dull rustic
• No Chamba rumal is in single colour. The infinite
shades and tints of bright, brilliant and contrasting
colours were used. Most commonly used colours are
red, yellow, green, blue, crimson and purple.
Threads and colours used
• The folk style made generous use of brilliant colours
including pink, lemon yellow, purple and green while the
court form evolved a more sophisticated color palette that
consisted of pale shades of ochre, dark green and blue.
• Blue colour is always used for Krishna and crimson for feet
• Gopis in vivid colours of yellow and green or dark pink in
• Red, blue and white colours are used for Brahma, Vishnu
and Maheswara respectively
• The outline of the motif is always worked with black.
• Embroidery was done in double satin stitch
• No rumal was in single colour. The stitch
was carried forwards and backwards
alternately and was done simultaneously on
both sides of the cloth so a Chamba rumal
does not have a right or wrong side.
• The stem stitch was used whenever
necessary for the outlines.
• Chain stitch was not practiced on rumals.
Gujjar women used darning, sometimes
even herringbone and satin stitches
• Their pictorial quality lies in their being embroidered with scenes from
the immortal classics, the Mahabharata and the Ramayana, themes
from Indian mythology, and Pahari miniature paintings, Ragas and
Raginis, the game of Chaupad, Ganesha, hunting and marriage scenes,
the Nayikas, and often episodes from the Raslila of Radha and Krishna.
• In the case of Ras Leela, Krishna and the Gopis dance in a circle holding
hands by the outstretched clasping hands of the dancing Gopis. The
centre of the field is usually filled with human figures in action-
Krishna and Radha dancing, elephant riders e.t.c.
• Sometimes the embroidery consists solely of floral and geometrical
designs. The border designs are generally floral.
• The unique characteristic of the embroidery is that it gives a vivid
impression of the embroidered figure being in action or in motion,
thereby enhancing the artistic value of the Rumals
• Animal and bird motifs are also used in this embroidery.
• Birds- peacocks, ducks, swans sometimes decorative sometimes
• Animal- running boars, leaping tigers, prancing horses and
• Tree- willow tree, cypress tree and plaintain trees bent with
flowers and fruits
• Trees, flowers, animals and birds are usually stylized in nature
• It is also observed that many musical instruments such as Flute,
Tambura, Drums (dholaks), Veena, Sitar, Tabla are used in the art.
• Muslim Gujjar women used geometrical motifs, included triangle,
squares, diamonds, rectangular, hexagonal and circles
• It is to say that Krishna in all his various forms and characters
occupied the central figure of much of Himachal embroidery.
• The Rumals display other folk styles like marriage of Krishna and
Rukmini, Vishnu in a lotus, Ganesh, Vishnu-Laxmi, Pahari women
playing musician instruments, men smoking pipe and so on
• Rasmandala- Here the centre of the theme depicts Lord Vishnu
sitting in the Padma, the lotus has four arms, each holding a Padma,
a Gada, a Shankh (conch shell) and his weapon, the Sudarshan
• The other empty part of the rumal is covered with floral and
guldasta motifs, except the corners which had human figures
(Gopies) playing Dholak
• Kaliya Damana- Krishna killing the horrified Kaliya Kalinga Sarpa
(serpent), who lived in Jamuna river.
• Samudra Manthana- The ocean was churned by Devas (Gods) and
Asuras (Demons) using a serpent, Vasuki as rope and mountain
Meru as the churning rod. Both nectar and poison were the
products of Samudra Manthana. However, many more things
emerged out of the ocean due to the vigorous elaborate churning.
And this scene of Samudra Manthana has been taken as a motif for
embroidery of rumal and wall hanging.
• Since, this being an elaborate scene, the motif is divided into several
panels embroidered individually and later joined all of them
Rukmini Harana- The elopement of Rukmini and her marriage is the
zist of the theme. It is an elaborate theme, embroidered on rumal
depicting the various ceremonial activities performed on one part
and preparation of Rukmini’s wedding on the other.
• The scene exhibits, Rukmini grooming and decking up for her
wedding, women engaged in various activities, musicians playing
music, sahelis of Rukmini busy in carrying out various chores,
Rukmini praying, Lord Krishna taking Rukmini in his chariot, couple
sitting in front of the vedi, the place where marriage rites performed,
Priest enchanting the mantras and performing marriage rites, Barat,
the procession of marriage, involving royal animals like, saddled
horse, elephants, drum beaters, musicians playing Ransingha and so
• Battle of Kurukshetra- Many themes of the Mahabharata is
chosen for the embroidery. The most commonly found ones are
the battle of Kurukshetra and exile of the Pandavas.
• This battle is elaborately depicted on a five feet wide and one
and a half feet long panel of base material.
• Pandavas occupy the left hand side of the panel along with Lord
Krishna on his chariot, Kaoravas on the right hand side and
Abhimanyu is placed in centre of the panel, showing the picture
of being caught in the Chakravihu
• Raga Ragini- Raga, the tune of song and Ragini, the mode of song
expressing the base for songs sung in a minimum of six version. The
Pahari painters were greatly influenced by the Vaishnavas, during
eighteenth and nineteenth centuries and adopted Ragmala (Sangeet
Mala) theme. The popular Raga Ragini themes are Raga megha, Raga
hindola, Raga vasanta, Raga Todi, Rag bhairavi and soon.
• The themes expressed the mode, mood, time, day, season, month
during which the particular Raga is being sung.
• Ashtanayika- It expresses various moods and personality of Nayik
and Nayika, presented in panelled embroidery. Ashta means eight,
i.e. the composite theme represents around eight panels of Nayik and
nayika, in their variegated moods.
• Minjar mela jalus- Minjar the tassels, Mela the fair and Jalus the
procession depicts the procession during Mela. Mela is a very
famous festival of Chamba, where the people sacrifice Minja in the
river Ravi, to drive away the evil sprits and pray for their prosperity.
• The Gujjar theme- The Muslim Gujjar women usually carried out
embroidery locally, taking all the motifs from nature except, human
and bird figures. However, it has the resemblance of Phulkari of
•The traditional folk art of Bengal is famous as Kantha which
means 'Patched Cloth‘.
•Kantha on Sanskrit means rags.
•Kantha evolved out of necessity to drape or protect against cold
and the special significance of kantha is quilling.
•Kanthas were produced in Hugli, Patna, and Satagon, faridpur,
Khulna & other parts of East & West Bengal.
•The Dacca muslin saris of gray, black or white colours are one
of the most artistic and beautiful specimens of Handloom textiles
were considered as very valuable by the women folk of Bengal.
There are two types of embroideries.
•In the first type, the old and discarded cotton saris or
dhotis were piled up on the top of each other, quilted and
•And the other type was quilted by using the discarded
cotton bed spreads and the pictorial embroidery was done
with Tussar silk threads.
•Kantha is an indigenous household craft, made the rural
women in West Bengal; it is a specialty of Bolpur-Santiniketan
and remains also the most creative of all embroidery styles in
this part of India.
•The use of kantha is popular in saris but any garment or cloth
with kantha embroidery (having a border of decorative running
stitch motifs) may be called a kantha garment. In the best
examples, the entire cloth is covered with running stitches,
employing beautiful motifs of flowers, animals birds and
geometrical shapes, as well as themes from everyday activities.
•The stitching on the cloth gives it a slight wrinkled, wavy effect.
• There are several legends that are associated with the origin of
this art form.
• It is said that in the past, the precious clothes that were torn
out were piled in layers and stitched by the women.
• Another legend relates `kantha` origin to Lord Buddha and his
disciples because they used the thrown away rags to cover
themselves. They used to stitch those thrown away.
• Kantha also means throat. The name Nilakanth is given to Lord
Shiva, literally meaning, “blue throat” after he swallowed the
poison that arose as a result of the churning of the ocean, It is
also known as the “Throat charka”.
• The origin of Kantha traces its history to a period not less than
a thousand years. Its images reach back to even earlier
sources, pre and post- Vedic.
• Some symbols such as the tree of life, the swirling cosmos, and
the sun are taken from the primitive art.
• The later influence of Hinduism, in the making of Kanthas for
religious ceremonies, pujas, weddings and births, gave the art
its place as a vehicle of significant cultural meaning.
• The earliest mention of Bengal Kantha is found in the book, “Sri
Chaitanya Charitamrita”, by Krishnadas Kaviraj which was
written some five hundred years back.
• There the poet says, Sachi, the mother of Chaitanya, sent a
homemade Kantha to her son at Puri through some pilgrims.
• The same Kantha still can be viewed in Gambhira, at Puri,
displayed in a glass case.
• The second earliest reference is in Zaman’s book about the
famous artist A. Tagore. Who seemed to have encountered a
woman in a village in a district of Srihatta of Bangladesh, who
recorded her life story in her Kantha spanning a period starting
from her marriage to old age.
• Bengal Kantha making is a little different from other
quilting artistry. The material is different as well as the
stitching method. From a very long time, Bengal cotton
and silk have been known in the world market for its
finesse and quality.
• Bengal Kantha makers reflect their traditions in choosing
their designs. The real value of Kantha embroidery lies in
its fine craftsmanship and vignette of daily folk life motifs
being a favorite of the embroiderers.
Lotus motif: represents the life-giving power of water, and
is also associated with the sun for the opening and closing
of the petals. It is also the symbol of the recreating power
of life. The lotus is associated with purity and the goddess
Laksmi, the goddess of good fortune and abundance.
Solar motif: symbolizes the life giving power of the sun.
The sun is associated with the fire which plays a significant
part in Hindu rites, both religious and matrimonial.
Moon motif: has a religious influence, and is popular
amongst the Muslims. Mostly it is in the form of a crescent
moon accompanied by a star.
Wheel motif: is a common symbol in Indian art, both
Hindu and Buddhist. It is the symbol of order. The wheel
also represents the world.
Tree of Life motif: Contemporary Kantha (used as a
wall hanging) with animal, fish, butterfly, tree and
human figure motif. Indus people conceived the papal
as the Tree of Life...with the devata inside embodying
the power of fecundity. Pipal is sacred to the Buddha
because he received enlightenment under its shade.
Swastika motif: It is symbol of good fortune. The
symbolic design has significant influence in Hinduism,
Buddhism, and Jainism.
Kalka motif or paisley motif :originated in Persia and
Kashmir and has become an integral image of the sub
continental decorative motif. It can be compared with
a stylized leaf, mango or flame. Similar motifs can be
found in traditional Kashmiri Shawls.
Fabrics and Stitches used
• Fabric on which the kantha is done are usually muted as the old
fabrics are already underwent various washings. The threads
used for embroidery were usually drawn from the colorful
borders of the discarded saris mainly White, red, green, yellow,
black and blues in colour.
• Cotton threads are usually used for embroidery.
• The stitches used in kantha embroidery are: running, darning,
satin and loop. Stem stitch is also used to outline the figures.
• The Lep is a thickly quilted warm wraparound for the
winter, about six feet by four feet in size. It is presented
at festive occasion to a near relative, for being worn as a
wrap in winter.
• The large and rectangular Soozni or blanket, used on
ceremonial occasions, is generally six feet by three feet.
• The Baytan is a wrapper for books and valuable articles,
about three feet by three feet square and with white
borders of rows of animal and human figures; the centre
and four corners are also embroidered.
• The Oar is a rectangular pillowcase with simple
decorative motifs like a series of straights lines or
conventionalized trees and birds; a border is sewn round,
the four edges as extra decoration.
Some Kantha are large and thickly quilted for keeping
books and valuables or mirrors and combs wrapped.
Sometimes Kantha are made as bedspread on which
honored guests may take their seats.
• Archilata kantha: small, rectangular covers for mirror or
toilet accessories with wide , colorful borders in assorted
• Rumal kantha: are used as absorbent wipes or plate
coverings. They also feature a central sun with ornamented
• Durjani/Thalia kantha: small rectangles with a central lotus
design and embroidered borders. Three corners of the
rectangle are folded inward to form a wallet.
The special significance of the Kantha quilt is not only in its
artistic elegance but its vivid narration of legends and tales
of heroism. They are made with such fineness and dexterity
that no one would feel that it is quilting.6/11/2017
• Phulkari, a rural tradition of handmade embroidery,
literally meaning " flower work”, was perpetuated by the
women of Punjab (North-west India & Pakistan)
• Techniques and patterns were not documented but
transmitted by word of mouth. Hence, each regional group
was identifiable by its unique embroidery.
• The word phulkari usually indicates the shawl that was
loomed and embroidered to cover women's heads or to be
displayed in a gurudwara (Sikh temple).
• Phulkari embroidery belongs to Punjab state.
• Phulkari is comprised of two words ‘Phul’ and ‘kari’ meaning
flower and work.
• In other words Phulkari means flower craft, floral work or
flowering and Bagh means garden, in which the entire surface of
the shawl is decorated with floral designs. In this style the
embroidery covered every inch of the entire base material so that
the cloth was completely invisible.
• The term Phulkari is commonly used in East Punjab (Amritsar)
and the term bagh for similar shawls in West Punjab (Peshawar,
Sialkot and Rawalpindi).
• Phulkari is an integral part of the life of Punjabi girl. Each of the
important ceremonies connected with marriage is associated with
wearing of a Bagh.
• It is considered to be auspicious, a symbol of happiness, prosperity
and ‘suhag’ of a married woman. The maternal grand mother or
mother took pride in embroidering chope.
• A Bagh or Phulkari, therefore is not only a beautiful traditional art
but a symbol of maternal love and faith expressed in embroidery
• Traditionally Phulkari embroidery was meant for large pieces
such as chaddars and bed covers. Now-a-days the younger
generation is using the old Phulkari chaddars for kurtas, skirts
and other attractive garments.
• Today Phulkari work is also done on cushion covers, bolster
covers, sarees etc.
• This embroidery is practiced by womenfolk only. The men are
not involved in this craft in any way.
• It is worked entirely on the wrong side of the cloth and the
design is neither drawn nor traced.
• The embroiderer plots out the most artistic designs simply by
counting the treads from the back while the pattern takes
shape on the right side, usually the base is entirely covered
• Embroidery work was invariably made on a plain cotton fabric
(khaddar) which is manually spun, woven and dyed with natural
pigments. Its quality was evaluated according to the fineness.
There are three types of hand woven fabrics used for Phulkari
1. Khaddar- a loosely spun and coarsely woven fabric
2. Chaunsa khaddar- a fabric woven with fine yarn, on which
Baghs were embroidered
3. Halwan- a light weight finely woven fabric. It was popular in
Hazara and Rawalpindi districts of west Punjab and is used
exclusively for Phulkari.
• Khaddar could be of four colours:-White , Red, Black, Blue
• white being given to mature women or widows while red
was associated with youth and was by far the most
• Black and blue colours were kept for everyday worn shawls
as they prevented from revealing stains and dirt. and
regularity of its surface.
• The complete khaddar was always made of two or three
stripes which were approximately 50 cm wide.
• Depending on the region, these stripes were sewed before or
after the embroidery work.
• The embroidery was made on the wrong side of the khaddar
with a thread of floss silk called pat.
• Pat was red-colored to symbolize passion
• White for purity,
• Golden or yellow for desire and abundance,
• Green for nature and fertility
• Blue for serenity.
• Purple for a symbiosis between red's energy and blue's calm.
• Orange for a mix of desire and divine energy.
• Apart from silk, cotton thread is also sometimes used on white
cotton material. However, woollen yarn is employed for handwork
in some parts of Punjab.
• Now a day’s rayon floss, cotton and blended threads are also used.
• Golden yellow, green, white, crimson red and orange are the five
colours commonly used in Phulkari.
• Blue, pink etc, were also used
• The motifs are made up of horizontal, vertical and diagonal
stitches, producing geometrical pattern in Phulkari designs
while the bagh has an overall geometrically floral pattern.
• The basic geometrical shapes in Phulkari are- triangle, square,
rectangle, vertical and horizontal lines.
• All the motifs were inspired from the things used in day today
• Floral motif- lotus, sunflower, cotton
• Fruits- orange, muskmelon, mango, pomegranate, pear, dates
• Domestic and royal animals- cow, buffalo, donkey, camel, goat,
rabbit, pig, horse, elephant, cat, rat, frog, tortoise
Wheat design on a bagh from west Punjab
• Birds- hen, sparrow, crow, chicken, pigeon, owl
• Household articles- various types of utensils, brass urn, pitcher
• Domestic activities- churning curds, pounding wheat or corn, spinning
• Bagh motifs inspired by vegetables: Karela Bagh, Gobhi Bagh, Dhaniya
Bagh, Kakri Bagh and Mirchi Bagh
• Bagh motifs based on the famed gardens: Char Bagh, Shalimar and
• Bagh motifs based on the no. of colours: Satrangas are seven-coloured
motifs and panchrangas are five-coloured motifs
• The most common and beautiful motifs: the wheat and barley stalks that
grow all over Punjab.
• For the embroidery, only a single strand was used at a time, each
part worked in one color.
• The design was embroidered from the reverse side using long and
short darning stitch over counted threads. The quality of the
phulkari depends upon the size of the stitch. The smaller the stitch,
the finer the embroidery.
• Satin stitch is used on Phulkari borders
• Blanket stitch or buttonhole stitch for finishing off the edges
• Stem stitch, chain stitch and double running stitch were used for
outlining the borders and marking the areas.
• Herring bone stitch- is used to cover expertly the joints of the base
Expensive phulkari with flowers
embroidered in “Darning stitch”
Low cost phulkari with flower
embroidered in “cluster stitch”
• Phulkari, Bagh and Chope are the three types of embroidery which
are grouped according to the craftsmanship.
• Phulkari have the patterns at intervals over the cloth; Bagh have
over all inter connected designs and were geometrically
• In Phulkari the ornamentation is dispersed mostly diapered with
large areas of field colour i.e. the pattern is diapered at intervals
over the cloth whereas in the Bagh, the whole field is covered with
pat or silk floss and not even a thread of the base fabric is visible
with beautiful colours.
• The designs on the Phulkari are more or less floral in character
with a few geometrical patterns in some whereas in the Bagh the
whole surface is decorated with a connected pattern, chiefly on
two shades with geometrical and diapering designs.
• Chope is little longer than the usual shawl, where body and the
edges along the selvedge were embroidered
Bagh- means “garden of flowers”, and the term
distinguishes the flowered Phulkari is that the
embroidery is so profuse that the ground colour
is no longer visible thus the embroidery
becomes the fabric itself.
Chope- Chope is usually embroidered on the
borders. It is gifted to the bride by her
grandmother during some ceremony before
wedding. The “Chope” is embroidered straight
with two sided line stitch which appears same
on both the side. Unlike Phulkari and Bagh
where a variety of colours are used, Chope is
generally embroidered with one colour (Golden
or yellowish golden mostly).
A “chope” phulkari on red khaddar,
probably after embroidery piece got
A “chope” phulkari on beige
khaddar, probably before the
embroidered piece got dyed.
• There are many types of Phulkaris. The motifs and designs are
different from place to place. They may be grouped as follows:
• Chope- A precious red coloured Phulkari, prepared and presented by
the maternal grandmother of the bride at her wedding function. The
triangular designs are embroidered on the border with golden yellow
pat by double running stitch, which appears identical on either sides
of the cloth. However, a small Nazar buti is embroidered in one
corner of the chope to keep off the evil eye.
• The chope is draped around the bride at the time of ‘Chura
Charana’, a ceremony when the bride wears red ivory bangles
presented by her maternal uncle
• Suber- It is also a rich, gorgeous, red coloured Phulkari worn by the
bride, during her wedding at the time of ‘Pheras’, presented to the
bride by her maternal relations during the marriage ceremony.
• The colour of base material is same as that of chope, the area
embroidered varied. Suber has a central and four corner designs
where the centre has a group of five motifs and similar ones repeated
at the corner.
• Tilpatra- The term tilpatra consists of two words ‘til’ meaning sesame
seeds and ‘patra’ meaning sprinkled. In other words, tilpatra literally
means dotted with sesame seed design.
• This shawl is made of an inferior and inexpensive khaddar and is
scarcely embroidered with small tiny dots in the body and pallav
using far apart stitches.
• It is usually presented to the maids as part of traditional custom to
servants during marriage and on auspicious occasions.
Nilak- It is a Phulkari of blue colour. Nilak is usually worked on
blue khaddar but sometimes done on black also.
• The embroidery is done with yellow and crimson pat threads
exhibiting attractive contrast colour combinations.
• The motifs commonly embroidered are the articles used at
household like comb, fan, umbrella or rumal and flowers.
• Popular among the peasant women.
• Shishedar Phulkari- This phulkari is done on either red or
brown background. The diapered designs along with mirror is
inserted on body of the articles. This phulkari was the specialty
of south-eastern Punjab that now comes in Haryana state.
• It is however becoming rare and extinct.
• Thirma- Phulkari on white khadddar. It is an
important treasure of Hindu women that
was presented by bride’s family during her
• The number of Thirma presented used to
form basis for the prosperity, status,
standard of living of the bride’s family.
• The two main characteristics of Thirma are-
1. Two vertical bands on either sides
separated by a row of herringbone stitch
with green floss
2. The embroidery on the pallu.
• Floral and geometrical designs were
embroidered with red, green, blue or purple
• This work is popular in rawalpindi,
Peshawar, Hazara of Punjab district which
now come under the jurisdiction of Pakistan
A RED “THIRMA” (ON WHITE KHADDER)
BAGH FROM WEST PUNJAB
Types of bagh
• Kaudi bagh: Among their patterns, these bagh
include chains of Kaudi phulkari small white
squares representing stylized cowries. From
another point of view, the shape of these shells can
remind of female genitals and make them become
symbols of fertility. Kaudi phulkari were often
worn by women wanting to increase their chance
to become pregnant.
• Panchranga bagh: Meaning "Five colors", this bagh
is decorated with chevrons of five different colors.
• Satranga bagh: In The same way, similar pieces like
satranga ("Seven colors") bagh are also available.
Meenakari bagh or Ikka bagh
This bagh, often made of gold and white coloured pat, is decorated
with small multicolored lozenges referring to enamel work
(meenakari) or to "diamond" playing cards suit.
Vari da bagh: In west Punjab, following the
birth of a boy, it was customary, to begin a
vari da bagh. The newborns grandmother
would place the first stitch on the
embroidery. This bagh would later be
handed to the boys bride on their wedding
day. Worked in yellow/gold yarn on a red
ground, the colours symbolize luck and
fertility. The whole surface is covered with
diamonds, each enclosing a smaller diamond.
In good pieces three sizes of concentric
diamond are found, the smallest again
divided into quarters.
• Bawan bagh: The bawan bagh is very rare as
only a few women were able to fashion this
type. Bawan means the number 52; in these
pieces we usually find 52different patterns.
The field is subdivided into 42 or 48
rectangles, each containing a different multi
coloured motif. The remaining four or ten
motifs are placed in the side or end borders.
• Surajmujkhi bagh: the sunflower, refers to the
main pattern of this phulkari. This type of
phulkari is unique as it is the only one that
mixes in comparable proportions Holbein
stitch (used to make chope phulkari) and the
regular darning stitch.
•Darshana Dwar or Darwaza- This
Phulkari is a presentation (the Bhent) to
some of the religious institutions offered
during certain ceremonial functions/which
was presented to temples on the fulfillment
of a wish.
•It is draped over the entrance gate of
religious institutions from where people
enter to have the Darshan of their deity or
to adorn the walls of the home when the
Guru Granth Sahib (holy book of the Sikhs)
is brought to a house. The theme is a
•Sainchi Phulkari- Folk embroidery of
Malwa region of Punjab where the
motifs are being traced, outlined before
•It is done on plain red or black
khaddar used as veil or wrapper, for
daily wear, is known as Salu or Saloo.
•The motifs depict the various activities
of rural life, different household
activities, daily chores of a housewife
and other such incidents (various
Influence of kutch embroidery on punjab phulkari
Mirror work of kutch and khatiyawar is also like
phulkari work done on silk or sattern material for
making shirts .In this kutch embroidery the motifs are
elephant, peacock, parrot alone with floral border most
of the embroidery is done with chain stitch and
herringbone the northern part of sindh is influenced by
kutch and Kathiawar, therefore it is a mixture of
Punjab and kutch embroidery.
• Kathiawar being in the vicinity of Kutch, Sind and Punjab, a
combination of these embroideries is noticed in Kathiawar
• The embroideries of Sindh, Kutch and Kathiawar are very
similar and almost identical.
• Kutch embroidery was practiced from the sixteenth and
seventeenth century in Patan, a little town in the state of
• It is believed that this art was taught to the Mochi’s by a
muslim who came from Sindh.
• The embroidery is colorful, elaborate and lavishly done on the
choli and the Ghaghara (chaniya) which is the traditional
costume of the women of Kathiawar.
• Little mirrors are also used.
• Kathiawar embroidery is generally done on 'natis' or children's
caps ending in a square flap at the back, Torans (panel over the
doors), Chaklas (square piecs), Chandrawas (rectangular pieces)
• Chaklas cover furniture pieces and Chandrawas are as wall as
Stitches and Colors used
• The stitches used in the embroidery of Sindh, Kutch and Kathiawar are
chain stitch, herringbone, interlacing stitch, darning stitch and
• Chain stitch is usually done in white or any other color, interlacing
stitch is done with indigo, blue, crimson, red, green, yellow.
• Mirror work is done with red, green, yellow predominantly, but other
colors could also be used. Herringbone is typically done in indigo, blue,
crimson and yellow, but not limited to those, other colors could also be
Distinct styles in Kathiawar embroidery
• Heer Bharat
• Abhla Bharat
• Chain stitch embroidery of Bhavnagar stitch
• Applique work
• Moti Bharat (bead work).
• it is done in untwisted silk thread (floss) which is called
'Heer’ in Gujarat. 'Bharat' means embroidery in Gujarat.
• It is also known as 'Banni embroidery‘refers to a kind of
embroidery done by people belonging to the Banni
community in Kutch, Here long stitches almost an inch in
length are used. The embroidery resembles phulkari of
•The designs are geometrical and combinations of squares,
rectangles or triangles covering the entire surface of the material.
• The prominent colour used in this is crimson red.
•According to Jasleen Dhamija, "generally embroidery is prepared
on a deep blue, background. Though the dominant colour is
crimson red it is picked up in places, with a touch of black and off
white silken thread. Yellow and green colours are rarely used.
•To emphasise the pattern the centre of the motif is picked up with
an abhla (mirror) stitched on with button hole stitch.”
• In this mirror are used. Button hole stitch is used to fix the
• The design is drawn leaving a circle for the portion where
the mirror has to be attached.
• The remaining embroidery is done with stem or herring bone
stitches with silk thread.
• The colours used are red, green, indigo blue and pink.
• Motifs are flowers, creepers and sometimes rows of mirmrs
are worked to form a pattern. This is done on ghagaras, toran,
chakla, and Chandarwa.
• This is a distinctive style of embroidery of Bhavnagar.
• This is done in White chain stitches. Sometimes other
colours are used with white to give a bold appearance.
• Mirrors are used to emphasize a face or a hand or the
rising sun. Designs are a girl holding a flower, a boy
holding a kite, a man riding a horse, a palanquin carry a
• This is known as the interlacing stitch. This has nothing to do with the
texture of the fabric but springs from the ingenuity of the needle woman.
This interlacing stitch is practiced in Sindh, Kutch and Kathiawar.
• In this stitch, with the use of long threads stitched into the base of the
cloth, the basic structure is built. Then looping of the threads around the
entire structure of the stitch is worked. The designs are chiefly chequers ,
chevrons, lozenges, discs. Sometimes these designs are shaped to form
birds, six petaled flowers and discs.
• According to Jasleen Dhamija," this stitch was prevalent in Germany. One
wonders whether this stitch was introduced into India or whether Indian
embroiderers introduced it into Germany.”
•It is an integral part of the decorative needle work of
Gujarat, but it has however a distinctive style of its own.
•Left over pieces of any type of fabric patterned, printed or
plain, are cut out and stitched together to create an effect.
•Applique work is never done on garment but only on toran,
chakla, chandarwan or the saddle of the horse. The motifs
are worked and then stitched to a white background.
•In this embroidery, Coloured beads to form the design are used.
• Designs are prepared by creating a surface in itself. The background
colour of the beads white and the patterns are woven in colours such as
green, red, yellow and purple.
•The motifs are the same as those of the embroidery such as parrots,
elephant with a haudah, the camel with a rider, warrior on horseback,
• This work is not done on the of fabric. The opaque white beads
form the base on which the transparent beads are worked by
stringing them together in various shapes and forms of birds,
animals, human figures and other articles of day to day life.
• Traditionally blue, green yellow and red colored beads were
commonly used. Now wide range of coloured beads is available.
• Stylized human figures, geometrical designs, glimpses of daily life,
horse and camel riders, elephant with haudha, horse with carriage,
the famous love legend of local hero Dhola and his lover Maru are
the designs repeatedly used. Various articles like, Purse, cap, toran.
play articles, cradle decoration, showpieces are prepared by Moti
• Manipur is a state in northern India, and has unique
embroidery of its own.
• The women of Manipur do fine and delicate embroidery.
• The embroidery is usually done on the border of the
phaneyk which is worn by women like a sarong. The
phaneyk is a woven piece of fabric in dark stripes against a
light background. It is woven by the women themselves. It
is common to find a loin or pit loom in almost every
household in Manipur.
• The colors most commonly used in embroidery are white,
black, red, green and yellow.
Romanian stitch or couched satin stitch
•The motifs used are butterfly, elephant, cockerel etc.
• Commonly used motif is the “Akyobi” design which is worked in two
shades of red with a bit of black and white. It is a circular design, one
circle joining the other, with each circle being further broken up into
patterns, each with a significant motif and special name.
•The central round motif like a dot is believed to be e bee which flies
around the lotus flower sucking its honey. The four petals on the side
of the dot are known as the ‘moil’ the tenderest part of the lotus bud.
•The half open circular designs are known as the khoi mayek which
means a fishing hook. The W shaped design in the bow. The border is
called the tendwa.
Hijai mayek is embroidered in black and white, and is worn by
widows, elderly women and at funerals. It shows running lines
and circular movements. Other motifs used are battle scenes,
Other fabrics to be embroidered besides the phanek are:
1) Zamphie - war cloth worn by warriors at the time of war,
used by a few people. It was honored by the king.
2) Ningthoupee - kings’ cloth
3) Saijomba - long coat worn by trusted courtiers of the king,
which had special embroidery
4) Phirananba: These are the small flags delicately embroidered
and used by the warriors as plumes on their turbans, each
designated the rank.
5) Kumil or ras shirt