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THE PHULKARI- A RICH TRADITION

THE PHULKARI- A RICH TRADITION

Punjab has a rich tradition of weaving and embroidery. Punjabis are known for their exuberance, rich heritage and a vibrant culture.Punjab has a distinct needlework of its own, unmatched by the embroidery of any other place – called phulkari. It is a tough job to develop such fascinating designs with all the minute details and clarity. However, the efficient beautiful fingers of Punjabi women could make it out every time, with an air of ease.Phulkari is a type of embroidery, which the Punjabi women`s undertake to utilize their leisure time. Each house had a loom in the old days and a khhadar was woven, on which women, young girls embroidered this art. The marital status of a girl improved with the number of phulkari’s, she had embroidered! This embroidery requires a lot of skill and time. It is a traditional craft of Punjab and best exemplifies the Punjabi folk art. It is a spectacular design, which is made through horizontal, vertical and diagonal stitches. In Phulkari the whole cloth is covered with intricate embroidery leaving no space untouched. It is the bagh or the garden design. The several types of bagh are shalimarbagh, chandbagh, mirchabagh, duniyabagh, satranga, and panchranga.
The word Phulkari literally means “flower-embroidery”. The art of Phulkari originated in 15th century AD in Punjab, a north Indian state in India. Phulkari is basically created on shawls and dupattas that cover head whereas Bagh is created on the garment that covers the whole body. Phulkari, is a rural tradition of handmade embroidery, which was started by the women of Punjab(North-west India and Pakistan) Even though the work is duplicated with the help of machines. Due to the partition in India and Pakistan, lots of designs were region oriented,so they suddenly disappeared, the migrants took the art with them and there is a period when there has been an alienation but not for long as phulkari was a very important social fabric. The word phulkari usually was meant to be a shawl to cover a woman’s head or to be offered to the gurudwara. This tradition was shared by the Sikhs,hindus and the muslims.

The importance of Phulkari in the life of a sikh:

The chope: Given by the grandmother of the bride, chope is a piece of cloth embroidered on the borders only and is worn as a veil. It is a tradition in Punjabi wedding and worn on anoccasion before marriage.
Ghunghatbagh or sari-pallau: It is usually the pallu and the portion that covers head. The pallu and the head portion contains a triangular embroidered part and rest of the cloth is embroidered on borders only.
BawanBagh: Bawan means fifty two, it is a style that consists of various geometrical designs embroidered on one single piece of cloth. A very rare piece as it takes a long time to make it.
Darshan Dwar: Darshan Dwaris basically embroidered to be presented in the temple or Gurudwara.
Suber: Suber is a piece of cloth that is worn by the bride in the wedding while taking the feras around the Guru Granth Sahib or the sacred fire. The cloth has five motifs embroidered one in center and the other four on each of the corners. There were no borders to protect her from the evil eye.
Satrangi: A seven coloured phulkari
VARI DA BAGH: This was given to the bride by her own family as a dowry and also by her mother-in-law. The bride as she enters her new home had to wear a orange or red phulkari, which covered her well, while receiving the keys of the house.
Darning stitch was used most commonly along with herringbone stitch, running stitch, Holbein stitch or button hole stitch were occasionally used.
KaudiBagh: Cowrie were used as currency,these cowry shells were embroidered to become symbols of fertility. Kaudi phulkari was worn by women who wanted to increase their chances to become pregnant.

The embroidery is very simple and the colour combination, stitches and the pattern makes it look spectacular and gorgeous. It is created on all sorts of cloth and is used in various ways. Today phulkari is not only seen on garments but can also be seen on bed sheets, pillow covers, curtains, wall hangings and kurtas and sarees.

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