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Sainchi Phulkari

Artist/maker unknown, Punjabi

Made in Punjab, eastern Punjab, India, Asia

Early 20th century

Handspun, handwoven cotton plain weave (khaddar) with silk and cotton embroidery in running, darning, pattern darning, stem/split cross, buttonhole and Cretan stitches

7 feet 5 inches × 49 1/4 inches (226.1 × 125.1 cm)

Curatorial Department:
Costume and Textiles

Object Location:

Currently not on view

Accession Number:

Credit Line:
The Jill and Sheldon Bonovitz Phulkari Collection

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A dramatic background of parallel dashed lines interspersed with diamond-shapes—perhaps representing oversized water droplets—recalls the heavy rains of Punjab’s monsoon season. A parade of paired animals revels in the downpour. At the center of the cloth’s long sides stand large, stylized peacocks, their spiky feathers spread for their monsoon mating ritual. The short sides are dominated by bold diagonal stripes embroidered in dense darning stitches and include rows of additional peacocks and of wheat motifs. The small spot of magenta thread in one of the orange stripes may serve as a nazar butti, an intentional “mistake” created by the embroiderer to help ward off the evil eye.