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Darshan Dwar Phulkari

Artist/maker unknown, Punjabi

Made in Punjab, eastern Punjab, India, Asia

First half of the 20th century

Handspun cotton plain weave (khaddar) with silk and cotton embroidery in darning, pattern darning, herringbone, cross, buttonhole, stem, Cretan, and double-line/zigzag stitches

7 feet 9 1/2 inches × 52 1/4 inches (237.5 × 132.7 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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In South Asia, the act of honoring or interacting with the divine is known as darshan and this type of phulkari is called a darshan dwar (literally “doorway to the divine”). Oral tradition suggests that devotees may have presented these to gurdwaras (Sikh places of worship), Sufi and Muslim shrines, and Hindu temples, but there is little actual documentation of such practices. Here, figures with pots on their heads stand in and between rows of peak-roofed yellow doorways. Are they worshipers bearing offerings or village women leaving their homes? As in other darshan dwars, partial roofs also peak from above each row of doorways, suggesting additional streets in a town. Even the train cars have peaked yellow roofs.