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Sainchi Phulkari

Artist/maker unknown, Punjabi

Made in Punjab, eastern Punjab, India, Asia
Possibly made in Bhatinda, Punjab, eastern Punjab, India, Asia

20th century

Handspun cotton plain weave (khaddar) with silk, cotton, and wool embroidery in darning, pattern darning, buttonhole, herringbone, running, chain and Cretan stitches

7 feet 5 1/2 inches × 48 1/2 inches (227.3 × 123.2 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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The large trains embroidered on both sides of this sainchi phulkari have engines puffing thick black smoke and cars filled with passengers. The center square may be a train station or a board for playing chaupar (a popular Indian game), or perhaps both. Does the scene reflect the embroiderer’s everyday world or her dreams and imaginings? Trains, for example, were potent symbols of longing, whether for an absent husband, son, or daughter, or for a woman’s own desire for adventure.