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Tota Bagh 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, buttonhole, and chain stitches

7 feet 8 3/4 inches × 56 inches (235.6 × 142.2 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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Rather than the usual geometric patterns, this bagh (garden) phulkari displays rows of totas (common ring-neck parrots) alternating with pigeons and other birds. Baghs were the most expensive and labor-intensive type of phulkari to produce, thanks to the solid embroidery that covers their surface, done primarily in costly imported silk thread. Often a woman could afford to buy only a little thread at a time. This resulted in a single bagh having threads from different dye lots, each slightly varying in color. Here the shades of orange-gold on the background add visual richness, but also reveal the artist’s sacrifice of money and time.