Thirumalayampalayam department of costume design and fashion study material

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Kashmiri Kashida motifs

Phulkari is the most important world famous embroidery textiles from Punjab. Phulkari are analyzed as “Phul”, flower and “Kari”, work that is floral work or flowering. It is a special, traditional handwork mainly found in Gurgaon, Hissar, Rohtak, Kurnal and Delhi. However, in West Punjab this embroidery is famous as “Bagh” means garden, in which the entire surface of the shawl is decorated with floral designs.
Phulkari is an integral part of the life of Punjabi girl. In any function, festival, get- together functions one or the other type of Phulkari or Bagh is invariably used. It is believed to be auspicious, a symbol of happiness, prosperity and Suhag of a married woman. However, it is considered as a great treasure. The rough and coarse base material of Phulkari symbolizes hard and tough yet colourful life of Punjabi women; the rich and glossy work with pat portrays her dreams and aspirations. It can also be added here that, Phulkari adds delicacy, elegance and grace to the heavy personality of Punjabi women
Chaddar, Bagh and Chope are the three types of embroideries, which are grouped according to the craftsmanship. “Chadder”, the shawl having the surface decoration is used by the bride during the “Phera” ceremony that is, when she takes seven rounds of the holy fire. It is always a red coloured khaddar having five flowers centrally arranged and the other four motifs in each corner of the shawl.
Bagh having overall interconnected designs and were geometrically conventionalized. Chope is little longer than usual shawl, where only the edges along the selvedges were embroidered with golden yellow coloured silk floss against red coloured khaddar.
Materials used for Phulkari are:
· Khaddar- a loosely spun and coarsely woven fabric

· Chaunsa khaddar – woven with fine yarn

· Hal wan-Light weight finely woven fabric.
Soft, glossy, untwisted silk thread is employed for the stitching, which is basically supplied from Kashmir, Afghanistan and Bengal, which is called “Pat”. To complete a Phulkari work it requires around 50-100 gms of silk thread.
The darning stitch is the basic unit of Phulkari and the workmanship of both Bagh and Phulkari are graded according to it’s length and density of stitches.
Types of Phulkari
Chope: A precious red coloured Phulkari prepared and presented by the maternal grandmother of the bride at her wedding function. The triangular designs are embroidered with golden yellow pat by double running stitch which appears identical on either sides of the cloth.
Subha: Another rich, gorgeous, red coloured Phulkari work by the bride during her wedding.
Tilpatra: It is scarcely embroidered. Small, tiny embroidered dots in the body, of any inferior and inexpensive khaddar.
Nilak: It is a Phulkari of blue colour. It is worked on black khaddar. The motifs commonly embroidered are the articles used at household like comb, fan, umbrella or rumaal and so on.
Darshana Dwar or Darwaza: This is a presentation of some of the religious institutions offered during ceremonial functions.
Thirma: A Phulkari done on white khaddar.
Sainchi Phulkari: It is the folk embroidery of Malva region of Punjab depicts the true rural life. The motifs depict the various activities of rural life like ploughing, harvesting, a water carrier, and smoking hukka, pounding, grinding, churning, spinning and weaving and so on.

Punjabi Phulkari motifs
The white embroidery on white cotton especially on muslins is known as chikan work. Chikankari is an industry nurtured and developed in Lucknow. Daintiness and delicacy added to a finish and a richness of its own, are the outstanding characteristics of chikankari. It is also famous as shadow work.
Jasleen Dhaniya explains two stories. The princess of Murshidhabad, who was professionally a seamstress and highly skilled in handwork, married to the Nawab. As a token of love and affection the princess embroidered a beautiful head covering and presented it to her Nawab. The Nawab was extremely pleased with the embroidered cap, worked with fine cotton thread on Muslim cloth. The work women of Muslim household stouting rear by were headdress of princess work. Then they began to produce finer and delicate work than that of princess and that’s how the great art of chikankari took birth.
A craft man named Fauz Khan practical chikankari narrated that a farmer used. Mohammed Shair Khan staying rear Luck now offered to a traveler to quench his thirst and permitted him to rest at his residence. The traveler was very much impressed with the hospitality of Mohammed Shair Khan and in turn taught him the art of chikankari. The chikankari belive that the traveler was sent by Almighty of God.

A study of the origin of chikan reveals that this form of embroidery had come to India from Persia with Noor Jehan, the queen of the Mughal Emperor Jehangir. The word chikan is a derivative from the Persian word 'chikaan' meaning drapery. Some, however, insist that the craft migrated from Bengal. What we know is that chikankari came to Oudh when Mughal power declined in Bengal and the artisans moved to the Oudh durbars, seeking employment and patronage.

Chikankari is though done on the white muslin background now is done on fine cotton material like voile, two x two ,cambric, mulmul, chiffon, georgettes, koil cotton, organdy, nets and other similar sheer fabrics.
The motifs are traced prior to embroidery. The designs are prepared and transferred on the cloth with help of wooden blocks with washable colour, by simple stamping technique.

Chikankari is something like unity in diversity i.e.., it includes some simple stitches like satin, back, and stem, buttonhole and herringbone stitch, giving a clustorious effect which is simple, gentle and subtle.


The main flat stitches with their traditional names are:

Taipchi: Running stitch worked on the right side of the fabric. It is occasionally done within parallel rows to fill petals and leaves in a motif, called ghaspatti. Sometimes taipchi is used to make the bel buti all over the fabric. This is the simplest chikan stitch and often serves as a basis for further embellishment. It resembles jamdani and is considered the cheapest and the quickest stitch.

Pechni: Taipchi is sometime used as a base for working other variations and pechni is one of them. Here the taipchi is covered by entwining the thread over it in a regular manner to provide the effect of something like a lever spring and is always done on the right side on the cloth.

Pashni: Taipchi is worked to outline a motif and then covered with minute vertical satin stitches over about two threads and is used for fine finish on the inside of badla.

Bakhia: It is the most common stitch and is often referred to as shadow work. It is of two types:

(a) Ulta Bakhia: The floats lie on the reverse of the fabric underneath the motif. The transparent muslin becomes opaque and provides a beautiful effect of light and shade.

(b) Sidhi Bakhia: Satin stitch with criss-crossing of individual threads. The floats of thread lie on the surface of the fabric. This is used to fill the forms and there is no light or shade effect.

Khatao, khatava or katava is cutwork or applique - more a technique than a stitch.

Gitti: A combination of buttonhole and long satin stitch, usually used to make a wheel-like motif.

Jangira: Chain stitch usually used as outlines in combination with a line of pechni or thick taipchi.

The bolder or knottier stitches include the following:

Murri: A very minute satin stitch in which a knot is formed over already outlined taipchi stitches.

Phanda: It is a smaller shortened form of murri. The knots are spherical and very small, not pear shaped as in murri. This is a difficult stitch and requires very good craftsmanship.

Jaalis: The jaalis or trellises that are created in chikankari are a unique speciality of this craft. The holes are made by manipulation of the needle without cutting or drawing of thread. The threads of the fabric are teased apart to make neat regular holes or jaalis. In other centres where jaalis are done, the threads have to be drawn out. In chikankari, this is not the case. Names of jaali techniques suggest the place where they originated from --- Madrasi jaali or Bengali jaali ---- or possibly the place of demand for that particular jaali. The basic manner in which jaalis are created is by pushing aside wrap and weft threads in a fashion that minute openings are made in the cloth. Shape of openings and the stitches used distinguish one jaali from another.

Chikankari work is done on sari borders, tiny buttas in the body of the sari, blouses, kurtas, cuffs, jubbas, caps, table cloth, table mats, cushions, curtains and other household linens. It is commercialized and had gained the foreign market.

Kairi motif used in Chikankari

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