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  • Place of origin:

    Delhi (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1855-1879 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Cotton, embroidered with silk

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Phulkari ('flower work') was produced in northern India, particularly in the Punjab, where Caspar Purdon Clarke acquired his examples. Designs are embroidered onto evenly woven cotton cloth (khadi, khaddar) usually dyed terracotta red or indigo blue. Narrow strips of cloth are often joined together to make the whole piece. Untwisted soft floss silk (heer, pat) is used, mostly yellow and white, which reflects the light, lending a lustrous appearance to the finished piece. There are different types of phulkari work. Some leave parts of the cloth empty as part of the design. Hindu pieces usually include images of figures and animals; Muslim and Sikh work have geometric designs. In the type known as bagh ('garden', 'ground'), almost the whole surface of the cloth is covered with patterns done in surface darning stitch. Double running stitch was used for other designs, and a variety of additional stitch types added. Phulkari was made for everyday clothes and especially for ceremonial wear at weddings and festivals. Each type has a special name, such as Bagh, Chope, Sainchi, Darshan Dar, Vari da Bagh. Shishadar or sheesh bagh incorporates mirror work.

Physical description

Phulkari textile, head cover, coarse cotton dyed terracotta red, embroidered with floss silks in gold and yellow with pink, green and white. Made of strips of cloth joined. The field is embroidered with a lattice design containing a geometric motif, the ends have a flower and leaf design. Complete piece.

Place of Origin

Delhi (made)


ca. 1855-1879 (made)



Materials and Techniques

Cotton, embroidered with silk

Marks and inscriptions

Lefthand side: 'INDIA-BENGAL/No. 2461/Division. 1 Group. 7 Class. 25/Name of article. Head Covering ornamented/with Silk/Where produced. Delhi/Use.'

Righthand side: 'INDE-BENGALE/No. 2461/Division. 1 Groupe. 7 Class. 25/Nom de l'article/Couverture de Tete/ornée en Soie/Ou produit. Delhi [label adhered on top: 'loan museum']/Usage.'

Printed and handwritten paper label, attached to object.


Length: 248 cm, Width: 127 cm

Object history note

Transferred from India Museum 1879.

Historical context note

Intended for use as a domestic textile, a cover.

Descriptive line

Textile, cover, phulkari, cotton embroidered with floss silk, Delhi, ca. 1855-1867


Cotton; Silk


Woven; Embroidered

Subjects depicted

Flower; Lattice; Leaf


Textiles; Household objects; Parasol Foundation Trust Indian Textiles Cataloguing Project; India Museum


South & South East Asia Collection

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