Banjara Bag thumbnail 1
Not currently on display at the V&A

Banjara Bag

20th century (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

This embroidered cloth would have been folded in at the corners and stitched to form an envelope-shaped bag with a triangular flap, used for transporting and storing bread. This type of bag is known as a 'khalechi' and is made and used by the Banjara people of Central India. Originally transporters of goods for the Mughal armies, the Banjara have maintained an itinerant life-style, and are to be found in several parts of central and southern India. The Banjara women are easily identifiable by their flamboyant dress and heavy jewellery. Household items like this bag were embroidered by them in distinctively striking designs, often covering the whole surface of the piece with colourful, geometric designs. The stitches used are variations of western Florentine stitch, tent-stitch and satin-stitch, and the pieces are also often decorated with pompoms, cowrie-shells and mirrors.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Cotton embroidered with cotton thread
Brief Description
Rectangular banjara bag of embroidered cotton with cotton, probably made in Maharashtra, 20th century
Physical Description
Rectangular banjara bag of cotton cloth for bread (opened out flat). Densely embroidered with cotton yarn in geometric designs in red, yellow, blue and white. In use, it would be folded in at the corners to make a square envelope-shaped bag.



The design is divided into four compartments, two of interlocking diamonds and two of zig zags, all divided by borders of a type of satin stitch in red, blue, yellow, white and brown. The embroidery of the patterned areas is in the same colours but in brick stitch. There are cotton pompoms around the edges and from side to side in both directions.
Dimensions
  • Height: 58cm
  • Width: 63cm
Production
Made by the Banjara people
Subject depicted
Summary
This embroidered cloth would have been folded in at the corners and stitched to form an envelope-shaped bag with a triangular flap, used for transporting and storing bread. This type of bag is known as a 'khalechi' and is made and used by the Banjara people of Central India. Originally transporters of goods for the Mughal armies, the Banjara have maintained an itinerant life-style, and are to be found in several parts of central and southern India. The Banjara women are easily identifiable by their flamboyant dress and heavy jewellery. Household items like this bag were embroidered by them in distinctively striking designs, often covering the whole surface of the piece with colourful, geometric designs. The stitches used are variations of western Florentine stitch, tent-stitch and satin-stitch, and the pieces are also often decorated with pompoms, cowrie-shells and mirrors.
Bibliographic Reference
Indian embroidery / Rosemary Crill ; photography by Richard Davis. London: V&A Publications, 1999 Number: 185177310X, 1851772944 (pbk.)p. 22, cat. no. 135, ill. p. 134
Collection
Accession Number
IS.168-1984

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record createdAugust 9, 2006
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