Splendor of Pahari Embroidery

Craft, Handloom, Art

Splendor of Pahari Embroidery: Documentation of Technique and Decorative Features

Arora, Rohini

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ABSTRACT Since olden times, before 1948, Hill states of Punjab (present day Himachal Pradesh or Pahari states) were well known for tradition of illustrious embroidery on articles made by women in their leisure time with great passion. The embroidery was seen on religious textiles, apparel and other utilitarian household objects. Since the Pahari embroidery was widespread in larger area, different styles of embroidery were discerned yet distinctive in treatments given to each one of them. The most acclaimed were double sided embroidered coverlets and hangings known as dhkanu (square coverlets) or chhabu (circular coverlets) used for covering the ceremonial gifts as well as offerings made both for gods and rulers (Sharma, 2009). However, the other articles were equally fascinating but not much attention was given to their documentation in comparison to embroidered coverlets. The double sided coverlets are still made in Chamba but other styles of Pahari embroidery are no longer practiced. The present research paper focused on documentation of diverse range of stitches, textures and ornamentation used in different styles of Pahari embroidery. The unnoticed facets of the craft were observed in a detailed study of old rumals and articles in collection of various museums across the country as well as networking with the craftspeople in the area of the study. The main characteristics of the craft were identified on basis of styles of Pahari embroidery viz. single sided and double sided which were further categorized as tech...
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