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‘Phulkari’, precisely meaning the flower working, is intended to improve the beauty of outfit. It is a work of art, in which precise adornment is done over shawls, dupattas and headscarves, in a simple and sparse design. The vast majority of the ladies in small towns and villages are busy for making amazing Phulkari shawls, dupattas and other garments. However, women loved the task and became experts in Phulkari that made mediocre looking fabrics, look delicate.
In the olden times, Phulkari is worn on weddings and different cheerful occasions and events. This intricate work of art was limited to the household, embroidered by the women and not accessible available to be purchased in the market like nowadays. With time, people started realizing this work of art to be spread across different parts of the country and that is how it became a commercial entity.
The colors prominently used for the floral print were yellow, green, orange, pink and blue. Some of the darn stitches were diagonal, horizontal, and vertical to bring out the various shades in design. The craft serves as a depiction of the complex rural culture and rich heritage of Punjab.
History of Phulkari
‘Phul‘ (flower) and ‘Kari‘ (work) has been an intricate part of Punjabi culture in both India and Pakistan. Phulkari is the first mention in Punjabi tradition of the romantic protagonists Heer and Ranjha. Some scholars feel that the art of Phulkari came from Iran where it is known as “Gulkari”. Some feel it came from Central Asia along with Jat tribes who migrated to India and developed in Punjab, Haryana and Gujarat. There is reference of Phulkari in Vedas, Mahabharat, Guru Granth Sahib and folk songs of Punjab. In its present form, phulkari embroidery has been popular since the 15th century.
Types of Phulkari
Phulkari can be found in different types. There are numerous kinds of phulkari relying on the motifs, explicit attributes, shade of base fabrics and thread. Phulkari embroidery involves designs in floral motifs done in extremely bright colors. It is regarded as very favorable for brides and newborns.
1. Bagh Phulkari
Bagh Phulkari is considered as the grown-up symbol of a Punjabi family. “BAGH” literally means, ‘garden of flower.’ The weaving is done so plentifully, that the base is not even visible. Bagh, which literally means garden, is the most prominent form of Phulkari work. Bagh Phulkari is generally considered as a symbol of marriage and is widely used during exceptional events. Unlike Phulkari, Bagh Phulkari needs additional time, more patience, this is the reason Bagh Phulkari is over the top expensive. Bagh Phulkari came into existence in the second half of the 19th century when people became passionate about Phulkari work.
2. Chope Phulkari
Chope Phulkari is generally embroidered on the borders. The Chope Phulkari is weaved straight with two-sided line stitch that appears same on both the side. Unlike Phulkari and Bagh Phulkari where an assortment of hues are utilized, Chope Phulkari is generally weaved with one shading, golden or yellowish golden mostly. It is gifted to the bride by her grandma during a ceremony before wedding. Chope Phulkari is used to wrap the bride after her ritual bath in the wedding ceremonies. It carries lots of emotional value both for the bride and her grandma.
3. Thirma Phulkari
If the Phulkari was embroidered on a white colored base cloth, it was called “Thirma”. It was a symbol of purity. This Phulkari from the north of Punjab is shared by Hindu and Sikh traditions and is appreciated by collectors. It is recognized by its white khaddar. As a symbol of purity, Thirma Phulkari was often worn by elder women and widows but, at times, this choice of color was also made for aesthetic reasons. Brilliant hues were utilized on this sort of phulkari and the white base shading resembled the layout of the pattern. The pat was generally picked in a scope of bright pink to dark red tones. Cluster stitched flowers and wide triangles covering the forehead, chevron darning stitch surfaces were very common Thirma Phulkari designs.
4. Vari Da Bagh Phulkari
Vari means the garments and adornments articles presented to the bride by the groom’s family. In West Punjab, following the birth of a boy, this type of Phulkari was embroidered by the grandmother. This would be later handed to the boy’s bride on their wedding day. Vari da Bagh Phulkari is always made on an orange-reddish khaddar and except for its border and sometimes a small decoration.
5. Darshan Dwar Phulkari
Another type of Phulkari is the Darshan Dwar Bagh Phulkari, which means The Gate from Which One Sees God. A person embroidered this kind of Bagh Phulkari for presenting oneself at a religious place to thank god after a wish has been fulfilled. It was always embroidered on a red colored base cloth. The pillars and the top of the gate were filled with multi-colored triangles and precious stones. Human figures, plants, animals, birds and flower motifs were commonly utilized for this Phulkari. This particular kind of Phulkari was made in east Punjab, a mostly non-Islamic area that allowed for a broad variety of human and animal representations.
6. Bawan Bagh Phulkari
Bawan means fifty two in Punjabi and refers to the mosaic of fifty-two different patterns that decorates this piece. This Bagh Phulkari has fifty two distinctive geometrical designs. The field is subdivided into 42 or 48 rectangles, each containing a different multi colored motif. The Bawan Bagh Phulkari is very rare as only a few women were able to fashion of this type. Each of these patterns was embroidered with a different design made with bright colors. Professionals show their skill and patience with an embroidered Bawan Bagh Phulkari. It shows the versatile talent and creativity of women.
7. Surajmukhi Phulkari
Surajmujkhi, the sunflower, refers to the main pattern of this phulkari. From a specialized perspective this type of phulkari is a very unique. In this Phulkari, the field was embroidered with enormous sized boxes that were partitioned into nine small parts embroidered with various hues. In the centre of every small box, another small box was embroidered with a white thread and a black or red colored outline. It looked like a geometrical pattern. In this type of phulkari main colors are used such as yellow, reddish-orange, pink and gold.
8. Sanchi Phulkari
However, Sanchi Phulkari is hardly seen these days. In this type of Phulkari, motifs were represented from the rural life of Punjab with embroidery. Scenes of everyday life on Sanchi Phulkari include personal effects, such as adornments and family unit objects. It has representations of human figures, men playing dice games, spinning wheels & village scenes. Also include with a black, dark brown or blue background is symmetrically drawn. Here we often see a pattern of five lotus flowers – a large, vibrant blossom in the centre, the other four in the corners. Circus images with animals and acrobats are common.
9. Kaudi Bagh Phulkari
Among their patterns, these bagh Phulkari include chains of small white squares representing stylized cowries. The shape of these shells can remind of female genitals and make them become symbols of purity.
10. Meenakari Bagh Phulkari
This bagh Phulkari is usually made of gold and white colored pat. It is decorated with small multi colored lozenges referring to enamel work (meenakari) or to diamond shape of the playing cards.
11. Panchranga Bagh Phulkari
Panchranga means Five Colors; this bagh Phulkari is decorated with chevrons of five different colors. In the same way, similar pieces like Satranga, the ‘Seven color Bagh’ are also available. The colors represent Punjab- the Land of Rivers.
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Amritsar is prominent for its phulkari’s. Phulkari dupatta, originally showcasing Punjab culture, mostly used in special occasions like weddings. Phulkari dupattas in vibrant colors enhance your attire and dresses instantly. A variety of characters, forms and designs are scattered and embroidered on a Phulkari. The specialty of Phulkari lies in the control of patterns, hues and the length of stitches. Amongst upper middle class families in Punjab, a bride’s trousseau would contain fifty phulkaris, many of which would be gifts to the groom’s family. This phulkari dupatta is designed with variations from place to place.
On the phulkaris, embroidery of geometrical patterns is mostly done. Women of Punjab wear phulkaris and baghs during marriage festival and other cheerful occasions. In ancient time, women embroidered phulkaris for their own usage and for other members of the family. Thus, it was entirely a domestic art which not only fulfilled their inner thrust for creativity but brought color into day-to-day life.
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The salwar kameez has been the traditional garment in this region for many years which is why there is a tremendous variety of designs and colors available in the Phulkari suit. Phulkari suits designs can be either traditional or modern, depending on the occasion for which they are designed. One can also find more stylish, simple Phulkari suit designs which would be appropriate for office and daily wear. Mostly used colors for phulkari are red, yellow, orange, pink, blue and green. The shades of red color are mainly used for the weddings and auspicious occasions by the ladies. The dark shade of color such as blue, black, brown and even white is used in bagh embroidery which is worn by the aged ladies.
New designs for outfits are being established by several modern designers to reach out to the new segments of customers. Presently, machine-made Phulkari attires are being manufactured in Amritsar and Ludhiana which is affordable for low end customers. Almost twelve Phulkari suits can be made in one day by a machine which all the more lowers the price of the product.
Phulkari work has spread its fabric from Odinis to full-length suits. The time is not far when we will see it being used on curtains as an essential part of the interiors industry. The rural crafts industry could see Phulkari developing as a trend in designing handicrafts and ornaments as well. Explore huge range of branded Phulkari suits online.
The mix of the essence of the style of Punjab, combined with the use of the designs and embroideries in the best way possible, makes the sarees very fashionable and needful. Fine quality georgette sarees with beautiful floral thread work and amazing fine finished borders is attire you can’t miss to wear. Different shades of threads are used in different combinations of stitching styles to create beautiful designs. Great wear for parties, festivals and traditional occasions like weddings. But, you can also wear these phulkari sarees for daily wear as well, as you can easily find phulkari sarees with sober colors too, which looks very simple yet very stylish.
The main feature of phulkari saree is the use of various types of embroidery on the saree body. The stitching that is done on the sarees has a silky feeling due to the thread that is being used, which took design cues from anything around them, including the surrounding scenic beauty. Explore huge range of branded Phulkari saree online.