Phukari in its all forms and kinds
Putting Phulkari through the prism of cultural and historical lens, we are offered a unique window into the lives of people and their tradition of different eras. Phulkari is an expression of an embroider's feelings, hopes and dreams that has no bounds, no limitation. Unconstrained through passage of time, Phulkari has evolved to multiple forms and types and we hereby dare to list a few varieties of Phulkari embroidery that do need special mention.
BAGH: This is the most prominent an all-over embroidered phulkaris, like a floral garden. Bagh literally means “garden of flowers”. The embroidery on this Phulkari is so profuse that the ground color is no longer visible, thus making embroidery the fabric itself.
BAWAN BAGH: This is the special bagh with mosaic of fifty two different patterns that decorate the piece. Bawan bagh is the rarest of all Phulkaris.
DARSHAN DWARS: As the name suggests, Darshan Dwar is the phulkari offered to Gurdwaras and temples after a fulfilment of a wish or some auspicious occasion celebration. The embroidery on Darshan Dwars largely consists of architectural motifs in line with the theme of decorative gate.
SAINCHI PHULKARI: Sainchi is the figurative phulkari that depicted the way of life of bygone times through scenes of routine village life. They required intricate embroidery skills and are given exclusive position among different varieties of Phulkari.
Sanchi Phulkari, 20th Century. Photo Credits: Philadelphia Museum of Arts
THIRMA: They were embroidered on plain white khaddars for elderly women and widows. While white color was used as symbol of purity, pat was chosen in range of bright pink to deep red for esthetical reasons.
VARI-DA-BAGH: 'Vari' is the gift offered to the bride by her in laws. This is the only phulkari that was offered by in-laws in olden times. It is made on an orange reddish khaddar with the main pattern being a group of three four small concentric lozenges (diamond) of growing size.
CHOPE : Chope was presented to a girl by her maternal grandmother on her wedding day. It is a dupatta with embroidery only on the border. It is embroidered straight with two sided line stitch which appears same on both the side. Unlike Phulkari and Bagh where a variety of colors are used, Chope is generally embroidered with one color - Golden or yellowish golden mostly
Chope Phulkari, 20th Century. Photo Credits: Philadelphia Museum of Arts
SURAJMUKHI: Sunflower is the main pattern of this Phulkari and therefore termed as Surajmukhi. It is considered unique from the technical point of view as it has equal proportion of Holbein Stitch and darning stich.
Besides the above mentioned phulkari, we also see kaudi Bagh, Panchranga, Meenakari, Salu and many more as prevalent styles of phulkari in olden times. The varieties in Phulkari are innumerable and cannot be listed in a single blog or article. It is a versatile craft and details that define it make it unique in every single way.