Phulkari Art – the Vibrancy of Punjab

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Sitting on the charpoys (beds woven with jute strings) pulled into the protective shade of a tree, or ensconced against a wall, women in villages and small towns all over Punjab are often busy creating spectacular flower-embroidery on dupattas, shawls or other garments. Called phulkari in local parlance, the origin of this beautiful art can be traced back to the 15th century AD. The word phulkari literally means flowering. It is a form of craft in which embroidery is done in a simple and sparse design over shawls and dupattas. In some cases where the design is worked over very closely, covering the material entirely, it is called bagh (a garden of flowers).

The embroidery of phulkari and bagh is done in long and short darn stitch, which is created into innumerable designs and patterns. It is the skilful manipulation of this single stitch that lends an interesting and characteristic dimension to this needlework. The threads used were of a silk yarn called pat (Heer). Bright colors were always preferred and among these, golden yellow, red, crimson, orange, green, blue, pink etc, were the popular ones. For the embroidery, only a single strand was used at a time, each part worked in one color. Shading and variation were not done by using various colors of thread. Instead, the effect was obtained by the dexterous use of horizontal, vertical or diagonal stitches. This resulted in giving an illusion of more than one shade when light fell on it and when it was viewed from different angles.

Beginning with geometrical patterns, flowers and leaves, the repertoire of motifs was constantly enlarged. Birds, animals and human figures and objects of everyday use were inducted, along with vegetables, pots, buildings, rivers, the sun and the moon, scenes of village life, and other imagery. Phulkaris and baghs came to be embroidered in a stunning range of exquisite designs. In dhoop chaon, which literally means “sun and shade”, an amazing interactive display of light and shade was created. The designs remained earthy and true to life. There was dhaniya bagh (coriander garden), motia bagh (jasmine garden), satranga bagh (garden of rainbow), leheria bagh (garden of waves) and many other depictions.

Today the most intricate and sought after phulkaris are the sainchi phulkaris, which bring scenes from rural Punjab to life. An incredible wealth of detail is embroidered onto cloth. With time, the phulkaris became closely interwoven with the lives of the women of Punjab.

The joys, sorrows, hopes, dreams and yearnings of the young girls and women who embroidered the phulkaris were often transferred onto cloth. Many folk songs grew out of this expressive combination of skills and intense feelings. So, it is that one hears a young woman, whose betrothed has not sent a promised message to her, murmuring sadly, softly, as she embroiders peacocks on a phulkari. It was not long before phulkari folk songs became a part of the famous, pulsating folk dances of Punjab – the gidda and the bhangra.

The bagh was considered a symbol of marriage and among the wealthy families, sometimes up to fifty-one pieces of various designs were given to the bride. She, in turn, wore them for auspicious and ceremonial occasions. In some parts of Punjab, it was customary to drape the new mother with a bagh on the eleventh day after the birth of the child, when she left the maternity room for the first time.

Phulkaris were also made for religious ceremonies or to be used at other festive times. A phulkari is sanctified to be used as the canopy over the holy book of the Sikhs, the ‘Guru Granth Sahib’. For each different occasion, for each different setting, the versatile fingers and fertile imagination of the women of Punjab designed an impressive selection of phulkaris.

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Artisan Box – For the Month of August

Artisan Box is a subscription box from Luxurion World that features handcrafted goods straight from India.

Each box will include 3 to 5 high quality, exclusive products which highlight a different region of India every month. All items will be handcrafted from sustainable materials and can include home decor, clothing, accessories, original artwork, and more.

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Every Artisan Box purchased helps support local Indian craftsmen, artisans, and small businesses.

The cost:

  • monthly: $49 /mo + free shipping
  • 3 months pre-paid: $138 + free shipping
  • 6 months pre-paid: $252 + free shipping

Coupon code: AB05 – Save 5% off your first box or on anything in the shop.

August’s Artisan Box features 6 products from the state of Gujrat, worth $84 + $15 shipping (USD).

Whats inside the Box:

Handwoven Suf Stole
$25

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Suf is a detailed and painstaking embroidery based on the triangle, which is called a “suf.” Suf is counted on the warp and weft of the cloth in a surface satin. Stitches work form the back. Motifs are never drawn and each artisan imagines her design, and then counts it out in reverse.

Rudraksha
$10

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Rudraksha is a Sanskrit word, which means the one who is capable of looking at and doing everything. It is believed that Rudraksha has the ability to wipe our tears and provide happiness, and is believed to act as a shield against “negative energies”. It can wrapped around your wrist or neck. Rudraksha is a seed produced by Elaeocarpus tree and is used to make organic jewelry.

Kesar Goti Herbal Facial Soap
$1

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This soap contains organic Kesar (saffron), coconut oil, almond oil, and soap base. It’s found to be effective for removing dark spots and acne.

Handcrafted Lacquered Wood Honey Dipper
$10

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This honey dipper is crafted by carving the wood. Once the wood is carved into a product, the artisans apply lac the wood to create a kaleidoscopic colour patterns on it by heat through turning with a hand lathe unique to Vadhas community in Kachchh. The lacquer is coloured with vegetable dyes. There are only a few traditional artisan families continuing the craft.

Ancient Rogan Art
$30

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This unique piece of art is a 400 year old traditional art form with Persian influence, currently on the verge of extinction. It is practiced by The Khatri family from Kutch region of Gujarat. When castor oil is heated over fire for more than twelve hours and cast into cold water, it produces a thick residue called Rogan, which is mixed with natural colours. With a six-inch wooden sticker pen, the craftsperson then draws out from this a fine thread which is painted to the cloth. The intricate details of the design are impressive! This will have to be framed and put on display.

Multipurpose Bag
$8

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To manage plastic waste, Khamir – a Kutch (Gujarat) based NGO has launched an innovative initiative to make new goods from waste plastic. The innovative idea has given employment to a large number of rural people. The waste plastic is collected, cleaned, and segregated by colour and quality. Cleaned plastic is cut into long strips, which are than woven into durable textiles using ancient Pit Loom technology. This bag is very good quality and durable. The inside is lined with fabric and there’s a zipper.

To subscribe for the box click here: http://luxurionworld.com/Subscribe_for_authentic_Indian_artisan_box_specially_curated/August-Month-subscription-box-best-way-to-connect-your-roots.html

The ‘Rogan’ art painting is an ancient art form – over four hundred years old

Indian Prime Minister, Mr. Narendra Modi gifted the extremely rare Indian Art form – ‘Rogan’ art to the US president, Mr. Obama during his visit to the US.

The 400-year-old ‘Rogan’ art is the unique and rare art form practised only by the Khatri family from Kutch region of Gujarat. The word ‘Rogan’ refers to oil based in Persian. ’Rogan’ is the technique of painting on fabric, crafted from thick brightly coloured paint made with castor seed oil.

Castor is a local crop grown in Kutch region of Gujarat and artists most likely sourced it from farmers originally. The ‘Rogan’ paint is prepared by heating castor oil in a vessel, continuously stirring for more than 12 hours until it catches fire. The product so prepared is mixed with cold water when it gets thicken into a sticky elastic residue called ‘Rogan’. The preparer has to be extremely careful to prevent getting it burnt. ‘Rogan’ is then mixed with natural colours for painting. The colours are stored in earthen pots with water to retain their malleable form to enable painting.rogan-art

Artisans place a small amount of this paint paste into their palm. At room temperature, the paint is carefully twisted into motifs and images are drawn with the same using a metal rod that never comes in contact with the fabric. The image is drawn on the one side of the central line of the fabric, which then is folded to create a mirror image on the other side of the fabric. ‘Rogan’ painting is delicate and precisely painted from one’s own creative imagination and is done with total concentration sitting on the floor without using a table-frame or any outline. ‘Rogan’ painted cloth is used for making pillow covers, tablecloths, wall hangings, file folders, decorative pieces and saris.

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‘Rogan’ art is a rare craft that is not well known even in India. Because of its rare qualities, till recently it was practiced by only one family in India and they reside in Nirona village in Gujarat. Most of the other artisans had lost their art as it was not passed on during partition or lost from generation to generation.  However the artisans through various efforts from revival communities have off late successfully revived the craft. While designed used to be more rustic, over time the craft has become more stylized and now is an evolved Art form.

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Rogan Art, Kutch, Gujarat, exclusivity, Handcrafted
400 year old art form- Rogan Art

Rich and Exclusive Art & Craft of India

Art Craft of India
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Cultural heritage is the backbone of any society, which is depicted through the Art & Craft created by the Artisans & Craftsmen of that time. India has a rich cultural heritage, which is admired by the people across the World.

It’s incredible how ancient practices and traditions have continued for hundreds of years. A brief history of India is really a story of continuous traditions which have continued for more than 5000 years.

Guess the Indian Artform by Indian Artisans
Kantha, Pashmina, Mirror work Kutch, Phulkari Punjab- Indian Artform by Indian Artisans

The rich craft heritage of India is unique and diverse as its customs and traditions. Each geographical region of the country has its own unique cultural ethos, which is manifested in the handicrafts of that particular region. Indian crafts and handicraft traditions are influenced by local topography, climate, and socio-religious factors.

These craft traditions have withstood the ravages of time and numerous foreign invasions and continue to flourish till date owing to the assimilative nature of Indian culture and broadmindedness of the craftsmen to accept and use new ideas.

However socially, these craftspeople and artisans come from some of the most disadvantaged communities, with very little opportunities for self development and growth.

With the fast changing trends in the urban market, Indian artisans & craftsmen are able to retain their skill sets needs high applaud from society.

Luxurion world is driven by the strong commitment to take forward the rich heritage of India through our “Artisan Box”. The initiate proudly supports “Make In India” to bring the best from the best to the best !!!…

Cherish the rich heritage of India with “Luxurion World Artisan Box” and extend your support to the Artisans of the country

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