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Rajasthan being a colourful country, has a wealth of varied embroideries, each community

practising its own style. In Rajasthan work the Pichwai, a richly embroidered cloth, grew

up around the temple of Srinathji in Nathdwara as Krishna is known there, and was

fostered by it. For it had to meet the religious needs of the temple as also to cater to

the pilgrims who bought Pichwais to offer to the deity to be hung behind the image while

homage was offered, as also to be carried

h~r~ as treasured souvenirs of the deity.

'i'he traditional Pichwai depicts Srinathji with his dark blue face surrounded by his

playmates and cows under trees in full bloom. While the outline is in black the surface is

in colourful embroidery. Sometimes gold thread is also used to heighten the


Pichwais are also made in applique using different materials. Here red cotton

background is usually
Amongst the used,
different a white
groups the cord for the
Jat women of outline andJhunjhuna
Sikar and cream, green, yellow
do lively workand

their cotton skirt borders showing horses, camels, lions, peacocks, simple tree forms, all

juxtaposed together to form definite patterns. Sometimes the outlines of the squares

for the

game Chauser also finds a place in a side of the skirt. The outline is in stem stitch but

the figures are in the herring bone, done in thick thread using a variety of colours.

The Jat women of Bikaner who use thick wooIlen materials for their garments,

embroider their red wraps by counting of threads, in which the pattern is built up closely

following the warp and weft threads that makes it revolve round geometrical patterns,

and because of a double running stitch, it gets the same surface on both sides. The

overall effect is that of a beautiful bandhani. The Meos of Alwar work in chain stitch and

produce rich effects through the clever use of contrasting colours. The strange balancing

of geometrical forms
Often the work is done on satin, velvet or heavy silk to heighten the effect. Some have

bold and large motifs, then the colours are somewhat subdued.
with circular movements of flowing lines gives startling effects as of a horizon broken

into geometrical forms in which is combined a floating tree or a peacock swirling its

plumage. And out of this emerges the ~esign. The body is in golden yellow while the

motifs are in black and white.

. .
" Jaisalmer has outstandingly beautiful embroidery with almost' every variety of

stitches. At times even mirrors are slipped in to produce unusual surfaces. The women

seem to pour a great deal of emotion into their work and tend to decorate every thing

on them and around them. The applique they do is equally ornamental. .

The special item in applique is a spread made by stitching pieces of different coloured

cloth into a decorative pattern for the top of the spread, padded by other pieces of

Theplain material
decoration onsewn together
the horse with running
and camel saddlesstitch. It isacalled
done with ralli.aArare
hook have special feature of

An equally colourful item is the knuckle pad made of leather in Rajasthan on which choice

miniature landscapes and festive scenes as in Rajpur paintings,

are embroidered-here details in group compositions' such as shadings created by falling of

light, or dramatic I effect 'wrought by colour contrasts, are noticeable.

Scenes such as maidens plucking flowers in a garden, a

couple romancing in the moonlight, even swans and ducks sailing or birds picking up food, are

usually made.

Though Sind is no mOre a part of India, the Sindhi

I continues to remain an integral part of present-day Indian embroidery. The,

hundreds and

thousands of Sindhis who have settled in India serve to keep it alive. The darning stitch, the

chain and the interlaced, combine to produce the distinctive Sindhi style. In this the darning

stitch is magnified to reach.