Phulkari (flower work) is purely a domestic art practiced by women from Punjab to embellish shawls that are used as head cover. This kind of embroidered shawl is draped around the bride immediately after the marriage ceremony. Married women wear the bagh phulkari on festive occasions. The present shawl has a wheat motif all over and is meant for covering the head.

The feeling of a bride is very well explained in this traditional Punjabi song – “This phulkari has been embroidered by my dear mother; I affectionately embrace it again and again”.


  • Title: Phulkari Shawl
  • Date Created: 20th century CE
  • Location: India
  • Provenance: Sir Ratan Tata Art Collection
  • Type: Shawl
  • Medium: Cotton with phulkari embroidery
  • Region: Punjab
  • History of Style of Technique: Hassel-free days of childhood end quickly and the spring of life commences with youth. As spring brings colour and fragrance the youth also experiences different emotions in life. This is also a stage when a person enters the world of a householder. Marriage initiates the life of a householder. Textiles associated with this new phase of life gain importance. Every religion, region and community has its own textiles associated with marriage ceremonies. Generally the bride wears either a red or yellow costume as red symbolizes hope and a new beginning and yellow symbolizes happiness as well as knowledge. On leaving her maiden world behind, along with sweet memories the bride takes with her heirloom textiles wrapped with blessings and love of her parents and dear ones. Thus traditional textiles are passed on from generation to generation as a symbol of love and care.
  • Accession Number: 22.3152

Get the app

Explore museums and play with Art Transfer, Pocket Galleries, Art Selfie, and more


Google apps