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LAT, Krishna (2013). Phulkari from the Realm of Women’s Creativity: A Tradition of Handmade Embroidery of Punjab and Haryana, New Delhi: Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts. ISBN: 976-81-7305-465-5, hardback, 124pp, fully illustrated in colour, bibliography. Price: Indian Rupee 752.

Phulkaris are a form of embroidery popular for over a century in the Punjab and Haryana regions of the Indian sub-continent. They come in a variety of different forms that reflect when they were made, by whom and for what purposes. Some of the most spectacular are the char bagh or garden phulkari that are made for weddings. In general the embroidery is carried out on the reverse side of the cloth so that it is easier to count the threads of the ground material. This book is a catalogue of various items in the archives of the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts (IGNCA). They were on display in an exhibition at the Centre in 2013. The embroideries range in date from the early 20th century to the present day and include a wide range of phulkari with respect to styles and colours.

Recommendation: This is one of the better books on a particular type of Indian regional embroidery. The introduction provides a variety of information about the history and production of phulkari. The main body of the book is copiously illustrated with a series of different forms of phulkari, each of which is provided with details concerning provenance (date and regional type), the stitches and particular elements of the design. This is both an interesting and useful book!

Gillian Vogelsang-Eastwood, November 2017



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