About Phulkari

Phulkari, meaning "flower work," is a traditional form of embroidery from Punjab, a vibrant and culturally rich northwestern state of India. This exquisite needlework is not only about floral patterns; it also includes geometric shapes intertwined with flowers, known as Akari. Rooted deeply in Punjabi culture, Phulkari adorns kurtis, dupattas, stoles, sarees, salwar suits, and juttis, celebrating the region's rich artisanal heritage.

The history of Phulkari is rich and storied, deeply rooted in the rural life of Punjab. It is believed that the art form dates back to the 15th century, though some folklore suggests it could be even older. Traditionally, Phulkari was a domestic art performed by the women of the family. It was an essential part of a girl’s trousseau, handcrafted by the women in her family, each stitch a testament to their hopes and blessings for her future.

Phulkari's rich narrative is woven into the famous love story of Heer and Ranjha by Waris Shah, indicating its deep cultural significance. During the reign of Maharaja Ranjit Singh in the fifteenth century, Phulkari saw a rise in popularity, becoming a staple in religious ceremonies, weddings, and births. The embroidery itself serves as a canvas of a woman's life, depicting the objects and scenes she encounters daily.

Phulkari is typically done on khaddar, a heavy cotton fabric, using a floss silk thread known as pat. The primary stitch employed is the darn stitch, applied in various directions horizontal, vertical, and diagonal. This stitch's intricacy and the size define the quality of the piece the smaller the stitch, the finer the artwork. Occasionally, stitches like the herringbone, running, Holbein, or buttonhole stitch are employed to create distinctive designs or border the khaddar.

Artisans draw inspiration from their environment, crafting motifs that represent vegetables, flowers, and animals, such as the karela bagh (bitter gourd), gobhi bagh (cauliflower), and mor (peacock) designs. Over time, new motifs like Parantha and Kanchan have been developed, enriching the traditional repertoire.

In traditional Punjabi culture, the birth of a girl was often celebrated by starting a Phulkari, which would then be completed in time for her marriage. This practice underscores the deep-rooted cultural significance of Phulkari in Punjabi heritage. It is not merely a form of embroidery but a vibrant expression of identity, creativity, and womanhood in Punjab. As this art form continues to be passed down through generations, it remains a cherished tradition, symbolizing the beauty and resilience of Punjabi culture.

During the partition of India in 1947, Phulkari suffered a decline as the socio-economic structures supporting this craft were disrupted. However, the late 20th century saw a revival, thanks to the efforts of artisans and cultural organizations dedicated to preserving this unique art form.

Today, "The Phulkari Store" continues this tradition by bringing authentic Phulkari dupattas to a global audience, combining traditional craftsmanship with contemporary aesthetics. Each piece you see here is not just a garment but a piece of Punjabi culture, crafted with the same love and devotion that has been its hallmark for centuries.