The Embroidered Textiles of Punjab from the Jill and Sheldon Bonovitz Collection
Imprint: Yale University Press
Exquisite and labor-intensive, phulkari (“floral-work” or “flower-craft”) embroideries were originally produced by women in towns and villages across the greater Punjab, a region that today straddles Pakistan and India, from at least the early 19th century into the first decades of the 20th. Phulkaris were made from brightly colored silk thread on rough, earth-toned fabric. When done for domestic use, they functioned primarily as women’s wraps at weddings or other important events. Especially following the Punjab’s devastating partition in 1947, phulkaris were also produced as commercial exports. Focusing on a group of nineteen stunning works from the collection of Jill and Sheldon Bonovitz, Phulkari surveys the genre’s fascinating history. This is the first publication outside South Asia specifically on this art form. It also offers significant new information on the craft and its importance to personal, familial, and regional identity in the past and the present.