Indian embroidered wall hanging
From Sindh, Western India, dated 19th century, possibly belonging to Memon group from Badin, Larh (see similar design in 'Colours of the Indus: Costume and Textiles of Pakistan' by Nasreen Askari and Rosemary Crill, Victoria and Albert Museum, 1998, p25].
This is a very strong visual piece as it is embroidered in red floss silk on a purple silk ground that is shot with red, and with highlights in green, yellow and white silk. The main stitch is the distinctive filling stitch with a ridged border, the play of light on the silk giving depth of colour. This example also uses chain stitch and fly stitch for decorative borders and detail. The inner border of buds is highlighted by the curved tips embroidered in yellow, green and white chain stitch. The design is based on stylised floral motifs taken from desert flowers, reflecting their nomadic an agrarian lifestyles.
It has been constructed from 3 strips seamed together with fairly large running stitch, and a ridged border.
[see 'Indian Embroideries' by John Irwin and Margaret Hall, vol. 11, Calico Museum Catalogue pp 140]
Although the specific provenance of this piece is unknown, embroidered cloths such as this one were usually made as part of a dowry. Girls from this region are encouraged to begin working and accumulating pieces for their dowries from an early age, with such skills being seen in direct proportion to their desirability as wives and mothers. Flower patterns are popular motifs symbolizing fertility and prosperity, making them particularly pertinent as part of a dowry.