Ghaghrapat – Skirt Cloth
The red gaji silk (satin silk) skirt cloth or ghaghrapat is embroidered with alternating rows of floral butas and peacocks. There is a floral scroll border. Between the last row of butas and the border is a row of alternating peacocks and putlis (dancing women). Each figure is flanked by a pair of parrots.
This ghaghrapat was probably made by the professional embroiderers of the mochi community. Cobblers by profession, the mochi community had in the distant past begun embroidering leather. The embroidery was done in chain stitch with the help of an ara or awl. The same technique was applied to finer material – silk – with a finer awl called the ari, resulting in fascinatingly intricate chain stitch.
The main motif is usually a buta. In this ghaghrapat the buta is in the form of a flowering shrub with six flowers. The designs were block-printed on to the cloth before the embroidery was begun; thus the butas are uniform throughout except for a strip at the top that has been stitched to the main field. There is a row of blockprinted peacocks untouched by thread at the top of the main field.
This piece shows similarity with the ghaghras in the collection of the Calico Museum, Ahmedabad.
Sir Ratan Tata Art Collection.
Textiles and Costumes of India
Satin silk embroidered with silk thread
Early 20th Century CE
194 x 74.5 cm