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October 28, 2010
The todas, a pastoral tribe who inhabit the Nilgiris or Blue mountain of Tamilnadu are believed to many to be of Greek origin. Toda women embroider the 'poothkulli' or long wrap worn in Greek fashion by both men and women of the tribe. The base material, normally white in colour, is hand woven in single width and the embroidery is done by counting of threads. Wide bands in red and black are woven at the end of the 9 yard long 'poothkulli'. The women embroider in between these bands creating a striking 'pallav'. The embroidery is worked on the reverse of the cloth to produce a rich, embossed effect on the surface. The geometric motifs, merging as they do with the woven bands are often mistaken for woven patterns. The women do not refer to a stitching pattern as we do for creating cross stitch designs. Out of practice, they create the design on the cloth without tracing the pattern or referring to a book. The finished cloth is reversible, in the sense that both sides have a neat design.
- Crafts Council of India