embroidery from Nilgiris, Tamilnadu
Killi, Bikkapathy mund, Nilgris
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.
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The finished piece is reversible