Rare 19th Century Indian Darshan Dwar Phulkari – Temple Offering
Embroidered Silk on Cotton. 145 x 220 cm (57 x 86 inches)
This is a rare 19th Century Indian Darshan Dwar Phulkari from east Punjab, superbly crafted from embroidered silk on hand-spun loomed cotton. It was acquired from a renowned antique textile dealer in Jaipur in the late 1980s and is in excellent condition for its age. This is the textile we chose as the header for this website.
Darshan Dwar can be translated as “the gate through which God can be seen” and indeed a temple gateway motif is clearly evident in this textile. Unlike other Phulkari (head covers/shawls) Darshan Dwar are not made for a person but for a temple as an offering to thank the gods after a wish has been fulfilled. The use of golden thread symbolizes desire and abundance.
Phulkari ceased to be made by the 1950s and examples such as this are considered important and historic social documents for their record of 19th century village life, and local interests and sights. This sumptuous antique embroidery depicts scenes from the locality and narrates aspects of village life (the actual village is unknown). Motifs include people, animals, birds, plants, jewellery, children’s games, and the trains that had such an impact on rural people in the second half of the 19th century.
This highly collectable, rare, and beautiful antique textile would look wonderful displayed as a wall hanging or drape, or mounted in a frame. But perhaps best of all as a backcloth or dressing for a sacred space …a shrine, meditation area, yoga centre or therapy room.