Notes on Antique Decor & Ethnic Fashion | Wovensouls Art Gallery

Mystical Banjara Textiles – continued

I do not seek out Banjara textiles … yet when they do come my way, they tend to consume a lot of attention and love.

Here are two cholis or blouses I found recently.


Antique-Banjara-Blouse-TEXTILE-INDIA-5The animal motif is not common.





1. The cholis or the blouses seen earlier are of a totally different style of banjara textiles. These were the first I saw without mirrors or embellishments and embroidered in the style seen on gallaas or patches.

2. The  slubs in the handwoven cotton indicate that the spinning of the yarn was also rough and rustic. Delicious!


3. The more I look, the more I become aware of the details – the white accents created with minimal embroidery along the applique white borders.  c



[bad picture – will replace it soon]

4. Finally a look at the back reveals a strange unfamiliar technique. It is almost as if the stitch has been braided at the back rather than embroidered with a needle – somewhat like the split-ply work done on camel-harnesses in Rajasthan.






Detail of Obverse


This technique seems to be much harder work than the simple cross stitch so why? Maybe because it would add an additional layer? Maybe it is just a quick adaptation of a technique used on larger rougher pieces?

5. Finally, sifting through all the Banjara work there seem to be at least 4 different styles of textile art practiced. Now that the thought has occurred, it will be impossible not to investigate the reasons for these differences. Are these  the creations of different sub-tribes? Or is it that one style is used for one function of textiles? Or is it just a matter of what mood the artist is in when she begins her artwork?

An older note on the same subject:

Mystical Banjara Textiles.


Oct 31, 2014


UPDATE (Nov 2, 2014)

Steve Wallace, a collector [from Adelaide Australia] replied with pictures of pieces from his Banjara collection acquired about 25 years ago.

Both pieces are similar to the one above as they have animals and birds and what’s more – even humans!

One directly from  a Banjara woman and one from the state emporium of Maharashtra state. This gives us a clue that this type of work might represent the work from Banjaras settled in Maharashtra and not further South.

The Choli Blouse:

Banjara-Textile-Steve-Wallace-04                 Peacocks and as Steve suggests – peahens.


The Betel Nut Case:


Banjara-Textile-Steve-Wallace-01A child riding a buffalo?

purse detail 1A temple?

All very interesting motifs. All of the pieces on this page have similar work and are from the same group. But these are altogether different from the other Banjara works seen….

The mystery continues.

jm Nov 2014








By Jaina Mishra

By wovensouls

3 comments on “Mystical Banjara Textiles – continued

  1. stevew2014Steve Wallace
    November 1, 2014

    Lovely pieces. I have a similar animal choli with peacocks. And a purse/betel nut bag with animals/temples depicted. In terms of study, you are probably already aware that Michael Beste has written a study of Banjara embroideries (see his Rugrabbit profile) – but it’s in German which I do not read. Love your blog. Steve

  2. wovensouls
    November 1, 2014

    Thank you Steve, I am aware of Michael’s Banjara collection but have not read his article. Will check it out and see if google will translate for me. Am glad you like the blog!

  3. Ranu
    September 3, 2016

    Amazing work. I chanced upon few pieces of this work at an antique dealer in Cochin..

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