The Pahari Embroidery is the sparkle of the Embroiderer's Art over centuries in the land of Himachal Pradesh. undivided Punjab and in Jammu Region. The Region is situated in closer proximity to Himalayas; hence it has been identified as Pahari Embroidery. Although, it is popularly known as Chamba Rumals the art is practiced in the above mentioned regions of India; hence the nomenclature. The art is carried out by masses and classes with great love and passion and hence some of the executions can be compared with the "Miniature Paintings" of the area. It was never supposed to be a commercial embroidery. It is executed on white muslin/khaddar coverlets exquisitely embroidered with silk threads using satin stitch, as the dominating stitch and it covers the themes on Krishna, Rasamandala, Gajantaka Siva, Ganesha, Ramayana scenes, Hanuman, wedding scenes, hunting, geometric design and many more. So the questions which kept us busy in thoughts were why these were known as Chamba Rumal while being practiced in a very large geographical area? It was not a commercial activity but the intensity and dedication to pursue the Art form was very close to the heart. What was the psychology behind it? These were a few basic questions nagging our minds to look at the various aspects of Pahari Embroidery vividly.
Fourteen scholars have contributed to look at different aspects of embroidery of
Western Himalayan Region. Their contributions are on a variety of subjects. The authors who contributed notably are - Mr. Vijay Sharma, Dr. Gagan Sharma, Dr. Anamika Pathak, Dr. Rohini Arora, Dr. Subhasini Aryan, Dr. Anjan Chakraverty, Dr. Toolika Gupta, Dr. Cristin McKnight Seth, Dr. Nita Sen Gupta, Dr. Janki Turaga, Dr. Jasminder Kaur, Late Mr. Kamal Prashad Sharma, Dr. Binoy Kumar Sahay & Ms.. Namrata Dalela.
The book delves into the social and cultural imprints of the Pahari Embroidery and its waning popularity. An 'Art-form' which was fondly an integral part of the family is dying out. This book aims to let people know about this beautiful creation from the western Himalayan region of India and let this Art be its due place in the Indian Art scenario.
Dr Anamika Pathak in her three decades of Curatorial career at National Muscum has Curated three permanent Textile (1996). Wood Carving (2012) Decorative Arts,2013) and temporary exhibitions The Art of Calligraphy and Beyond (2015) 'Rama-Abhirama: The Beauty of Rama in Indian Art and Tradition'.(2017 18). Extensively travelled with several prestigious exhibitions like 'Nizam's Jewels' (Delhi and Hyderabad). 'Alamkara' (Singapore). "The Word is Sacred and Sacred is the Word' (Germany).She is closely associated with several academic and Cultural Institutions of Country. She is actively involved in delivering lectures on various aspects of Indian Art. She has presented Research papers in several National and International Seminars. She has been credited for books ('Pashmina': 'Indian Costume', 'Arts of Calligraphy and beyond': 'Ramayana: the Poetic Expression on Temple hanging' and 'Rama-Hanuman; some selected episode from Ramayana'(in Hindi). along with more than thirty research articles, booklets, portfolio. These have been published in various research journal like Marg. Arts of Asia, INSA Journal, Kala Purattava etc.
Dr Binoy Kumar Sahay, is the Deputy Curator (Numismatics & Epigraphy) and l/c Central Asian Antiquities Collection of National Museum, New Delhi and Nodal Officer for Digitization of National Muscum Collections and "Q.R. Code" (Which is provided in Bronze-Gallary of National Museum). He is working in the Muscum since, 1989.
He accessioned and the got physically verified the entire Central Asian Antiquities Collection of National Muscum. He has participated in a number of National & International Seminars and Published 38 research papers in different Journals. periodicals and Art Volumes. He is an adjunct faculty of National Museum Institute (Deemed University) and guiding Researchers on their topics.
He has worked as Curator in many important exhibitions like:- Nizam's Jewellery. Alchi, Alamkara, Supreme Court of India, Tejas Jewellery Exhibition (at Milan & Rome). On the Nalanda Trail, Exhibition from SAARC countries, Art of Bhutan etc. and for the following Galleries (i.e.) Jewellery, Numismatics and Central Asian Antiquities.
He was recipient of U.K. visiting fellowships in 2003 & 2009 by the Nehru Trust of Indian collection at the Victoria & Albert Museum and of Junior Research Fellowship by U.G.C. in 1988.
White muslin/khaddar coverlets exquisitely embroidered with silk thread with satin stitch, the dominating stitch, are made all over Himachal, undivided Punjab and in Jammu region. It is a matter of investigation why it's popularly known as Chamba rumals? When and how Chamba had taken lead to lend its name to this pictorial embroidery? While being practiced in vast Geographical area of Western Himalayan Region, why it is not named as Pahari Embroidery on the line of Pahari Miniature paintings? From masses to classes the vast range of art is being created with great love and passion, it has never been a commercial embroidery. It's true that Krishna remained one of the most popular subjects, but depiction of Krishna in Rasamandal is not the only subject. These rumals show variety of secular and religious subjects like Gajantaka Siva, Ganesha, Ramayana scenes, Hanuman, wedding scenes, hunting, geometric and many more. There were a few questions for soul searching when we started the journey of looking into vivid aspects of Pahari embroidery. Fourteen scholars have come together to look at different aspects of embroidery of western Himalayan region. Different subjects, its meaning, interpretations, technical study of stitches, exploring its history, folk art and conservation aspects are some of the highlights of the articles.
A brief about the articles written by the authors are as following: Mr Vijay Sharma has given the overall picture of Chamba rumals, the court painters' efforts in taking this Pahari embroidery to the next level, layout the design of rumals and the subject have been dealt in great details while studying vivid religious, secular and folk subjects. Dr Gagan Gambhir has taken a case study of one of the earliest known rumals believed to be embroidered by Bibi Nanki, sister of founder of Sikhism. This rūmals is partially displayed in a Sikh Gurudwara, Gurdaspur. Its line work, composition. motifs, colours etc. has been compared with other Pahari miniature and wall painting by the author. Dr Anamika Pathak has examined the stitches, the nomenclature and expansion of this embroidery in different parts of the country. The three possibilities Chinese, Persian/Turkish and Indian have been explored to understand the origin of this unique embroidery in the region. Dr Rohini Arora has studied the technical study of stitches, base fabric, drawing, technical and decorative characteristics (composition, motif on field, border, edge etc.). By examining hundreds of pieces, she has developed a kind of visual directory, which will work as ready reference for future researches in the field.
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