Lot 6

Embroidered by Maheshi Devi

Machine-made cotton fabric, hand embroidered with untwisted silk thread, double-sided, natural dyes
27.5 x 27.5 in (70 x 70 cm)

Chamba embroidery is synonymous with large square or rectangular pieces of muslin or cotton, known as rumals, adorned with figures and floral motifs embroidered in multiple colours. They were typically used as covers for offerings to deities or for gifts exchanged at weddings and other festive occasions. Numerous Pahari miniatures depict women carrying trays of offerings to Krishna or Devi covered with such embroidered rumals. At times, they were hung behind idols enshrined in temples.

Religious subjects were frequently featured on these rumals, often drawn from the epics of the Ramayana and Mahabharata. The most popular appear to be depictions of Krishna. Much loved amongst the pastoral communities residing in these parts of Himachal Pradesh, portrayals of Krishna with Radha or the gopis is a recurrent theme.

The present and the following lot, depict interpretations of the Ras Lila. Krishna is the central figure in this rumals, bounded by a circle of delicate pink flowers, an offering to the god. In a circular pattern are five gopis, each paired with her "own" dancing Krishna. Krishna is believed to have had the ability to replicate himself so that each woman thought she was dancing alone with him.

The unique present lot is one of the few known Chamba rumals that can actually be attributed to a maker, Maheshi Devi. She was said to be one of the last embroiderers who actually worked in the Chamba tradition and was skilled at dorukha embroidery. In 1967 she was the first recipient of the National Award for this craft from President Dr. Radhakrishnan. She and her brother often worked together, with him painting the design, and Maheshi Devi doing the embroidery. This is possibly one of the last pieces they created together. Maheshi Devi trained a number of women in the art of dorukha embroidery. Unfortunately, no effort was made to train the painters to draw on the rumals and the art gradually died out.

Jasleen Dhamija acquired the present lot in 1960.

Other similar works in: this auction  |  entire site

  Lot 6 of 82  

19-20 OCTOBER 2016

$4,550 - 6,065
Rs 3,00,000 - 4,00,000

Winning Bid
Rs 4,78,800
(Inclusive of Buyer's Premium)


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