Galerie Ariana

A cushion cover (thakia) from Swat Valley, Pakistan

A cushion cover (thakia) from Swat Valley, Pakistan


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Directory: Vintage Arts: Regional Art: Asian: Indian Subcontinent: Pre 1970: Item # 1072762

Please refer to our stock # SC004 when inquiring.
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Typical of the mountainous Swat valley in northern Pakistan, this cushion cover ("thakia" in Urdu) is distinguished by a purple cotton background embroidered in a bright pink, with yellow and sage highlights. This amazing piece measures 14 1/8 inches x 30 inches (36.1 cm x 76.2 cm). Swati embroidery patterns are traditionally handed down from mother to daughter and these are the typical color contrasts. In Swat, the embroidery is called bagh, meaning flower garden. Elsewhere in Pakistan it is called phulkari, an Urdu word derived from phul, meaning flower. Swati textiles like this one ultimately express a local aesthetic. This piece is embroidered with floss silk in a predominantly geometric pattern, with the space stabilized by two centered diamonds and decorated with borders in perfect symmetry. Swati embroidery patterns are typically dense and tightly constructed, breaking up the surface plane as no other Pakistani folk tradition does. These pillow covers are traditionally made for weddings. There are button closures on the end opening and four tassles at each corner. The condition of the textile is excellent. Circa second half of 20th century.