For Students

Past Exhibitions: 2005

Paisley and Peacocks: Woven and Embroidered Textiles from Kashmir and the Punjab

June 25, 2005–October 16, 2005

This exhibition brings together two very different but equally striking types of traditional textiles from the Indian subcontinent, both of which are rapidly disappearing from the modern world: Kashmiri shawls, woven at the foot of the Himalayas from the finest and softest wools in intricate paisley patterns; and boldly embroidered women's head coverings from the rural villages of the Punjab. Kashmiri shawls, originally once made for Mughal princes, are treasured for their beautiful patterns, warmth, and lightness. By the late eighteenth century their market had expanded to include the fashion-conscious women of Napoleonic France and Georgian England. By contrast, the embroideries textiles of the Punjab, a region that spans northern India and Pakistan, were made by village women for their own use, working in silk floss on rough homespun cotton. Long unknown in the West, tribal textiles such as the Punjabi embroideries are rapidly gaining international attention for their bold colors and designs.

Ford logo
This exhibition is made possible by Ford Motor Company Fund.

Support for the exhibition and related programming has also been provided by the University of Michigan's Center for South Asian Studies and Penny W. Stamps Distinguished Visitors Program at the School of Art & Design, and by Bruce and Mary Paul Stubbs.

Pachranga phulkari shawl (detail)

Pachranga phulkari shawl (detail)
Eastern Punjab, India
First half of 20th century
Three panels of embroidered khaddar (coarse homespun cotton cloth)
Museum purchase made possible by the Margaret Watson Parker Art Collection Fund, 2003/2.57

Shawl with double paisley borders (detail)

Shawl with double paisley borders (detail)
Amritsar or Kashmir
ca 1820s
Acquired in Amritsar
Lent by the University of Michigan Museum of Anthropology, Walter Norman Koelz Collection, no. 17328