Author: Aithani, Hemlata
Date published: May 3, 2010
A handkerchief is a handkerchief. But in Chamba town in northern Himachal Pradesh the piece of cloth - called the Chamba 'rumal' (handkerchief) - was actually a silken embroidered tale 'illustrated' by the deft needlework of the noble women of a bygone era. Rescuing the craft from a rather faded past, the Delhi Council of Craft, through its regeneration project, has re-trained artisans and ensured that the quintessential 'do rukhi' (two-sided) double satin stitch is once again part of the contemporary fabric of life and also a source of livelihood for talented women.
* The hallmark of accomplished, noble women, the magic of the 'rumal' came alive when their deft fingers embroidered intricate motifs and patterns - of wild animals, hunting scenes or the Hindu deity Krishna dancing with the milkmaids - on muslin or plain cotton fabric.