Story of a Dhurrie – Part I

A dhurrie is a flat-weave rug. The charm of the dhurrie lies in the simple treatment of the decorative details, and the principles of symmetry and endless repetition. A particular kind of dhurrie woven in India is called a "punja" dhurrie, deriving its name from the instrument used to tightly pack the weft yarns, a technique which makes the dhurrie strong and long-lasting.

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The pattern in a "punja" dhurrie is created by using weft-faced plain weaving technique, also called tapestry weave, in which the wefts are tightly packed so that the warps are hidden or almost hidden. Tapestry woven rugs are reversible and will look the same on both the sides. The motifs used in a "punja" dhurrie are stylized adaptations of the traditional motifs, in order to make them amenable to the tapestry weaving technique. See the adaptation of elephant motif in the figure below.



Unlike the carpets which were introduced in India from Persia by the Mughal emperor Akbar in 16th century AD, dhurries were being woven in India since 1st – 3rd century AD. A piece of textile fragment excavated from Niya site in East Turkestan is thought to be a cotton rug woven in India. A wooden "punja", excavated from the Niya site is shown below.

Image courtesy, Victoria and Albert Museum.


A dhurrie can be classified based on its design, belonging to categories such as stripes, pictorial, floral, medallion, geometric and prayer. 

Kalavilasa is engaged with weavers in Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan to produce exquisite dhurries, made of cotton as well as wool. Read about them at http://kalavilasa.com

About the author: Kala Vilasa

2 comments to “Story of a Dhurrie – Part I”

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  1. Emelia - September 12, 2014 at 3:45 pm Reply

    I love Dhurries. They were so popular aonurd here in the 80’s and early 90’s and though I don’t see them too often anymore, I’d still love to have one, and was in fact thinking of them just this morning. Lovely post!

  2. Vivek Shrivastava - September 2, 2015 at 2:25 pm Reply

    Hello Emelia,

    Kalavilasa is a producer of cotton and woolen dhurries. We will be happy to produce one for you. Kindly respond to vivek[at]kalavilasa[dot]com.

    Warm regards,
    Vivek

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