Unknown Needlework…

1/2 of the Runner
Runner spread on my art table

Back months ago, when I bought the Society Silk Needlework piece at the local antiques shop, I also found another that I didn’t’ think I could justify buying. The EO had other ideas and we went back for it the next day.

I would really love some help in identification. It’s an interesting piece. I suspect it came from the same estate as the society silk, as the woman said the house had many many needlework pieces, most of which had been purchased on the owner’s travels through her life.

I’ve been through all my references, and although I can find similarities to this piece in many different locations, I can’t find enough that I can confidently say “this came from this area” or even “this was inspired by this area’s work…” I want to say Pakistan, Afghanistan, somewhere in that area… shisha mirrors, heavy flat silk on orange (faded) cotton…

Any ideas? Documentation sources you want to recommend?

In any case, it’s another very interesting, unique and striking piece, and I’m glad to have it in my slowly growing collection.

Closeups follow:

Filed Under: Uncategorized

8 Responses to Unknown Needlework…

  1. It doesn’t ring any bells, I’m afraid. You might start by searching out the furthest extent of the use of shisha mirrors in traditional embroidery, because that will give you some idea of the area in which to look.

  2. I don’t have a clue to the origin but it is beautiful. I see lots of the mirrors used on fabrics from India here in our local shops.


    • Exactly. I’ve seen shisha in this technique used in India (specifically the Kutch region), Pakistan, Afghanistan, and environs. But never with these color combinations. It may have been specifically made for the tourist trade, in which case it could be from almost anywhere in the area. But the traditional goddess figures make me think otherwise. I’d really like to track down the provenance of this piece. 😉

  3. Hi I am from India and at present staying in the US with my children.I happened to see this embroidery in the stitchingers and visited your blog.the up picture is very clear and it looks like phulkari of Punjab,India.You can google the name and see it.For me it looks like that.


  4. I meant the close up picture:) You can even see the toda embroidery in google images.It also somewhat resembles the embroidery you have shown.



    • Thank you!!! The color combinations and the stitch choices do seem to lean this way! I’ll also see if I can track down Rajmahal Threads and ask. It’s good to have a starting point that’s a little smaller than “the Indian continent”! India has such lovely embroidery traditions, and they are so diverse, I love studying them: I always learn something new…

  5. This is a wonderful piece and could be India. I suggest you might want to contact Louise from Rajmahal Threads in Australia – she is producing Indian based Artsilk threads and also does Shisha Embroidery. I think they have lived in India for a while – it could be that she can help you with your quest. Her email is marie@rajmahal.com.au (that’s the one from her trusted employee, because her mailbox is constantly full).

    Worth a try.

    • Thank you for the suggestion, Sibille! I think I will email her later today. Mahalakshmi suggested that it might be from Punjab, and doing the google search, the colors and images do seem to be similar…. So I think I’ll start there.

Leave a reply