“Pot Cushions? What on earth is a Pot Cushion? And why would anyone put embroidery on it?!” This is the incredulous response of my friend – raised in the mega-city of Mumbai!
Mumbai has had piped water since forever.
But even today many hamlets in India get piped water only through a common village tap and a few still rely on common wells.
To bring water from the common village source to the home, pots are used.
And photos of Indian women carrying several pots of water on their heads can be found all over the internet.
Here is one from Rajasthan – a beautiful Bhil girl I met in Jhadol district inRajasthan:
If you look carefully, the pot that Paaro is carrying on her head rests on a little cloth cushion.
This could just be a long piece of multipurpose cloth that is twisted and coiled up to form a cushion.
Or it could be an ornately decorated piece like this one from the Banjaras of Odisha:
Asset 7-7 on wovensouls.com
Here are some from Gujarat:
A common item associated with housework and chores has been decorated so beautifully!
What is it that drives these women to compulsively make everything around them beautiful – decorating every object that they can lay their hands on!!
Today – extended families live scattered across a region and relatives are constantly dropping in to visit, usually after a tedious journey in the heat. So the first welcome in any home is to offer the guest water and a piece of jaggery. This standard welcome within the home takes on larger proportions in weddings when the bride’s family welcomes the groom’s family.
And for such ceremonial occasions, ornamented Indhonis are used:
And here is a different type of Indhoni:
This type of construction is used to hang pots of butter and milk suspended from the beams on the roof of the house.
“What? Hang a pot of milk from the ceiling?? Why?”
Such an arrangement finds a mention in the epic Mahabharat, in the stories of Lord Krishna’s childhood. Although he was an adorable toddler, he was known as “maakhan chor” or “butter thief” as he stole pots and pots of their home-made butter and exasperated them!
In order to keep their butter and milk safe from him and his buddies, such devices were created. Today these hanging Indhonis are useful in avoiding mischief by cats!
Asset 457 on wovensouls.com
The things I have learned about my own cultural history through things I had seen as “art” just amazes me!
In Indian folk art – nothing ever seems to be art for art’s sake – art is always alwaysalwaysa palimpsest and merely acts the visible layer to attract viewers to the real treasure of the cultural context that lies beneath.
And it is through these layers
that I, a person born
the concept of India!
Here I am a dozen years ago – with the pot and an Indhoni trying very hard not to be clumsy!!
The Indhonis are available on
embroidery; costume; antiques; artifact; textile; textiles; old; vintage; antique; collection; collector; collectible; art; weaving; jewelry; ornament; dress; warp; weft; art; textiles; tribal textiles; hilltribe textiles; Asia textiles; Asian art; Asian textiles, antique bridal; antique wedding; antique folk art; antique tribal art; antique traditional art; antique ethnic art; antique folk textile; antique tribal textiles; antique traditional textiles; antique ethnic textiles; old textiles; vintage textiles; antique textiles; old tribal; old ethnic; old traditional; old cultural; old art; vintage tribal; vintage ethnic; vintage traditional; vintage cultural; vintage art; antique tribal; antique ethnic; antique traditional; antique cultural; antique art; antique textiles; antique cloth; antique fabric; antique cotton; antique silk; antique wool; antique embroidery; antique weaving; antique woven; art consultant; art commission; textile artwork; art curating; curator; interior art; interior design; wall art; art decor; decor; decor resource; fashion designer resource; stylist resource; architect; textile art; textile art commission; textile art curator; accent; style; accessory; décor; decorative textiles; upholstery; decorative fabric; vintage fabric; antique tribal textiles; antique Asian textiles; antique costume; antique Asian costume; antique textile collection; Asian antiques; antique fabric; antique Asian textile; antique tribal; vintage tribal textiles; antique Asian; antique India; antique ethnic; antique traditional; antique cultural; antique tribal; antique folk art; tribal art; old textile; old fabric; old cloth; old costume; textile website; antique textile gallery; antique weaving; tribal weaving; antique embroidery; tribal embroidery; antique tribal; antique ethnic; vintage indian; antiques store; online antiques; antiques store; antiques shop; gift shop; buy online; online shopping; buy; shop; store; singapore online; singapore antiques; singapore collectible; singapore décor; singapore art; singapore collector; singapore dealer; singapore online dealer; art store; antiques store; vintage store; art shop; antiques shop; vintage shop; art dealer; antiques dealer; vintage dealer; textiles dealer; buy art online; buy antiques online; buy collectibles online; art gallery; antiques gallery; vintage gallery; art gallery online; antique textiles online; antique paintings online; antique jewelry online; art collection; antiques collection; textile collection; costume collection; paintings collection; antique art collection; antique textile collection; antique costume collection; handmade; handwoven; handicraft; by hand; handloom; hand stitched; hand spun; hand made; hand woven, antique dealer, art dealer, antiques online, antiques shop, antique textiles shop, art gallery, art dealer, home décor, home style, style gallery, décor gallery, home décor shop, art shop, artwork shop, wall art, antique wall art, wall art online, interior decorator, interior designer,