PAKISTAN, Tharparker desert, Sindh,
Circa late 20th century large ralli quilt chosen from a dowry shown to me in the remote mud-hut village of Tooh. Personally purchased in Feb 2012 from Hindu Meghwar tribal member. 243cm x 148cm
Very large double bed quilt, polycotton and cotton appliqed with 15 large squares in colours of yellow, blue, red, white, green and black. Wide appliqué border in predominantly black and white with accents of red, blue, yellow, green and yellow. Wide red and white zig-zag border and outer edge hand crocheted in white cotton thread. Each corner has 3 sets of double bright wool tassles on silver beaded cords. Plain deep maroon red backing. No wadding. Whole quilt is quilted in red cotton running stitch. Some of the cotton used in this quilt is fine so that it is slightly transparent resulting in the printed backing fabric and reverse applique backing to show through in a subtle shadow effect (see photo 2). A very striking ralli.
The village of Tooh in Sindh is one of the most remote regions of Pakistan and is approximately 10 hours drive south east of Karachi. On this trip I was accompanied by 2 policemen with machine guns who travelled in front in either a jeep or on a motorcycle. As I passed through each district the police changed. It was an extremely complicated process to gain permission to travel out into these remote districts. We travelled into a grey sandy desert and to get to the village we (myself, translator and village representative, Dev Vasalai) got out and walked through the sandhills until we came to a small, walled village consisting of mud huts with grass roofs. The Meghwar women are renown for their exquisite embroidery, patchwork and embroidery and these patterns have been handed down from mother to daughter for many, many generations. These women are talented artisans whose work tells of identity, community and landscape.