Friday, March 8, 2013

Balochi embroidery

 Bahram Saleem

The clothing of Baloch is distinguished by colorful embroidery patterns that serve as cultural symbols, helping to differentiate Baloch from rest of the cultures and people in the world. Balochi dresses especially with attractive embroidery have long been the pride and the cultural beauty of Baloch.
Balochi hand-made Embroidery
  Most characteristic of Baloch costume is embroidery of a beauty and intricacy that contrast strongly with the simplicity of the rest of Balochi material culture. The designs, of which there are many, are composed primarily of geometric shapes such as that of flowers and leaves arranged in regular patterns. Of course, Baloch women’s dresses provide the best examples of such colorful and careful handwork; the colors of embroideries are beautifully animated with beautiful and colorful patterns. Certain specific embroidery patterns are very common across Balochistan such as mirchukand zuratto with six or seven colors. Use of a single pattern is most common though sometimes more than one are combined on a single garment.
Moreover, one of the most popular embroidery works is the “frame design”, in which decorations or flowers (pull), of complex shape, some complete (tik) and others trun­cated (kapp), which are then filled in with different colors, each of which has its specific place in the design. Among them Kappuk and Panchuly or Murge Panch are the most common embroidery specifically in Makran.
In some pieces of embroidery only thread in a huge amount of colors is used, whereas in others small circular mirrors (shishag) are also incorporated into the designs such as Jalar-o-naal and Pariwal-e-tik or Pariwal-e-naal. Among the Baloch such work is part of an ancient tradition, in which small pieces of mica were used before thin mirror glass became avail­able. The designs with mirrors incorporated are very common across Balochistan.
Most Baloch women know how to embroider, and take interest in such work. They do not use charts or diagrams but instead create extremely complex designs from memory, often with assistance and suggestions from the elderly members of the family or neighbors. Little girls begin to learn basic stitches and patterns at about the age of six or seven years. 
Many women sit aside a few hours after completing their daily household works for embroidery work in the afternoons or in the evening, either alone or in groups. Straight needles and thread are most commonly used though hooked needles are required for some patterns. Once the embroidery is finished, the garment is assembled by a local tailor or by the woman herself if she is fortunate enough to own a sewing machine. Making clothes fulfills the important needs of family; extremely skilled embroiderers or those, who are quite poor, may also sell their work to other community members. The prices for their work are considerably depending on the difficulty of the pattern and other factors. Also, most women work for years embroidering fine works of art for their sons and daughters’ dowries (jahaz,).
 Embroidering clothes provides much enjoyment and recreation for women, who take great pride in their handiwork and consider it the essence of being Baloch. No doubt, some new Balochi embroideries are said to be given baseless names, which don’t seem to be that much civilized; however, what encourages is the embroidery technique which remains the same and reflects the cultural beauty of Baloch.


  1. Hello Bahram,
    I was just reading your article about Balochi Embroider and trust me you have mentioned really well about Balochi Culture.
    Balochi Embroidery is always fascinating and gives a traditional though stylish look. There is a lot of work being done in past couple of years and designers are specializing in it.

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