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Woman’s or child’s turquoise cotton backless blouse, embellished with designs worked in gold and silver metal wrapped thread. The blouse is made from a large, heavily embroidered panel that forms the entire front of the blouse. There is a vertical neck opening at the centre front, bound with black embroidery; this opening is embellished with three rows of closely spaced circular metallic gold motifs. At each shoulder is a gold inverted heart-shaped figure. Below the armholes, the designs form an apron effect; the design elements, which are scattered over the entire surface, include hearts, squares, geometric forms, tree and flower motifs. Dark red pompoms, circular mirrors and silver and red sequins are placed within the motifs. The sleeve edges are trimmed with beads, sequins and beaded tassels. The bottom and sides are bordered with diamond-shaped motifs, sequins and gold metallic crocheted edging. On the back, separate, small shoulder yokes made from panels of multicoloured, machine-printed cotton broadcloth are sewn at the shoulders and at the underarms, forming close-fitting, abbreviated sleeves. The blouse fastens at the center back neckline with green twisted fibre ties. There is also a green fibre tie located halfway down the left edge of the blouse and a fibre loop located at a corresponding place on the right-hand side. The embroidery is underlined with red printed cotton gauze.

History Of Use

Backless blouses are worn with a long, gathered skirt or baggy pants as part of the everyday or festive costume. The heavy use of gold metallic thread probably indicates that this blouse was worn on special occasions. A veil is worn over the head and shoulders, covering the back. An embroidered blouse front like this one is called a “greban” in Threadlines Pakistan, but the term “gaj” is used in Colours of the Indus (see References). “Gaj” is also spelled “guj” in the literature. The sales slip from Pakistan Handicrafts calls this garment a “Sindi Guj.”

Specific Techniques

couching stitch; satin stitch; buttonhole stitch


This blouse was purchased by William McLennan at Pakistan Handicrafts in Karachi, Pakistan, in 1985 while he was on assignment for the Museum of Anthropology, which had a contract with the administration of Expo ‘86 to set up the Pakistan pavillion at the fair. The Museum purchased it, along with the other items in the 1098 accession, from McLennan in 1986. The syle of this blouse is typical of others from Sindh, but the turquoise and gold colouration is unlike any other in the Museum's collection, or any examples found in published sources.

Item History

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