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Woman’s backless blouse, made from a large, heavily embroidered panel which forms the entire front of the blouse. Blouse has green background with red, white, yellow, black, orange and blue embroidered features, and mirrors. The top portion of the blouse is embroidered with geometric designs, consisting of red and white flowers and yellow chains grouped into square elements which are edged with black cotton braid. There is a vertical neck opening at the center front edged in orange. The lower portion of the blouse forms an apron effect and is embellished with scattered multicoloured designs . Borders at the sides and bottom incorporate diamond and lozenge shapes in dark red. On the back, separate, small shoulder yokes made from panels of dark red cotton broadcloth are sewn at the shoulders and at the underarms, forming close-fitting, abbreviated sleeves. One glass bead is sewn into the design on the right shoulder of the garment. The embroidery is underlined with red silk textile.

History Of Use

Backless blouses are worn with a long, gathered skirt or baggy pants as part of the everyday or festive costume. 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 hang tag attached to the blouse at the time of its purchase in Pakistan calls it a “greban.”

Specific Techniques

stem stitch; buttonhole stitch; double buttonshole stitch; interlacing stitch; satin stitch; couched stitch; fly stitch


This blouse was purchased by William McLennan at Threadlines Gallery in Islamabad, 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.

Item History

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