Festivals, Dances, Theatre, Literature, Art in News

Toda Embroidery of the Nilgiris


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Toda embroidery

Mains level : Not Much

Many women and indigenous Toda artisans from the Nilgiris are producing thousands of stylish, embroidered masks for local residents, police, and sanitary workers.

Recently, the Assamese Gamosa was in new. Now the Pukhoor Embroidery has made it into the list. Keep a note of all such handicrafts. We can expect a match the pair based prelim question.

Toda Embroidery

  • The Toda Embroidery, also locally known as “pukhoor” is an artwork among the Toda pastoral people of Nilgiris, in Tamil Nadu, made exclusively by their women.
  • The embroidery, which has a fine finish, appears like a woven cloth but is made with the use of red and black threads with a white cotton cloth background.
  • Both sides of the embroidered fabric are usable and the Toda people are proud of this heritage.
  • This handicraft product is listed as a geographically tagged product and is protected under the Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration & Protection) Act (GI Act) 1999.

Related facts

  • The local terms used to describe the embroidery work are ‘kuty’ or ‘awtty’ meaning “stitching” and ‘kutyvoy’ meaning the embroidered piece.
  • The materials used in this work are roughly woven white cloth, woollen black and red threads with use occasionally of blue threads and manufactured needles.
  • The designs developed relate to nature and the daily cycle of life.
  • The patterns used in Toda embroidery do not cover many floral motifs but generally cover celestial bodies (like Sun and Moon), reptiles, animals, and horns of buffaloes, made in crimson and black colours.
  • Rabbit ears are a constant depiction on the boundary of the embroidered cloth. Another common design in the form of black triangles in a box design is done in honour of their first priest.
  • Women who do embroidery consider their work as a “tribute to Nature”.
  • As a traditional garment, it is worn by both men and women at all ceremonial occasions and also at funerals. Elderly people of the community wear this cloth daily.

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