Khatwa/Appliqué & Patch Work of Bihar

Khatwa/Appliqué & Patch Work of Bihar


The appliqué and patchwork of Bihar is locally called Khatwa and is commonly found on wall hangings, shamianas (or decorative tents and canopies that are used on festive occasions, and on religious and social ceremonies), and now even on saris, dupattas, cushion covers, table cloths, and curtains.

The craft uses waste pieces of cloth as its raw material and is usually done with white cloth on bright backgrounds like red or orange. So fine was the work that, in the past, the articles produced were used by kings, emperors, and the nobility.

The motifs include human figures, trees, flowers, animals, and birds. Circular cut-work is for the central motifs and quarter-circles are used for the corners. Kanats or walls of tents have tree forms with animal figures. Usually, men cut the patterns and the women do the stitching. Appliqué work is also done by women on their personal garments; the colors ranging from scarlet, orange, and yellow, to pale green, mauve, and white. In garments like caps and blouses, embroidery is combined with appliqué.

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