Collection Online

Woman's head covering
(late 19th century)

silk, gold thread
200.0 × 168.0 cm
Place/s of Execution
Gujarat, India
Accession Number
Asian Art
Credit Line
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Gift of Michael Abbott, 2008
This digital record has been made available on NGV Collection Online through the generous support of The Gordon Darling Foundation
Gallery location
Not on display
The odhni is made from two narrow lengths of silk satin cloth sewn together to form a large, rectangular textile. The fabric, originally cream in colour, is patterned in an intricate design of tiny white circles, created by the bandhani or tie-dye technique. The pattern is centred on a roundel formed by figures of gopis, or milkmaids associated with Krishna, dancing in a circle. They refer to one of the central episodes in Krishna legend, the Rasalila, or mystical dance, in which Krishna is united with each of his devotees, and which is a culmination of the desire of the worshipper for union with God. In the surrounding fields and borders of the textile are images of gopis, elephants, pairs of parrots (associated with love), and flowers and foliage, possibly lotuses, or the flowers and leaves of the kadamba tree, which is associated with Krishna. The odhni was produced by male artists working within a family studio system, in which a master artist trains other family members in the skills he learnt from his uncle or father. Different regions of Kutch and Gujarat produce different styles of bandhani textiles. This style is associated with the Saurasthtra region of Gujarat.