Colour and patterns

Colour is the most immediately visible stylistic element. The two-colour or polychrome process depends on the number of dye baths which follow the preparation of reserves.  Formerly exclusively natural, dyes today are often synthetic.  The choice of colour is associated with symbolism of the colours and this aspect is equally referred to here.


Some original patterns come from reserve-dyeing processes and are revealed by playing with the colours.

  • indigo


  • parrot green

    parrot green

  • red


  • colour symbolism

    colour symbolism

  • ochre and brown

    ochre and brown

  • multicoloured


  • paint highlights

    paint highlights

  • dotted spiral

    dotted spiral

  • circular pattern

    circular pattern

  • figurative dotted lines

    figurative dotted lines

  • irregular line design

    irregular line design

  • sewing on pleats

    sewing on pleats

  • geometric representation, sowing

    geometric representation, sowing

  • figurative




Woman’s veil, odhani Pakistan, Sind, middle of 20th century Cotton, silk, mirrors Françoise Cousin Mission 71.1974.17.89

On the two sides of the Indo-Pakistani border, one finds cotton veils whose deep red design characterizes the region. The reserves, by tying knots bandhani and pleating at the ends, are generally carried out by women often from the Muslim Khatri family of craftsmen who prepare the dyes. This kind of veil is worn by Meghwal or Koli Hindi women in Pakistan, who add an embroidery pattern and the application of mirrors on the two selvages. Red, throughout the range from pink to orange, is moreover a propitiatory colour associated with marriage. 188x123 cm