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


parrot green

parrot green

Woman’s veil worn during the monsoon, odhani India, Rajasthan, Jodhpur, beginning of the 21st century Cotton Françoise Cousin Mission 71.2001.38.2

A chiffon cloth dyed by partially soaking in synthetic dyes on 4-ply pleated fabric. Some « parrot-green » veils are worn before and during the rainy season. During the same period, veils are worn with lahariya type oblique lines; a metaphor for rain. Even today, the colours of veils refer to particular communities. They mark the status of women, birth of a child and veils even enter in the category of ritual presents, playing an important social role in relationships between families. The arrival of the rainy season or certain religious celebrations can be signalled by wearing a particular veil. Variations in colours and patterns also show the affluence of a family.