A thick, flat-woven rug or carpet produced in Karnataka, India, that is primarily used as a floor covering, is known as Navalgund dhurrie. Navalgund or navedu in Kannada, refers to the peacock which frequently appears as a design motif in the dhurries. The origin of Navalgund dhurries goes back to the sixteenth century Bijapur when for the sake of safety and continuity of their craft, the jamkhana weavers migrated from Bijapur to Navalgund, amidst the power struggle between the Deccan Sultanate and the Vijayanagar Empire.
Navalgund dhurries are woven along the width on a vertical loom, locally referred to as khadav magga, with precise calculations on a naksha (graph). These are mostly weft-dominant where the warp consists of white cotton yarn and each design is unique. The designs include striped, stepped, serrated patterns with bright coloured wefts of red, yellow, blue and green, geometric designs and motifs of choukhas (dice game board), mor (peacock), charmor (peacock motif in four corners) and stylised intricate patterned mihrabs (niched arches). The dominant colour for the background is a bright red in most jamkhanas. The Navalgund dhurries are of various types and sizes – depending on their use – such as the jamkhana, which is used as a floor covering; the jainamaz, used as prayer mats; totalle jamkhana, used for cradles; and guddar which is used as a protective cover when storing grains.
Towards the end of the nineteenth century due to rampant commercialisation of weaving in rural India, the design, colour sensitivity, dyeing of the Navalgund dhurries deteriorated significantly, stagnating the industry. To support the weavers, the Karnataka state government established a production centre and brought in artisans to work there but the number of artisans has fallen significantly due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the prolonged lockdowns in the state. In 2011, Navalgund dhurries received the Geographical Index (GI) tag from the government of India.
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