Welcome to the World of Virsā!
We believe in the visceral power of Color, Texture and all things Bright, Shiny, Sequiny! And, We believe in the magical therapeutic powers of Art, Empathy and Gratitude. Traditional Handicrafts, from anywhere in the world, come power-packed with ALL of these ingredients! From Paleolithic Cave Paintings to French Millefiori Paperweights to Japanese Kintsugi to Native American Cowhide Paintings - Art is everywhere around us and is integral to our collective Global Virsā i.e., Heritage. The Artisans who continue to serve as the Custodians of our Heritage are, therefore, befittingly - Artists.
At Virsā, we take "Empathetic Artpreneurship" for a Fairer Planet very seriously. Every time you choose a Virsā product from our Online Store, a minimum of 20% of the Profits are shared with the Artisan who crafted it. We are committed to bringing Artisan stories from Punjab and beyond to the World. Storytelling, after all, is the original and most ancient means of preserving and sharing Heritage.
We also happen to produce & curate our own Exhibitions. We love conversations on Heritage, Identity, Culture, History and Future-Forward positive interpretations of all these terms and, once in a while, we do pen down our thoughts and self-publish as an Author! (Watch this space for our gorgeous Coffee Table book launching soon!)
For those of you who are either Etymologically inclined or just plain curious, here's some Virsā vocabulary.
Virsā is a Punjabi word of Persian origin: ورثہ, ਵਿਰਸਾ; lit. "Heritage" and "Heirloom" - both of which aptly describe The Phulkari Tradition of Punjab. The word Punjab is a compound of the Persian words panj (five) and āb (waters). Thus Panjāb/Punjab roughly means "the land of five rivers". The five rivers are the Sutlej, Beas, Ravi, Chenab and Jehlum (also spelled Jhelum).
Phulkari (Punjabi: ਫੁਲਕਾਰੀ) embroidery technique from the Punjab region (divided between India and Pakistan in August 1947; search keyword "Partition of India" on our Phulkari Blog) literally means flower work, used as the word for embroidery. Within the wider world of Phulkari, sparsely embroidered fabric is called Simple Phulkari, whereas fully covered fabric is called Bagh ("garden") and scattered work on the fabric is called Adha Bagh ("half garden").
Traditionally, Phulkari was done with white or yellow silk floss (fine thread) on cotton khaddar (hand spun coarse cotton) and would typically start from the center of the fabric called "chashm-e-bulbul" (the eye of the bird) and then, spread to the whole fabric. For more on The History of Phulkari, check out our Phulkari Blog.