Woman's head scarf (odhni)

Indian (Veranasi)
early 19th century

Object Place: Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, India


Overall: 310.4 x 150cm (122 3/16 x 59 1/16in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Silk and metallic plain weave with warp ikat and both continuous and discontinuous supplementary patterning wefts; silk and metallic twill weave; tapestry weave

Not On View


Asia, Textiles and Fashion Arts



Plain weave shawl with a green field patterned with diagonal bands (discontinuous supplementary wefts) of gold blossoms and a gold buta in each of the four corners. The field is framed with a band of smaller gold buti surrounded by a meandering floral vine on a red ground. Borders are twill woven with red and gold to create a herringbone motif. The ends also have this same herringbone motif, outlined in black (continuous supplemental wefts) and gold checks. The area is framed with diagonal floral forms (discontinuous supplementary wefts) on a red ground. The center block has a row of seven larger gold buta surrounded with a meandering floral vine on a red ground.

The green field transitions to the red ends with the warp ikat technique. In the weft direction the two colors are joined using a tapestry-like technique.


Gift from Helen and Paul Bernat to the MFA, January 21, 1987

Credit Line

Gift of Paul and Helen Bernat