What is Toda Tribal Art

Toda Tribal Art

What is Toda Tribal Art. The Toda Embroidered artwork, also known as (Pukhoor) in the area, is a women-only art form among the Toda Tribal Art. The highly finished embroidery seems to be woven cloth; however, it is done with black and red threads on a white cotton fabric base. We can use the both sides of embroidered fabric, The people of Toda are famous because of their culture. The embroidered robes and shawls are utilized by both women and men.

Traditional Art:

The Toda who creates this embroidery resides in a single small community. In the Nilgiri Hills, about just four hundred are still doing this beautiful this needlework art. They are engaged in the practice of making several handcraft products in addition to their occupation as buffalo herders and grassland farmers.

This contains the women of the community’s characteristic black and red needlework. This beautiful embroidered work specially done on the (Pootkhuly), that are worn by both women and men.

Toda Tribal Art

Use of Raw Materials:

Handmade unbleached matting and stretchy cotton cloth, needle, and woollen embroidered threads were the major basic materials used. The materials were acquired in Tamil Nadu, Karoor, near Tirupur. The women were purchasing 1k meter packages of fabric. The embroidered threads are woollen, which is readily available in the market. Cloth with large red bands at both sides on which brilliant geometric designs are embroidered is used in the classic shawl. And over nine elaborate motifs are uncommon on a single piece.

Process of Making Toda Tribal Art:

The embroidery is made on thick unbleached cotton fabric with black and red lines. Hand-woven patterns and motifs are created by measuring threads. The needlework patterns are symbolic of tattoos of animals, buffalo horns, and celestial bodies. Another popular pattern is black squares and triangles, which are knitted in honor of their first priests. The nine yards of material are embroidered with wide bands of black and red, with 3 stripes across one end, one black and two red.

Before the 2 pieces of cloth are sewed together, the needlework is done in these lines. To get a rich and impressive effect, this darning needlework is created on the opposite side of the material. Traditionally, vegetable fiber has been used as a thread, but nowadays, embroidery threads are extensively used. The (carnal) embroidery surrounding the two red stripes is known as (carnal) and the design on the black side is known as (Karthal.)

Toda Tribal Art


Toda tribal art does not have any pattern books. The patterns show the Toda female’s originality, as they imagine a pattern in their imaginations and then apply it to a piece of fabric. The majority of the inspiration comes from nature, daily activities, mythical events, and the hues of the Nilgiris’ fauna and flora. So, because buffalo is holy to the tribal people of Toda, the horn of a buffalo is a prominent motif. The Moon, Stars, Sun, Mountains, Flowers, and other motifs are frequently used. Geometric needlework is used in Toda tribal art.

Presearvation of Toda Tribal Artwork:

The painstaking needlework is slowly going out as the Toda community has decreased to less than 2k individuals, with only a bit more than 400 continuously interested in embroidery. Career women from the neighborhood, have little time for such  abilities as a result of urbanization. Embroidery, which was once the primary source of revenue for women in pastoral communities, did not acquire traction in the marketplace.

Many groups have been assisting in raising funds for the betterment of Toda communities for over a decade. Tribal women make Toda shawls, which are marketed as part of a revenue plan. Several commercial goods, such as bags, bedsheets, and potlis, are now available. Toda needlework has received a Geographical Indication accreditation, bringing honor to the daring art. So, after a little bit of effort, we can easily save this best artwork.


The Toda tribe has an organized, simple, but complex way of living. The Toda Tribal Art is easily recognized by their apparel and has specific qualities such as being tall and dark. Their demeanor is enhanced by a specific piece of white wrapped in a rich crimson black and white shawl. Their traditional communities, known as (Mundh) are wonderfully ornamented with Toda tribal art forms like rock mural painting.

For more posts like this visit Tribal Handcrafts blog.

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