A history tour of attire at National Museum

  • Satyen Mohapatra, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • |
  • Updated: Sep 14, 2009 12:39 IST

The National Museum is planning a costume gallery, which will focus on the development of the Indian attire for the male and female over the years.

“In view of the growing number of textile and fashion designing institutions and export houses in the country, we would like to display our rich heritage of costumes, with photographs, diagrams and mannequins wearing dresses. We feel the costume gallery will be quite a draw,” said Anamika Pathak, curator, decorative arts and textile, at the museum.

The gallery would primarily focus on the development of the male and female attire from the 17th to the 20th century in different regions of the country.

“Apart from costumes we will try to show our range of headgear like the pagri and the turban, as well as accessories like shoes and waist-bands.”

She said people should donate or sell their old sarees and suits to the museum.

“Many people sell traditional zari sarees of their ancestors for the little bit of gold or silver which is extracted from it. We are losing a lot of traditional techniques and national heritage this way. These samples can give a lot of ideas to students of textile institutions who can come and see and learn to design and create new items,” she added.

She said whenever the donated items were displayed, due credit would be given to the donor. Over the ages, many items in the textile sector were especially made for export, Pathak said.

Indian textiles go back 5,000 years to the Mohenjodaro-Harappa period. The well-known sculpted figure of the bearded priest from Mohanjodaro is draped in a shawl. Cotton fibres, seeds, needles and spindles from this period found from many sites like Lothal, Kalibangan clearly show that textile manufacturing was well established, Pathak said.

In the 9-10th centuries, India’s cotton printed textile fragments were found in Egypt and there is literary evidence of a flourishing textile trade between India and the Greeks and Romans in the 1st century AD.

The museum’s textile, costumes, and accessories collection contains over 3,000 items.

 

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