Saris, religious fabrics highlight of India festival in London

  • Prasun Sonwalkar, Hindustan Times, London
  • Updated: Aug 18, 2015 10:18 IST
A Rabari child’s jacket, from the 20th century is expected to be on display at the event. (Picture credit: V&A Museum)

The rich tapestry of India’s handmade textiles, from the third to the 21st centuries -- from Assamese silk, natural dyes and even religious and royal clothes -- are the highlight of ‘India Festival’ opening shortly at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London.

The festival includes less-known 19th century photographs by British army Captain Linnaes Tripe, a privately held jewellery collection from the Mughal era (including a rare gold filial from Tipu Sultan’s throne), and the textiles exhibition called ‘The Fabric of India’.

The event marks the 25th anniversary of the opening of the V&A Museum’s Nehru Gallery, which displays some of the most important objects from the museum’s south Asian art collection produced between the 16th and 19th centuries.

The Fabric of India is considered to be the first major exhibition to explore the dynamic and multifaceted world of handmade textiles from India, spanning from the third century to the present day. It opens on October 3 and runs until January 10.

Showcasing the best of the V&A’s world-renowned collection, together with masterpieces from international partners and leading designers, the exhibition will feature over 200 objects, many on display for the first time, organisers said.

Over the centuries, Hindus, Muslims, Jains, Buddhists and Christians have made widespread use of textiles in worship. Whether worn for rituals, offered by devotees to temples and shrines, or used as hangings to decorate sacred spaces, textiles play a key role in religious observance in India.

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