[vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css=".vc_custom_1623043300818{padding-right: 15px !important;}" z_index=""][vc_column offset="vc_col-xs-12"][vc_column_text]Enameled Jewelry: In the story of my career, I've had much to do with the popularising of fashion jewelry in India.  But that's another story, which I will tell one day.  For the moment, I want to start a new blog series on the various genres of jewelry, not just in India but worldwide.

[vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css=".vc_custom_1622248632215{padding-right: 15px !important;}" z_index=""][vc_column offset="vc_col-xs-12"][vc_column_text]Draped Apparel: In our first blog in this series, we talked about the Indian tradition of wearing unstitched clothing from pre-Vedic times, possibly because applying a needle to cloth was believed to be polluting. [caption id="attachment_4173" align="alignleft" width="126"]The Genesis of Draped Apparel in India A kid in a langot, still worn in India by traditional wrestlers. Image Source: https://www.danielmalikyar.com/kushti-india/[/caption] Because of this belief, and probably because of the climate, India has always had a tradition of draped apparel, starting from the langot, a rectangular cloth worn as underwear.  Interestingly. I remember my grandfather still wore a langot until the 1960s, as I remember long strips of cloth drying on the washing line. 

[vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css=".vc_custom_1619207173048{padding-right: 15px !important;}" z_index=""][vc_column offset="vc_col-xs-12"][vc_column_text]Chikankari Embroidery from India - As a child growing up in Lucknow in the 1960s, I recall being dragged along to the stores when my mother and aunts shopped.  Much to my boredom.  Except when we went to the chikankari shops.  Even as a child, I found the gossamer tenderness and transparency of the craft fascinating, and I'm not alone in this.  In 1903, George Watt described it as "the most artistic and delicate form of the indigenous needlework of India."  Laila Tyabji compares it to a dragonfly wing.  

[vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css=".vc_custom_1616300712552{padding-right: 15px !important;}" z_index=""][vc_column offset="vc_col-xs-12"][vc_column_text]Zardozi Embroidery: There is something about embroidery that has held the world in thrall in all of recorded history.  Is it the human urge to beautify and improve? Is it a stress buster? Whatever the reasons, India probably stands at the forefront of the world in terms of both the variety and the complexity of its embroidery traditions. Many of the embroideries found on garments on the international catwalks are developed in India, though this may not be known or acknowledged. 

[vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css=".vc_custom_1613962117888{padding-right: 15px !important;}" z_index=""][vc_column offset="vc_col-xs-12"][vc_column_text]Persian Carpets: There is something about the Persian carpet that makes it the most potent and symbolic of all textiles.  Of course, it's just a floor covering, so why has it made its way into art, poetry, music, and fashion?  Delving into the history and the marvelous workmanship may answer these questions.  

[vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css=".vc_custom_1613361368117{padding-right: 15px !important;}" z_index=""][vc_column offset="vc_col-xs-12"][vc_column_text]Famous Carpet Traditions  [caption id="attachment_3653" align="alignleft" width="375"]India's most Famous Carpet Traditions from Kashmir and Agra A prayer carpet. James F Ballard[/caption]  Imagine a home, an airport, or a hotel with just bare floors room after room, no matter how lovely that floor might be.  Through the ages, carpets have warmed our homes literally and visually, added to the decor, and provided insulation. In many cultures, they are regarded with enormous esteem, part of prayer ceremonies and religious places.  The motifs are replete with history and cultural references, common across geographies and nations.

[vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css=".vc_custom_1612074858499{padding-right: 15px !important;}" z_index=""][vc_column][vc_column_text] [caption id="attachment_3565" align="alignleft" width="368"]NATURAL INDIGO DYE INTERESTING GLOBAL HISTORY IN BRIEF The Singh Twins painting of the story of indigo, showing both its value as well as the suffering caused[/caption] NATURAL INDIGO DYE: Blue is the color of the sky and the sea.  It is the color of the sapphire and the tanzanite. It is a color we take so much for granted when we wear our denim and fleece that we forget that at one time, it was worth its weight in gold, worn only by the richest and royal. Indeed it was called Blue Gold.  It also has a turbulent history associated with famine, slavery, and human suffering.

[vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css=".vc_custom_1611460407530{padding-right: 15px !important;}" z_index=""][vc_column offset="vc_col-xs-12"][vc_single_image image="3501" img_size="full" add_caption="yes" qode_css_animation=""][vc_empty_space][vc_column_text]Silk Route: History, as it is taught, has a strong and very narrow bias to the West. Most history concentrates on the rise of Europe, to the cost of ancient civilizations like China, India, and Persia.  Yet, through much of ancient history, civilizations were concentrated around the Black Sea and eastwards.  Harappa had a teeming population, as did Babylon and Mohenjo Daro. And at the center of this great melting pot of culture, religion, and language were the Silk Roads, a bridge between West and East, carrying goods, produce, ideas and disease. 

[vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css=".vc_custom_1610939143383{padding-right: 15px !important;}" z_index=""][vc_column offset="vc_col-xs-12"][vc_column_text] Cypress Motif: When studying the history of motifs in the arts and crafts, we often read about the Paisley.  But there is another motif, more mysterious, more philosophical, one that represents death and eternal life. And that is the Cypress.  Many say that the Paisley was born of the cypress when a stray songbird sat on its very tip, bending it slightly.  But let's go back to the beginning. 

[vc_row css_animation="" row_type="row" use_row_as_full_screen_section="no" type="full_width" angled_section="no" text_align="left" background_image_as_pattern="without_pattern" css=".vc_custom_1610085540880{padding-right: 15px !important;}" z_index=""][vc_column offset="vc_col-xs-12"][vc_column_text]Textile Crafts of Japan : I had a pink hand-painted pajama set as a child, which came in an artful box, with the inside flap mirrored and beribboned. I loved this so much I never actually wore it but pulled it out at intervals to admire it. This was my first exposure to the miracle of Japanese crafts.
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