Indian Textile Trade History: In this article, we will examine the link between Mumbai’s current urban landscape with its history in the cotton trade of India.
Mumbai, an urban city of luxurious skyscrapers and destitute slums, was built 400 years ago on seven islands. Before the European Influence, a community of fishers inhabited these seven islands. The Portuguese were the first to arrive here from Europe and strengthen their influence on the archipelago from 1534 onwards. Bombay’s fate changed when it entered the rule of British East India Company (EIC) after it was given as a dowry from Portugal to Charles II of England and consecutively came under the influence of EIC.
I discussed my recent textile-related reads with a friend when she mentioned the book ‘Indiennes – Material For A Thousand Stories“. The exhibition at the Landesmuseum Zürich published this book in conjugation with their presentation.
The name ‘Indienne’ made me curious as I have not heard of it before in relation to the calico textiles that were traded between India and Europe. I grabbed my copy right away and just finished reading it. The book examines what happened next to the beautifully printed and painted cotton story after they left the Indian shores, arrived in Europe and created a veritable storm of buying enthusiasm in Europe. (more…)