Chintz Muslin and the Forgotten Queen, an exhibition of textiles of a bygone period, in Kochi


Do you know that Dhaka is just not the one place that produces muslin? Or that in Santipur, West Bengal, there’s a approach to starching yarn that turns the threads “as stiff as a bone”? These are among the textile tales that regale guests at Chintz Muslin and the Forgotten Queen, an ongoing exhibition of textiles from a bygone period.

Collated by Vishambhara, a collective helmed by textile skilled Purvi Patel it has Kolkata-based Ssaha Works and Chennai-based Aksh Weaves as companions. That is their third present and, in Kochi, they’ve collaborated with Bengaluru-based Tina Eapen who recreates the English rose motifs in saris in Kerala and Jaipur’s Shilpi who works with indigo dyes and Sanganer block prints for this present.

Chintz embroidery

“Vishambhara helps expert artisans with design interventions primarily based on historical past and analysis,” says textile skilled Purvi who works with 22 artisans in her studio in Bengaluru. Over three many years she has retraced and recreated early and mid-19th-century needlecraft. Kochi, she says, is an acceptable venue for a present on 17th-century chintz, as “ together with spices, textiles too had been traded from right here. The colonists had been patrons of chintz.”

Embroideries of yore

Purvi’s assortment is impressed by the 19th-century Baluchi tapestry and the Mochi and Kutchi nomadic embroidery. She has additionally discovered inspiration in artwork items on the Calico Museum in Delhi, the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) in London, and the Metropolitan Museum of Artwork (Met) in New York.

“Have a look at the mango motif in Indian tradition. There are such a lot of different variations of the mango, just like the elongated one, which finds expression because the paisley in European chintz.“ says Purvi.

The Purna Kumbha motif

The Purna Kumbha motif

Santipur weaves

Amitra Sudan Saha and his crew from Ssaha Works have been working with the weavers of Santipur, close to Kolkata, to revive the artwork of weaving, starching and dyeing. “Solely girls had been engaged in starching the handspun yarn, which was like a spider’s internet. Rice gruel was utilized to them and the threads then turned stiff as bone,” explains Amitra, including that Santipur saris and dhotis had been every day put on, recognized for his or her sturdiness.

Ssaha is showcasing the famed muslin jamdani to interrupt the parable of the Dhakai jamdani. Amitra says that muslin is “produced throughout your entire Brahmaputra belt, together with Bihar” and never simply in Dhaka. “It has numerous names like mulmul, nayansukh, khaddar…” Ssaha has revived the pre-Mughal motifs just like the  Lakshmi Ghot or the pot of lots. “Down the years, the motifs have had numerous variations, in line with the weaver’s creativeness. Amitra’s crew works with 150 group weavers, engaged within the 13 processes used to create a sari. “We began our restoration venture, Gunnavalli, after the pandemic.”

Coromandel coast textiles

Kodalikaruppur block print

Kodalikaruppur block print

For the previous six years, Shreya Mishra’s Chennai-based Aksh has labored to recreate the textiles of the Coromandel Coast. In Kochi, the crew is exhibiting the materials utilized by the Nayaka rulers of Thanjavur.

The Kodalikaruppur cloth — as soon as used as saris, turbans and dhotis — had restricted manufacturing between the 17th and 19th centuries, as they had been meant just for the royal household. With British rule, the royal looms had been stopped and among the materials and attire now exist solely as museum items within the Met, V&A, Philadelphia Museum of Artwork in Philadelphia, USA and the Calico Museum in Ahmedabad. “The speciality of the sari is that it’s hand drawn, like kalamkari, and resist-dyed on high of a jamdani,” explains Vipindas, co-founder, Aksh. “Now we have recreated the model and used block printing on it.”

The Aksh crew has additionally restored the Nayaka kalamkari that originated in Ariyalur and Thiruvidaimarudur once they obtained the GI tag in 2021.  “We recognized motifs within the European floral chintz,” says Vipin. They’re presently engaged on reviving a deep crimson that originated in Madurai. On present is their vary of saris, kurtis and materials.

The English rose

The English rose was a highly regarded motif on saris worn by churchgoers in Kerala. Tina Eapen remembers, “ I grew up watching these flowers embroidered on saris, and my assortment in pastel shades celebrates it ” The Bengaluru-based designer has recreated the motif on pure materials like Bhagalpuri linen, Chanderi and the Kerala kasavu and in addition created ‘good attire’ in Indo-Western type. 

Indigo, the blue gold

“Indigo, additionally referred to as ‘blue gold’, was a much-sought-after commodity between the 17th and 19th centuries,” says Brij Ballabh of Shilpi, the award-winning Jaipur-based textile model that works with indigo dyes and Sanganer block prints. In the present day, 80 lakh tonnes of artificial indigo are getting used globally. Brij, who has been researching pure indigo for eight years, says Shilpi’s focus is on sustainability and taking the normal Sanganeri printing ahead. Together with cloth and attire, he’s additionally showcasing indigo muffins to lift consciousness .

( At David Corridor in Fort Kochi till Might 20)

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