Indian Textiles

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Item Code: NAB865
Author: John GillowNicholas Barnard
Publisher: Om Books International
Language: English
Edition: 2008
ISBN: 9788187108702
Pages: 224 (Illustrated Throughout In Fully Color)
Cover: Hardcover
Other Details 11.5 inch X 9.8 inch
Weight 1.60 kg
Fully insured
Fully insured
Shipped to 153 countries
Shipped to 153 countries
More than 1M+ customers worldwide
More than 1M+ customers worldwide
100% Made in India
100% Made in India
23 years in business
23 years in business
Book Description
From the Jacket

The production of textiles in India continues to flourish just as it has for many centuries. The interactions of peoples — indigenous tribes, invaders, traders, explorers — through history has built a culture legendary for its variety and colour. From the Ram of Kutch to the Coromandel Coast, from city and village, handloom weavers, block printers, painters, dyers and embroiderers are all creating the most extraordinary textiles.

This all—encompassing survey of textiles from every region of the Indian subcontinent runs the gamut of commercial, tribal and folk textiles. The authors first place them in context by examining the cultural background: the history, the materials and the techniques — weaving, printing, painting and tie- and—dye. They then give a detailed region—by—region account of traditional textile production, including chapters on Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. A dazzling array of images provides an unsurpassed visual representation of the textiles, While a detailed reference section with further reading, museums and information on technical terms completes this essential guide.

John Gillow is author of African Textiles and Traditional Indonesian Textiles and co-author of World Textiles, Arts and Crafts of India and The Traditional Architecture of Indonesia.

Nicholas Barnard is author of Living with Decorative Textiles and Living with Folk Art and co-author of Living with Kilims and African Majesty.


Thirty years ago, after one of those long, dusty, apparently endless train journeys so typical of India, I alighted at last at Bhuj railway station in the far north-west of the country.

There , I looked on to a walled, gated town, whose incongruous centerpiece was a Victorian Gothic tower – part of the Maharao’s place but better fitted to a public school in the English countryside. I walked through the main bazaar of Bhuj, past silver merchants and shops full to bursting with fine masbru satins and shawls. Jostling past me came Sidis of African descent, as well as Ahir and Rabari, Hindu herders in their mirror work costumes and ivory bangles, and Kanbi farming women with chain-stitch blouses and skirts. Stalkig through them all came tall and lean Jat Muslim herders, henna-bearded men in ajarakh block-printed turbans and lungis, and women wearing profusely embroidered tunics, heavy gold nose-rings and madder-dyed bandhani shawls and skirts. Here were communities and castes living side by side, at peace – and expressing their differences through colour and textiles.

In the workshops, I saw block printer and bandhani workers, weavers at pit looms producing mashru satins and dablo blankets for the herders and farmers. Later, in the villages, I saw interiors decorated with beadwork panels and hung with embroidered, pennanted bunting setting of highly polished brass pots and silverware, with furniture carved with the recurring patterns of flowers, birds and animals, all against walls decorated with a relief of mud sculpture, whitewashed and inset with mirrors.

No other land enjoys such a profession of creative energies for the production of textiles as the South Asian subcontinent. The interaction of peoples – invaders, indigenous tribes, traders and explorers – has built a complex culture legendary for its vitality and colour; today, over ten million weavers, dyers, embroiderers and spinners throughout India, Pakistan and Bangladesh contribute their handmade textiles to this melting pot.

From earliest trading records, it is clear that European, Asian and Levantine civilizations looked to India for her textiles. Greeks, Romans, Arabs, Persians and Chinese traded precious metals and silks for the fine and colorful cottons of the subcontinent. The special quality of the light cotton cloth, the embroidery techniques, the ability to respond with alacrity and sensitivity to the demands for new designs and patterns, as well as the fast nature of the colorful dyes, ensured that, until the European Industrial Revolution, India was the world’s foremost centre of textile production.

Today, the subcontinent has more than recovered from the disasters wrought by the flood of foreign power loom imports, Prom the Ram of Kutch to the Coromandel Coast, and from the deserts of Sind and Baluchistan to the North—West Frontier, and in the padi-bounded villages of Bangladesh the hand-loom weavers, block printers, textile painters, dyers and embroiderers work to continue the developing traditions of textile craft in the subcontinent. Indian Textile’s focuses on the twentieth-century development of this domestic and small workshop industry and is the first comprehensive survey of the handmade textiles of the whole of the South Asian subcontinent with special emphasis on the textiles of Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, establishing the historic links between their handmade textiles and those of modern India. Throughout the whole region, the histories of textile traditions are examined, the techniques of dyeing, weaving and embroidering are analysed and the subcontinent is traversed from region to region to explore and highlight the centres of traditional textile production. For the designer, traveller, student and collector, Indian Textiles is the essential guide to the most famous of all the crafts of the subcontinent.


Introduction 6
Chapter 1 The History of Textile Production 12
Chapter 2 The Materials Dyes 32. Yarn 39 30
Chapter 3 The Techniques of Textile Decoration Hand-woven Textiles45, Resist Dyeing 4, Printing and Painting 51 42
Chapter 4The West Embroidery 60, Appliqué 77, Beadwork 80, Ply-Split Camel Girths of Western Rajathan 83, Block Printing 84, Printed and Painted Textiles 88, Tie and-Dye Work 92, Brocade Weaving 102. 56
Chapter 5Pakistan Sind 106, Punjab 129, North-West Frontier Province and the North 134, Baluchistan 143. 104
Chapter 6The North Punjab and Haryana 150, Jammu and Kashmir 153, Himachal Pradesh 158, Uttar Pradesh 160 146
Chapter 7The East Bengal and Bihar 170, Assam and the Hill States of the North-East 174, Orissa 178 166
Chapter 8Bangladesh Jamdani Weaving 186, Kantha Quilting 187 184
Chapter 9The South Ikats of Andhra Pradesh 196, Kalamkari Work of South-Eastern India 198, The Silk Industry of Kanchipuram 204, Kerala, Karnataka, Goa and Maharashtra 206, Banjara Embroidery 207 192
Chapter 10 Sri Lanka 212
Bibliography 218, Museums and Galleries with Collections of Indian Textiles 219, Glossary 221, Sources of Illustrations 223, Index 224
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