Quilts of India (Timeless Textiles)

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Item Code: NAK502
Author: Patrick J. Finn
Publisher: Niyogi Books
Language: English
Edition: 2014
ISBN: 9789381523933
Pages: 386 (Throughout Color Illustrations)
Cover: Hardcover
Other Details 12.5 inch x 10 inch
Weight 2.70 kg
Fully insured
Fully insured
Shipped to 153 countries
Shipped to 153 countries
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More than 1M+ customers worldwide
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100% Made in India
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23 years in business
Book Description
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About the Book


Quilts of India: Timeless Textiles is the first extensive survey of Indian quilts compiled in India or abroad. It identifies and explores the historic and contemporary context of quilt making, allowing the reader to share in the contextual relationship between this art and Indian society.


Over 400 photographs, captured in rural villages, museums and urban settings, present the richness of this pervasive textile tradition. From the simplest utility quilt to the most elaborate Indo- Portuguese coverlet, the book details the diverse designs, varied techniques and multiple uses of the twenty-five unique quilting genres discovered by the author during his four years of research.


Indian quilters are part of a living tradition that dates back 4,000 years to the Indus Valley Civilization. The spirit of their lives is recounted in fascinating stories and captivating portraits. The language of their quilts articulates the symbols and motifs familiar to these quilters and their communities.


Whether made for use in the home, to signify religious asceticism, or to be given as gifts, the quilts are infused with spiritual significance and folk meaning. The eclectic imagery not only draws upon a host of classic themes but also upon the objects and events of everyday life.


This pioneering book raises from obscurity the remarkable, yet largely overlooked, quilts of India as an important class of Indian textiles. Written for a general audience as well as the most ardent professional, the book provides an intimate look into the fabric of Indian life through quilt making.


About the Author


Patrick J Finn, author and acclaimed photographer, is an eclectic artist with a broad spectrum of professional experience who expresses an unprecedented passion for independent scholarship and learning. His art works are included in museum and private collections including the Albuquerque Museum of Art and the University of New Mexico's Harwood Museum. Mr. Finn divides his time between India and the United States researching and studying Indian culture. Most recently he published Notes to Myself Portraits in India and The View from Wolf Ridge.




Amongst the astonishing variety of textiles from India, humbler domestic objects such as quilts have often been overlooked. The charming embroidered kanthas of Bengal or the sophisticated chintz palampores made for the western market may have caught the attention of textile scholars and collectors, but there are many more quilts that have remained unnoticed and undocumented. Far more than just bedcovers, quilts can protect against arrows, symbolize religious asceticism or tell stories of saints and deities.


Variations on the simple gudri, with its lines of running stitch, appear across most of the subcontinent, bur other regional quilts like the sujani of Bharuch in Gujarat, with wadding inserted into double-weave pockets while on the loom, the ledra of Jharkhand with their dynamic designs derived from folk and rock art, or the sujani of Bihar with figurative designs illustrating the everyday life of the women who make them, show what a vibrant and varied a tradition quiltmaking still represents in India today. The most humble of materials can produce the most visually striking results. This combination of beauty with utility in everyday objects is a thread running through traditional Indian domestic culture, whether in clay, metal, wood or cloth, and the principle of recycling old cloth into quilts-the making of something new our of the old-has echoes the world over.


Folk stories involving domestic quilts or the patched and quilted robes of holy men suggest that the history of quilted cloth in India stretches further back than we can know. Early sculpture clearly showing quilted fabric dates back to the early centuries of the Christian era, while the oldest surviving quilts made for the first European settlers, the Portuguese, date from the sixteenth century. Most examples of quilting are for domestic rather than elite or export use, so few old pieces survive.


In this book, Patrick Finn's tireless fieldwork shows us how many of these traditions continue today, in some places as a result of the efforts of inspiring individuals who have kept traditions alive or revived old ones, bur in others as part of an unbroken history of quilt making and use. After travelling throughout India with him on his quest, we can share in his amazement and delight at arriving at a village to find a host of quilts laid our for airing in the sun, as if the villagers knew he was coming.




Quilting, patching and applique are some of the oldest forms of applied, techniques in textiles, possibly evolving from the need to preserve and conserve fabrics, which were considered a precious part of one's possessions.


The wrapper worn by the priest-like figure of the Indus Valley carries a trefoil motif, which represents the appliqué technique; design is inlaid (Fig. 262). Over millennia, the techniques associated with quilting have evolved and become closely linked with religious beliefs including recognizing the important protection provided by quilted cloth. The combining of cloths gathered from different sources increased the power of the users.


The Sanskrit verse quoted by iaz Zaman,


Sanaih kantha

Sanaih pantha

Sanaih parvata langhanam


"Slowly one stitches rags, slowly one traverses the path and slowly one climbs to the top of the mountain" connects us to the significance of the gathering of pieces of cloths, the rags, chindi and its connection to the deified Chindadeo and Chindadevi, the Lord of Tatters and the Lady of Tatters.


This book on quilts by Patrick Finn is one of the first to research and examine the subject in depth. Not only does the text deal with the historic background, but also the vast range of the techniques practiced throughout India. Each community, each region has its own distinct styles and these are well researched. Earlier scholars have dealt with the kantha, the Indo-Portuguese quilts, the dharkee and rallis of Gujarat, but no one has done such an extensive study, dealing with the rich diversity of this art and its significance in the daily lives of the people.


The richness of quilt symbolism is a repository of the wisdom of women and their deep links with the past. The embroidered quilt of the indigenous people of Gujarat, which occupies the central place in the rounded hut, is the powerful cloth, which protects their traditions, their family and their community. The magical carrier of the snake charmer is quilted and embroidered by using the snake skin and finishing with the sacred cowrie, sea shells, a mother's protective spell (Fig. 6).


This book will be a fascinating read for all of us.








Authors Note


Early Quilting










Uttar Pradesh






Madhya Pradesh

















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