India’s extraordinary traditions in handmade textiles, often feared to be a vanishing heritage, are ravishingly back in the spotlight with London’s first major exhibition on them at the Victoria & Albert Museum. ‘The Fabric of India’, meticulously put together by V&A curators Rosemary Crill and Divia Patel, showcases about 200 objects attributed to a period from the 3rd century CE to contemporary fashion. Especially noteworthy are heirloom cloths crafted for religious worship and exquisitely opulent evidence of courtly patronage; textiles that shaped centuries of global trade and those that unified India in her struggle for sovereignty. There’s a Talismanic red and gold shirt in starched cotton dated to about 1480 CE- 1520 CE, a striking 1630 CE floorspread from the Coromandel Coast, and a North Indian woman’s gilded peshwaz from about 1800 CE. Many of the exhibits are on display for the first time. Fittingly, towering above the gallery is Tipu Sultan’s enormous 18th-century chintz tent, mordant-dyed, resist-dyed and block-printed in floral motifs.

What: ‘The Fabric of India’ exhibition
Where: London’s Victoria and Albert Museum
When:  October 3, 2015 to January 10, 2016
For more info www.vam.ac.uk



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