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

Do you know that Dhaka will not be the one place that produces muslin? Or that in Santipur, West Bengal, there’s a solution to starching yarn that turns the threads “as stiff as a bone”? These are a number of 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

Chintz embroidery

“Vishambhara helps expert artisans with design interventions based mostly 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-Nineteenth-century needlecraft. Kochi, she says, is an acceptable venue for a present on Seventeenth-century chintz, as “ together with spices, textiles too have been traded from right here. The colonists have been patrons of chintz.”

Embroideries of yore

Purvi’s assortment is impressed by the Nineteenth-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.

“Take 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 workforce 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 have 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 have been day by day put on, identified 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 all the 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 workforce works with 150 neighborhood weavers, engaged within the 13 processes used to create a sari. “We began our restoration undertaking, 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 workforce 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 Seventeenth and Nineteenth centuries, as they have been meant just for the royal household. With British rule, the royal looms have been stopped and a number of 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 prime of a jamdani,” explains Vipindas, co-founder, Aksh. “We now have recreated the model and used block printing on it.”

The Aksh workforce has additionally restored the Nayaka kalamkari that originated in Ariyalur and Thiruvidaimarudur once they received the GI tag in 2021.  “We recognized motifs within the European floral chintz,” says Vipin. They’re at present 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 recollects, “ 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 likewise created ‘sensible attire’ in Indo-Western fashion. 

Indigo, the blue gold

“Indigo, additionally known as ‘blue gold’, was a much-sought-after commodity between the Seventeenth and Nineteenth 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 standard Sanganeri printing ahead. Together with cloth and attire, he’s additionally showcasing indigo truffles to lift consciousness .

(At David Corridor in Fort Kochi till Could 20)

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