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DECORATIVE DESIGN HISTORY IN INDIAN TEXTILES AND COSTUMES
Dr. Parul Bhatnagar Dayalbagh Educational Institute
ABHISHEKH PUBLICATIONS CHANDIGARH (INDIA)
Decorative Design History in Indian Textiles and costumes
Within the textile and costume industry there is a wealth of information regarding design styles and practices that is disseminated only by word of mouth. Many friends, colleagues, academicians and experts have kindly encouraged my belief that this material should be gathered comprehensively and accurately into a book; and it is with great joy and vast appreciation that I now try to thank them for so graciously and generously contributing their time and knowledge to its completion. Each can take credit for its success, none is responsible for its inadequacies; all have my profound gratitude. The Decorative design history of Indian Textiles and Costumes is derived from the rich Indian cultural heritage, which within recent years has received wide recognition throughout the world. Indian art has received some recognition from the hands of the scholars as well, but even this appreciation has been marred by hazy, nebulous, and mystic writings which strive to give it a philosophical background. However, this philosophical interpretation often denies to a universal audience an understanding of the core emotions and feelings that drove the creation of Indian art, cloaking it with an opaque coating of philosophical terms that hinder rather than help comprehension. For a complete picture of Indian culture, therefore, it is necessary that its material aspects should be investigated. There is no dearth of material of Indian civilization to make such an investigation, checked and supplemented by contemporary sculptures, paintings and other archaeological finds. I may be permitted to strike a word of caution in this connection: literature should not be given undue prominence in this search, since an author, however gifted, cannot actually help us visualize the creative object in as vivid a manner as a painter or sculptor, who therefore becomes more
Decorative Design History in Indian Textiles and costumes
reliable. Literary antiquarianism is good in its own way, but it should be avoided where more convincing proofs are at hand. Fortunately for the student of Indian art, India makes available a rich collection of beautifully decorative textiles in cotton, silk and wool. These costumes are rich in technique, diversified in fashion, and full of colour and pattern. These promise a wealth of understanding not possible through the written word alone. The beauty of an Indian costume lies in its richness of weaving, use of brilliant colours and skilful patterning. Much information visual evidence is found in stone, metal and wooden sculptures, frescoes and paintings on walls, palms, wood, cloth and paper. All these references give numerous examples of different decorative designs on Textiles and costumes used at different times. The most important and vivid of these pictures comes from the Mughal miniature paintings from the sixteenth century. For a connoisseur’s appreciation of the art, however, it becomes essential to understand the roots of our creativity, whose earliest available forms belong to the period between 642-320 B.C. For the early cultural history the Vedic literature including the Brahmanas, Upanishads and Sutras are important, and are succeeded by the Jatakas and Vinayapitaka in the later phase. These works provide us with a perspective on the role that art played even at that early an age, and a journey beginning at that time and leading to the present should create an understanding of Indian decorative design that is fundamentally strong, while also being a journey limned with joy and wonder. I wish you bon voyage! Dr. Parul Bhatnagar
Decorative Design History in Indian Textiles and costumes CONTENTS PREFACE 2 PLATES & FIGURES 5 EVOLUTION OF DESIGN CHAPTER-1 20 CHARACTERISTICS OF TEXTILES AND COSTUMES CHAPTER-2 40 ARTISTIC FORMS CHAPTER-3 104 ARCHIVES OF MUSEUMS AND DESIGN CENTRES CHAPTER-4 117 CONTEMPORARY DESIGN FORMS CHAPTER-5 134 FUTURE OF DECORATIVE DESIGN CHAPTER-6 156 BIBLOGRAPHY 167 4 .
Mordant.Decorative Design History in Indian Textiles and costumes PLATES & FIGURES 1 Painted Cotton A. Mordant-Dyed. 12 Block Printed Mordant Dyed 13 Block Printed Resist Dyed Sanganer 14 Block Printed Resist Dyed 18th century 15 Block Printed Resist Dyed 16 Block Printed Resist Dyed 17 Block Printed Resist Dyed 18 Block Printed Resist Dyed Sanganer 19 Block Printed Resist Dyed 18th century 20 Printed. 5 . 17-18th century 3 Block-printed. Fragment. Fragment. 1640-1650. Resist Fragment Rajasthan. Mordant-dyed. Mordant-dyed. Mordant-Dyed. Floor spread. 19th century 5 Printed. 19th century 8 Block Printed Mordant 9 Block Printed Mordant Dyed 10 Block Printed mordant Dyed 11 Block Printed Mordant Dyed. 19th century 7 Block-printed. 18th century 4 Block-printed. 19th century Resist 6 Block-printed. D. Mordant-dyed.tif 2 Painted.
Decca Late18th century 29 Block Printed Sanganer 30 Block Printed 31 Printed Embroidered Floral buties Choga 32 Zari Embroidery back of Choga Angarkha 33 Woven Jacket Early 19th century 34 Embroidered Choga 35 Woven Angarkha from Mughal Period 36 Woven Textiles from Angarkha Mughal Period 37 woven Blouse Late19th-early 20th century 38 Woven Coat 39 Woven Textiles 19th Century 40 Woven Cloth piece. Late 18th-early 19th century 23 Block-printed Ceremonial cloth Sanganer. Hanging.Decorative Design History in Indian Textiles and costumes 21 Block Printed Sanganer22 Block-printed. 17th Century 25 Block Printed Sanganer 26 Block Printed Sanganer 27 Block Printed Bahrampur18th century 28 Block-printed.Coverlet. Fragment. 19th century 24 Block-printed. Gujarat Late 19th century 6 .
Decorative Design History in Indian Textiles and costumes FIGURES Evolution of Design Ch1-1 Ornaments Ch1-2 Bust of a man. Indus Valley Ch1-14 Mohenjodaron Relic with Hansa Ch1-15 Ornaments Ch1-16 Buta 7 . Mohenjodaro Ch1-3 Floral naturalistic Design Ch1-4 Floral Design Ch1-5 Figure Design Ch1-6 Pre Historic Ch1-7 Pre Historic Ch1-8 Pre Historic Ch1-9 Pre Historic Ch1-9a Paisley Ch1-9b Insertion Paisley Ch-1-10 Decorative Design Ch1-11 Mohenjodaro Relic Geometric Ch1-12 Mohenjodaro Relic with geometrical design Ch1-13 Floral motif on Pottery remain.
Banni & Rabari Ch1-29 Floral boarder Ch1-30 Leaf stylised Design Ch1-31 Floral creeper Ch1-32 Floral creeper Ch1-33 Floral creeper Ch1-34 Stylised floral motif Ch1-35 Kasuti Elephant Motif Ch1-36 Kasuti boarder Ch1-37 Kasuti Temple Motif Ch1-38 Jamdani Woven Boarder 8 . Banni & Rabari Ch1-27 Borders for Ahir. Banni & Rabari Ch1-26 Borders for Ahir. Banni & Rabari Ch1-24 Borders for Ahir. Banni & Rabari Ch1-25 Borders for Ahir.Decorative Design History in Indian Textiles and costumes Ch1-17 Stylized Floral Bail Ch1-18 Floral Design Ch1-19 Ajanta Mural Ch1-20 Figure Design Ch1-21 Fusion of art Ch1-22 Turban Ch1-23 Borders for Ahir. Banni & Rabari Ch1-28 Borders for Ahir.
Decorative Design History in Indian Textiles and costumes Ch1-39 Tangil Woven Boarder Ch1-40 Ikat Woven Boarder Ch1-41 Ikat Woven and Resist Boarder Ch1-42 Ikat Resist Boarder Ch1-43 Gujarat Peacock Ch1-44 Palampore1760 Flowering Tree design Ch1-45 Mezzaro Palampore Ch1-46 Ikat Rudraksha Motif Ch1-47 Ikat Elephant Motif Ch1-48 Phase Ch1-49 Historical Phase Ch1-50 Prehistoric Phase 1 Ch1-51 Paisley Characteristics of Textiles and Costumes Ch2-1Decorative Design Ch2-2 Embroidered Border Kutch Gujarat Ch2-3 Peacock Found in Mauryan Buddhist Sculpture Ch2-4 Peacock Ch2-5 Parrot Ch2-6 Kamal or Lotus bud 9 .
Chulakoka Devata from Barhut.Decorative Design History in Indian Textiles and costumes Ch2-7 Jasmine Woven Motif Ch2-8 Banaras Ch2-9 Paisley motif Ch2-10 Shikar garh Ch2-11 Sculpture Dhoti with Curves Ch2-12 Prehistoric cave Paintings Ch2-13 Dhoti 1172 AD. Design Ch2-25 Jain Manuscript Inspiration Ch2-26 Dhoti with crisscross floral Jain manuscript Ch2-27 Dhoti with Crisscross.D. C.1st cent. Ch2-19 1171 AD Ch2-20 Dhoti Inspired from Jain Manuscript Ch2-21Inspiration from Gandhara Sculpture Ch2-22 Illustrations from Jatak Ch2-23 Check 1172 AD Ch2-24 1171 A. Ch2-17 Persian influence Banaras Ch2-18 Yakshi. Jain Manuscript Ch2-28 Dhoti with Check 10 . B.C. Lotuses Ch2-14 Seventh Century Ch2-15 Dhoti with Ajanta cave painting design Ch2-16 Flowing lyrical draperies 2nd century B.
ornaments 11 . Dhoti with half circles Ch2-31 Jain manuscript Ch2-32 Design found on Ajanta fresco Ch2-33 Petelled flower Daccani Costume Ch2-34 Bust of a bearded man Mohenjodaro Ch2-35 Design style for a bridle sari Ch2-36 Ninth Century Ch2-37 Geese Motifs from Ajanta frescos Ch2-38 Lion cloth Ch2-39 Chequered Sari Ch2-40 Half sari with floral motif Ch2-41 Sari with choli Ch2-42 Dhoti only on lower part Ch2-43 Dhoti Choli and ornaments Ch2-44 Bird design on Sari Ch2-45 Design from a Sculpture Ch2-46 Female costume with Persian Influence Ch2-47 Persian influence Banaras Ch2-48 Floral circular design.Decorative Design History in Indian Textiles and costumes Ch2-29 Dhoti with circles Ajanta Wall paintings Ch2-30 Jain Manuscript. chunnari. dupatta dhoti Ch2-49 Costume design from sculpture Ch2-50 Female dressed in sari.
D.sutra. Rimmed rosette in circle Ch2-56 Head gears Ch2-57 Motif on Jama Ch2-58 Lady drapped with designed sari Ch2-59 Geometric and circular designes Dhoti Ch2-60 Floral and geometric design Ch2-61 Saris. Ch2-72 Design from sculpture for head 12 . Kalpa.Decorative Design History in Indian Textiles and costumes Ch2-51 Hermit Ch2-52 Warrier Ch2-53 Gandhara Period Female Dress Ch2-54 Lady from a high status Ch2-55 1171 AD.D Ch2-65 Goddess Ambika. Ch2-64 Devotee.D. D.1430 A. Kalpa. 1475.D. elaborate girdles and dupattas. Ch2-66 Warrior. Neminatha Charita. Ch2-68 Kalaka with Sahi king. 15th cent.d.D. 1241 A. 1370-1400 A.D Ch2-70 Mrigavata 1525-1575 A. Kapla Sutra. 1241 A. Ch2-69 King and Queen. Ch2-62 Designed Kurta & Dhoti Ch2-63 Sikandar Namah. Ch2-71 Bhavishya Datta Katha. Neminatha Charita. 1425 A. 1420. D.1500 A. Ch2-67 Warrior Bala gopala Stuti 1450 A. 1370-1400 A. Devasana pado.Sutra.
D. Ch2-77 Lady wearing costume foe dance Ch2-78 Head gear Ch2-79 Chaurapanchashika.Decorative Design History in Indian Textiles and costumes Ch2-73 Chandayana 1525.D. Ch2-80 Kurta Ch2-81Turban Ch2-82 Textiles made of Muslin Ch2-83 Bel Circles Ch2-84 Kurta with Cover Ch2-85 Kurta & Dupatta Ch2-86 Chaurapanchashika Style Ch2-87 Kurta Ch2-88 Mughal style costumes Ch2-89 Head wear Mughal Period Ch2-90 Patka Ch2-91 Mughal Period Ch2-92 14th-15th Century Ch2-93 Ghagra with design Ch2-94 Daccani Costumes 13 .D.1575 A. Delhi 1525-1575 Ch2-76 Sikandar Namah. 1425 A. 1525-1575 A.D. Ch2-74 Chaurapanchashika 1525-1575 A. Ch2-75 Chandayana.
Decorative Design History in Indian Textiles and costumes Ch2-95 Daccani Costumes Ch2-96 Daccani costume with design Ch2-97 Daccani costume with design Artistic Forms Ch3-1 Embroidery of Banjara Tribe Ch3-2 Embroidered wall hanging Gujarat Ch3-3 Stylized Floral Design Ch3-4 Paisley shape Floral Design Ch3-5 Buffalo head gear Ch3-6 Floral Design Ch3-7 Door hanging Ch3-8 Buffalo head gear Ch3-9 Persian influence Ch3-10 Woven Paisley design Ch3-11 Artistic form Ch3-12 Grapevine movement Ch3-13 Grapevine movement Ch3-14 Door Hanging Gujarat Ch3-15 fruit leaf Design Ch3-16 Bird. fruit Design 14 .
leaf motif Ch3-20 Banaras Ch3-21 Bootie. Archives of Museums and Design Centres Ch4-1 Weaver’s Service Centre Varanasi Ch4-2 Weaver’s Service Centre Mumbai Ch4-3 Calico Museum of Textiles Ahemdabad Ch4-4 Calico Museum of Textiles Ahemdabad Ch4-5 Rajkot Museum Gujarat Ch4-6 Calico Museum of Textiles Ahemdabad Ch4-7 Calico Museum of Textiles Ahemdabad Ch4-8 Bhuri singh Museum Bhuj Gujrat Ch4-9 Bhuri singh Museum Bhuj Gujrat Ch4-10 Regional Design Center Mumbai Ch4-11 Regional Design Center Kolkata Ch4-12 Regional Design Center Okhla Delhi Ch4-13 Central Handicrafts development center Ch4-14Central Handicrafts development centre 15 . Western Region.Decorative Design History in Indian Textiles and costumes Ch3-17 Bird motif Ch3-18 Foliage Design Ch3-19 Floral.
Decorative Design History in Indian Textiles and costumes
Ch4-15 All India Handloom Board Ch4-16 Weaver’s Service Centre Delhi Ch4-17 Weaver’s Service Centre Mumbai Ch4-18 Weaver’s Service Centre Varanasi Contemporary Design Forms Ch5-1 Floral Design Ch5-2 fish Ch5-3 Floral Design Ch5-4 Floral Design Ch5-5 Floral Design Ch5-6 Floral Design Ch5-7 Floral Design Ch5-8 Floral Design Ch5-9 Kolam Design South Ch5-10 Fish Paisley style motifs Ch5-11 Grapevine Ch5-12 Grapes Ch5-13 Paisley Ch5-14 Mughal influence Ch5-15 Motifs for Ahir, Banni & Rabari
Decorative Design History in Indian Textiles and costumes
Ch5-16 Animals and birds Ch5-17 Animals and birds Ch5-18 Stylized Paisley motif Ch5-19 Design West Bengal Ch5-20 Peacock Leaf design Ch5-21Parrot flower Design Ch5-22 Peacock flower Design Ch5-23 Peacock, Leaf end Flower Design Ch5-24 Geometrical Bengal Motif Ch5-25 Flower and Leaf Design Ch5-26 Paisley and Leaf Design Ch5-27 Chikan embroidered boarder Ch5-28 Calico Museum Collection Ch5-29 Kothal Gujarat Ch5-30 Wall Painting Maharastra Warli Ch5-31 Mandana design
Future of Decorative Design Ch6-1 line work Ch6-2 line work
Decorative Design History in Indian Textiles and costumes
Ch6-3 Baluchar Outline Ch6-4 Baluchar Outline Ch6-5 Fish sketch Ch6-6 sketch Ch6-7 Contemporary Geometrical Ch6-8 Peacock Ch6-9 Paisley motifs Ch6-10 Peacock Ch6-11 Peacock Ch6-12 Peacock Ch6-13 Sketch Ch6-14 Sketch Ch6-15 Bird Ch6-16 Mandana Ch6-17 Madhubani Ch6-18 Motifs for Ahir, Banni & Rabari Ch6-19 Paisley motifs Ch6-20 Contemporary elephant
Decorative Design History in Indian Textiles and costumes EVOLUTION OF DESIGN Chapter-1 19 .
of the earliest peasant settlers and of the urban dwellers of the Harappan culture. Figure 3 The Indian village of today bears little resemblance to its predecessor of about four thousand years ago. while forming part of a continuous chain of development. or to bolster the ideology of social structures by the production of ritual textiles and costumes.Decorative Design History in Indian Textiles and costumes EVOLUTION OF DESIGN CHAPTER-1 Textiles have been produced in India since antiquity. Even the earliest villages reflect the transition to a class society. rather than as an art form. The creation and development of Indian textile has a pre-historic origin. all design was functional or. one might say. Yet the bulk of early styles of 20 . Not only prior to. is in each case comprehensible only when considered in the context of changing economic and social Figure 2 circumstances. but also during the earlier phases of the class society. One reason is that cloth has long been regarded solely as an article of consumption. no matter whether its object was to give aesthetic shape to articles of everyday use. However. and designs are lost through everyday wear and tear. the design of the hunters and food gatherers. very few of the old designs still exist. utilitarian. Figure 1 Needless to say.
Practically no aspect of village culture or tribal life remained untouched as cultural exchanges and reciprocal influences of all kinds. painted dyed and printed textiles. while the south is divided longitudinally by mountain ranges into a central tableland flanked by coastal strips to east and west. Figure 4 Figure 5 Another characteristic factor. As time went on. and consequently with the culture of the great temple complexes and the royal courts which represented the then prevailing phase of Indian high art. 21 . the cultural isolation of most of the villages decreased in proportion to their growing contacts with the towns. is that country’s geography. It is similarly divided into northern and southern zones by mountain ranges. the north Figure 6 deriving its character from the Ganges and the extensive plain formed by that river.. however. In the cultural and historical sense India constitutes a vast subcontinent of strongly contrasting physical features and corresponding variations in climate. Thousands of kilometres separate the Himalayas at the northern extremity from Kanya Kumari. may be described as genuine traditional art in the original sense of the term.Decorative Design History in Indian Textiles and costumes costumes or village artefacts. which played an equally important role in the decorative design history of India over several thousand years of development. agronomy and settlement potential. the southernmost tip of the subcontinent that is laterally intersected by great rivers. most of which flow from west to east. such as embroidered.
the Indian subcontinent has seen the rise of distinctive provinces and states. It was their fine creative instincts and extraordinary skill that gave Indian Textiles their remarkable beauty. designers in India belonged to various regional schools throughout the country. but the study of the concept of Figure 9 patterns. each with its own cultural history and specific characteristics. It is not merely the copying of patterns created by the designer. On the other hand. The study of Indian textiles and costumes is an independent discipline. it is as it were a reservoir rather than a conduit.Decorative Design History in Indian Textiles and costumes Figure 7 Yet physical barriers in the shape of mountains and oceans have to a large extent preserved India’s geographical unity and integrity. the essential element for its success is the originality of treatment. this is only possible when the designers adopt original designs in its production. Mesolithic and Neolithic eras. Figure 8 For centuries. In ancient times. By comparison with neighbouring countries. which reflect the artistic mood of the designer dealing with Decorative designs. it has acquired a relatively stable and independent civilization thanks to five thousand years of urban cultural development since the Harappan period and to the infinitely longer space of time that has elapsed since the cultural phases of the Palaeolithic. The design must be sound artistically. 22 . Indian Textiles have been admired for their great aesthetic and functional qualities.
Its origins go back Figure 11 Figure 10 to the art of primitive society. Textiles. while its persistence is attested to what is a by no means rare manifestation. evinced a continuity that has survived every historical. bonded. as it is known. of unimaginable antiquity. braided. socio-economic and political development to produce an art that is specifically Indian.Decorative Design History in Indian Textiles and costumes Definition of Design The Indian arts and design. “to weave” originally applied to woven fabrics. the history and characteristic features of design will be seen to have played a singularly important role. with the creator often unknown. and threads as well as the woven. bears the unmistakable stamp of an achievement that is not only ancient and indigenous. In this process. Decorative or creative design is an arrangement of a piece of design form passed down through oral tradition. and embroidered fabrics made from as well as to non woven fabrics produced by mechanically or chemically bonding fibers. tufted. yarns. but now also applied to natural and synthetic filaments. Figure 12 23 . but also notably creative. have over the millennia and up till the present day. Traditional art. felted. knotted. generic term from Latin texere. knitted.
very often. Design—the vast multiplicity of expression beyond being a mere decorative assemblage—has the magical potencies of exploration. Traditional designs were prepared on paper by the naqash (artist). which relieves monotony and beautifies the fabric. to be subsequently copied by craftsmen and executed in whichever material had been selected. It absorbs the entire gamut of social surroundings. or by an imposed design printed on the surface. and colour distribution to be realized by various Figure 14 Figure 15 24 . It was a unique quality of Indian Figure 13 textiles that. the separate abilities and skills involved in the design and making of an object were divided between craftsmen of varying degrees of specialization and skill. Thus the designer or master craftsman visualized the complete design indicating details of form. The design may be made up of the colour and visual appearance of the dyed fabric or it may be figured by weave and coloured threads. proportion.Decorative Design History in Indian Textiles and costumes Traditional Design is the method of special treatment of the textile in its usual arrangement and appearance for decoration.
and what components made up the centre of the flower. The arrangement of the visual elements of an object or a work of art is called a design. These drawings were not realistic flowers completely. A good design shows an orderly arrangement of the material used and in addition creates beauty in the product. Figure 16 Figure 17 25 . for the past several hundred years. Plant drawing is difficult. Also. A design with flowers or other plants as motifs have been the most common of the traditional designs. therefore. The traditional artist made careful studies to see and understand how the petals grew from the stem. but the stylized patterns had the complete understanding of the form. They have been realistic or stylized. many artisans have relied on familiar. Figure 18 Motif is a very general term to describe any number of details of a work of art which are recognizable as a repeat unit.Decorative Design History in Indian Textiles and costumes specialists. how leaves were attached. stylized floral forms. it is important to note that flowers have not been associated with any negative ideas as designs of some sort of animals have. More commonly it refers to the arrangement of visual elements and most often the arrangement in decorative objects.
It is formed by arranging ornaments next to each other in horizontal rows. A border fabric is used in garments or draperies with the border around the hem. using a floral grouping. The border usually includes a wide band of repeating design called the main border and subsidiary border called the guard border.Decorative Design History in Indian Textiles and costumes Border is probably the oldest way of decorating. Even the Rig Veda refers to the shining gold woven cloaks. Traditional designs thus placed are given various names of the layout. or above or below each other in vertical lines. Figure 21 Figure 20 Figure 19 A large pattern. The design can be placed in various layouts on the textiles depending on the usage of form or style. A border is focused along one selvedge with a ground extending to the other selvedge. fabrics with pearl woven borders. Figure 22 26 . A border is a design around the edge and enclosing the field.
When pictures of recognizable objects which were usually boldly drawn and brightly coloured make up the pattern. Transitional designs are almost contemporary. Transitional is also used as a term for interior textile floral patterns that do not represent any particular historical style. be used in any setting or on any style of furniture. To classify. a transitional piece shows floral and leaf forms rendered as brushstroke like marks to yield this bridge between realistic and completely non-figurative designs. A documentary is a design derived from a specific Figure 25 Figure 24 27 . simple geometric or designs with Figure 23 simple.Decorative Design History in Indian Textiles and costumes realistically consisting of many types of flowers combined in a large spray is called botanical. Where a contemporary pattern would be suitable only on very simple furniture. or other popular motifs. These motifs may be repeated in a pattern as completely separate elements. extremely stylized motifs like calligraphic brushstrokes. and can in theory. or more stylized motifs are worked in a botanical layout. but the stylized motifs are not as starkly simple and may have recognizable naturalistic motifs. then these were called Figurative designs. are typical contemporary motifs.
Textile designing has evolved over the course of the last few decades in a very scientific and systematic way. the original is given credit. however. Young girls and boys learnt the art from their older generations. Most of the motifs were influenced from the life existing all around. Therefore. Its creation is the result of a collective effort of different Figure 28 28 . There were no pattern books or diagrams up to the beginning of the 20th century. A designer may take a group of fabrics from a museum and develop up-to-date patterns from the historic textiles. Often a museum licenses the right to reproduce textiles from its collection as well as the museum’s name. The design for the end product is as important as Figure 26 the aesthetic standards in use of tasteful and innovative colour. thus the birth of different styles of design occurred at different places in India. The new pattern may be a loose interpretation of the document. Figure 27 Decorative design in Indian Textiles is an art complete in itself.Decorative Design History in Indian Textiles and costumes style or even from a certain fabric. if the new design is very close to the original. The surroundings and weather played a vital role in producing a balanced and harmonious colour composition. Creative designing is a process where the designer plays with the arrangement of line. form and colour to create beauty in the end product. a full understanding of the technique of weaving or printing is essential.
For the development of decorative Design. song and literature. creepers. Various elements ranging from raw materials to finishing processes play their part. animals. the understanding of Art. Man observed nature and tried to understand how nature absorbed various units into one homogenous unit. The basis of woven brocade designs was gold and silver. is very important. Indian weavers in the 17th Century understood the correlation of the design with the material. intricately woven tissues and richly patterned gold brocades and flowered muslins were their monopoly. birds. which were suitably stylised in keeping with the nature of the fabric or technique used. he tried to apply the laws of nature to decorate his clothing and other articles of use. sprays. Such motifs Figure 29 included flowers.Decorative Design History in Indian Textiles and costumes sections of the textile industry. dance. music. floral motifs played an important part. plants. and worked up either as round wire. human forms and snowflakes were used as motifs for 29 . etc. Figure 30 which is the product of a deep-rooted urge to give expression to one’s emotions through rhythmic patterns in painting. or silver-gilt wire drawn to an extreme tenacity. After studying nature. or flattened into bands and thongs. reptiles. sprigs. In decorative designs. Different types of flowers. and processors at each stage know fully the final requirements.
helping them to fulfill their urge for expressing their love for beauty. the colour and grace of dancing birds. Figure 33 The floral and plant motifs offer unlimited scope to textile designers. They held flowers in veneration and the poets have sung their praise. perfume and lovely cocktails of colours. The sparkle of the green fields. Flowers being familiar are easy to draw and are reproduced by the designers and artisans. Nature in all its winsomeness surrounds Figure 31 the rural man and woman. The history of decorating the different fabrics worn by man follows very closely the history of man from the time he first took shelter in caves. has always tried to give expression to his artistic instinct. Nature has indeed endowed flowers with multiple attractions-exquisite forms and structure.Decorative Design History in Indian Textiles and costumes decoration from time to time. animals moving in the woods are all redolent with bright inspiration and give the design consciousness a special character. after satisfying the basic needs to keep himself alive. Man. the charm of flowers has captured the artistic sensibility of the people. Figure 32 30 . From times immemorial.
C). silk and wool are the major raw materials used for hand-woven textiles right from the period of the Indus Valley Civilization (circa 2700-1500 B. Greek. However. miniature paintings and stone. bronze and terracotta sculptures.). etc.Decorative Design History in Indian Textiles and costumes The Indian arts and design. evinced a continuity that has survived every historical. Ain-e-Akbari. Harashaeharita. along with Ajanta murals. In this process. Buddhist and Jain texts. the history and characteristic features of design were seen to have played a singularly important role. Besides excavations. European). literary references (epic. Needles. The early references to woolen fabrics come from Vedic literature (circa 1500900 B. but also notably creative. epigraphic inscriptions. of unimaginable antiquity. depiction of stylistic drapery on a stone sculpture of a bearded priest found from Mohenjodaro is the important evidence of a shawl. as it is known. spindles.). are clear evidence of 31 . bears the unmistakable stamp of an achievement that is not only ancient and indigenous. Traditional art. have over the millennia and up till the present day. cotton. and a madder-dyed cotton fragment from Mohenjodaro are the earliest evidences of cotton and silk. Tibetan. travelers’ accounts (Chinese. Its origins go back to the art of primitive society. Figure 35 Figure 36 In India.C. Figure 34 socio-economic and political development to produce an art that is specifically Indian.
its colour chemistry and variety of innovative designs and styles. rituals. Colours always had a special place in India’s weaves. which bound people to specific occupations and thus ensured the continuity of the Figure 37 Figure 39 textile craft. Several factors facilitated the production of quality textiles.Decorative Design History in Indian Textiles and costumes the continuity of the Indian textile tradition. From literary references dating back to the sixth century B. also helped in the manufacture of certain textiles for specific occasions.D. like all other crafts. design and fabric. The important discovery of painted and printed. Besides decoration. they are suffused with emotional meaning and also richly associated with customs. one of the most important being the structure of India’s ancient caste system and the traditional joint family. to royal Kharkhanas established in the reign of Emperor Akbar. resist-dyed cotton textiles from Fustat. ceremonies and festivals. Besides the social structure. Figure 38 32 . textile weaving goes a long way in terms of texture of fabrics. Egypt. Practically every social group has its own preferences and norms in colour.C. confirm the trade connections between India and Egypt during the fourteenth to fifteenth centuries A.. the religious sentiments. 1556--1605.
dyes. They adopted these vivid patterns in their Figure 40 weaving or in a specialized form of dyeing. Interestingly. with silk known as 33 . The textile craftsmen had always adopted several techniques to enrich their art and craft. boats and steam engines in Bengal weaving. ikat techniques. and court scenes. In woven textiles. The vast field of Indian textiles can be divided technically into two groups—woven and plain. Orissa and Andhra Pradesh. chinar tree in Kashmir. the patterns are Figure 42 created by transfixing the warp in between the weft on the loom itself. as a result. colours and patterns. motifs. which were Figure 41 used in Gujarat. only in terms of material. differ from each other. This is reflected in the creation of fish and flowing streams in Orissan weaving.Decorative Design History in Indian Textiles and costumes For creating the variety of designs. often with a long continuous tradition behind them. weavers were always inspired by their environment. sometimes the same techniques were followed in different states of India with slightly changed forms. Indian weavers are masters at weaving the desired patterns with cotton in the form of Jamdani. parrot in Gujarat. there was a great variety of textiles available in India. For instance.
they do not contribute to our traditional art and culture. in the form of shawl. India has been the germinating ground of a variety of aesthetic expressions. our traditional art forms are facing a slow death. instead there are efforts to copy the western culture. resist-dyeing and different types of regional embroideries. Western artists. Today. However. look to our traditional art for ideas and utilise them to cross–fertilise their existing art forms. India is very rich in its cultural heritage. dyeing or embroidering. and may actually be digressing from the basic expression or pattern of Indian art. The popular view is not of living with our traditions. as Zari brocade and on wool. and get their decoration later in the form of printing. as in Kalamkari. Historically. Despite this. Plain textiles are those which are woven plain. It saw the growth of important schools in the fine arts. Besides it experienced a constant flow of ideas between northern and southern India. these attributes intermingle and are now being recognized as the strong form of decorative designs for textiles. Figure 43 The beautiful colours and designs of Indian textiles would hold a special appeal for the modern generation. on the other hand.Decorative Design History in Indian Textiles and costumes Baluchari. in doing so. Figure 44 34 .
painted on the walls of rock shelters. whereas the palampore was rectangular. in India for export to Europe. thereby cutting off the topmost branches.Decorative Design History in Indian Textiles and costumes Palampore a flowering-tree design made around 1760 A. This example. but square. One of the earliest groups of pictures. It appears that the designer was so intent on faithfully Figure 45 copying an actual palampore that he failed to adapt the flowering tree to the proportions of a mezzaro. we have some fairly reliable material. Many of the early accounts are far from accurate and poorly illustrated.D. but due to a number of more recent publications. Before long. The mezzaro was an Italian block-printed imitation of the Indian palampore. is from the second quarter of the nineteenth century. like most surviving pieces. however. these creatures were joined by human figures. airy feel of the pattern suggested that this hand-painted cotton hanging was intended for France or England. The white background and the delicate. for the most part depicted 35 . is devoted in its Figure 46 initial phase exclusively to representations on a vast scale of such animals as the elephant and the wild ox.
for example. a white border appeared. the peacock. The inner surfaces. were subsequently filled with abstract combinations of geometrical lines. initially left blank. which to this day has remained the favourite of the Indian Figure 48 designer. what strikes us first is the predominance of certain animals. for instance. bows and arrows. harpoons. Also in evidence is a predilection for one species of bird. axes. by virtue of their association with the animals. to lose their popularity. determined by the form of representation. The buffalo and tiger. Changes in a society’s mode of existence also brought about changes in the content and import of the pictures. the Indian elephant. 36 . though adapted to changes of subject matter. clubs. their stones. rowing-sticks. the artistic Figure 47 characteristics of which recur at a later date. In the case of other typically Indian animal motifs. so much favoured by the early rock painters. probably intended to represent hunters. in course of time. All we have for purposes of comparison are a few means of expression.Decorative Design History in Indian Textiles and costumes in the form of simple line drawings and. men with their primitive hunting implements. Later on. On examining the early rock paintings with a view to discovering details of this nature. begin. The earlier phases are distinguished by drawings casually outlined in subdued reddish brown paint. continuity tends to be limited.
consisting of swastikas and rows of I-shaped motifs. within the outline of one animal. the extremities of which are occasionally given animal’s heads. Commonly. as do some isolated renderings of the swastika. cannot unfortunately be dated with any accuracy. no clearly recognizable symbols for mountains or water have come to light while representations of plants occur only very Figure 49 rarely in the early stylistic phases of rock art. A very fine double labyrinth would be of the utmost interest if it could be accurately dated.Decorative Design History in Indian Textiles and costumes There are also numerous so-called X-ray pictures in which. We may assume that they belong to the later phase of primitive rock art. Other patterns worthy of note are opposed triangles as well as a comb-like motif. Other repeat designs. Although the cart. Figure 50 As yet. these are line drawings of triangles and other geometrical motifs. a conveyance drawn by buffaloes or 37 . we may discern the figure of another.
Decorative Design History in Indian Textiles and costumes oxen. mere decorative adjuncts to the composition. unconsidered forms. As educational standards rose. Figure 51 38 . they have become incidental. illustrations of that vehicle would appear to go back as far as the later phases of prehistory. was still a stranger to the world of the earliest hunters and food gatherers. the conventions of the verbal traditions inevitably impinged on the visual traditions. Thus they constitute the earliest and most enduring stock of Indian artistic forms. The result has been a gradual transition to a kind of illustrative presentation. Horse and rider occur later still. and are transformed into apparently arbitrary. While the earlier elements of the visual tradition are still in evidence. belonging as they do to the period of a developed class society. The visual tradition has not remained uninfluenced by social developments. many of them of an almost abstract nature.
Decorative Design History in Indian Textiles and costumes CHARACTERISTICS OF TEXTILES AND COSTUMES Chapter-2 39 .
Decorative Design History in Indian Textiles and costumes
CHARACTERISTICS OF TEXTILES AND COSTUMES CHAPTER-2 The cultural development of India spans a period of more than ten thousand years. From the beginning, the art of the royal courts and temple towns has played a constant and important role. The influence of Decorative design upon textiles and costumes remains no less potent today than in the past. In its preference for line drawing and designs on textiles, Indian art is distinctive. Another important and clear characteristic of design is its marked tendency to return again and again to the same styles, images and motifs, ranging from themes of nature, symbols, to visual interpretations. The depth of religious experience also shows Figure 2 its profound influence on design. Many design motifs, and styles have their own stories, the meaning of which varies in accordance with changed historical circumstances; therefore, it reflects tastes and preferences, fashions and requirements of the groups of patrons, through variations in forms and styles.
Decorative Design History in Indian Textiles and costumes
The peacock was painted on Indus Valley burial pots dating back to the third millennium B.C. and its depiction in tribal art indicated origins that may predate Indus Valley. Peacocks were found in Mauryan Buddhist sculpture, Gupta-period artefacts, Mughal miniatures, and in present-day wall paintings, carvings, and textiles. They were also used as metaphors in Sanskrit and modern literature. Although it is hard to say if it had the same symbolism in every age, the peacock was found in the arts of most post-Indus cultures, indicating that it remained a potent Figure 3 symbol. The peacock is now India's national bird. It symbolizes immortality, love, courtship, fertility, regal pomp, war, and protection.
The parrot or tota, a symbol of courtship and passion, is seen in Indian art mostly in company of Krishna and Radha, Hinduism’s most famous lovers. Depictions of the parrot in textiles were almost exclusively western Indian. The goose or hansa was common in Indian art prior to Mughal times, but afterwards, it has disappeared. It appeared in Indus Valley pottery, the murals at Ajanta, and on a 15th century fragment found in Al-Fostat, Egypt, that came from India. In Buddhist illustrations, it represented Spiritual Purity.
Decorative Design History in Indian Textiles and costumes
The Kamal or lotus is another complex and enduring symbol of both Buddhism and Hinduism. It was the seat on which pantheons of both religions rested, representing their spiritual power and authority. It also symbolized the material world, and its depiction of petals in mandalas represents the multiplicity of the universe. It also symbolized prosperity and material wealth, associated intimately with the goddess Sri Lakshmi. It may be Indo-Aryan in origin, because it did not appear anywhere in Indus Valley artefacts.
Other floral motifs include the jasmine. A six-petaled flower appeared on pottery remains from the Indus Valley. But hardly any flowers Figure 8 appeared in the paintings in Ajanta. Flowers became a popular decorative element in Islamic India. Floral vine patterns or bels were a Mughal influence. The Mughals adored gardens and surrounded their buildings with them. Another group of floral motifs was the small buti, floating design shapes of flowers, sprigs, or bushes against a plain background. Floral buti first appeared in North and East Indian sculpture. Such elements in clothing depicted in the Ajanta murals suggested block-printing and dyeing techniques. While the motifs may have been indigenous to North India, it was adapted for expensive figured fabrics worn by Muslim elites and given its Persian name. The paisley became such an important motif in a wide range of Indian textiles that it is hard to imagine that it is only about 250 years old. It evolved from 17th century floral and tree-of-
Decorative Design History in Indian Textiles and costumes
life designs that were created on expensive tapestry woven for Mughal textiles. Early designs depicted single plants with large flowers and thin wavy stems, small leaves and roots. As the designs became denser over time, more flowers and leaves were compacted within the shape of the tree, or a pair of leaves. By late 18th century, the typical curved point at the top of an oval outline had evolved. The complicated paisley created on Kashmir shawls became the vogue in Europe for over a century, and it was imitations of these shawls woven in factories at Paisley, Scotland, that gave it its name. It resembled a mango. Rural Indians called the paisley an aam or mango, a symbol of fertility. The hunting scene or shikar usually features men, horses, elephants, tigers, rabbits, deer, peacocks, parrots, and other animals between branches and leaves. Often made for the Portuguese market, it could have derived from later Safavid lampas textiles Figure 9 with similar subjects. Older predecessors include a fragment from Al Fostat -- a horsewoman, dog, and mythological beast battling a boar--probably a Gujarati myth about the mother goddess Khodiar, a warrior goddess similar to Durga. ‘Clothes are natural to man, and are his proper decoration,’ said the sage Eric Gill, ‘but his unclothed body, as lovers know, is not therefore
Decorative Design History in Indian Textiles and costumes
ugly; on the contrary it is beautiful, is pleasing when seen, and it is pleasing when held.’ The great artist-craftsman was talking of bygone ages and not of our present-day machine civilization. He had in mind the clothes of the old Hindus, the Chinese, the Byzantines, the Arabs and other primitives.
If we go back into our past, through the centuries, we notice that, from very early times, the images of men and women, show clothes which, by adorning with flower prints, through lyrical folds, and amplitude of the skirt, heightened the dignity of the body. During the age Men and women walked, naked or semi-naked, their bodies clothed in silken flesh, the fine hair protecting the skin, nipples and navels that were considered delightful to the eye. This was visible, through the old images, the heightening of the beauty of the body, with ornaments around the neck, bangles on the wrists and Figure 13 anklets on the feet. And it is to be seen that, besides the instinctive love of dignity, and delight in beauty, the coverings and adornments were suitable to the
Decorative Design History in Indian Textiles and costumes
functions performed by human beings. A king did not wear necklaces of pearls and rubies while riding a horse in battle. And a queen went in all her beauty to the temple. And children were allowed to play naked, not because their parents could not afford clothes, but because the air was supposed to be good for their pores and because nature had shaped each one as an angel or fairy. The women, with their beads and bangles, of the earliest periods, often hid the breasts with transparent gauze-like muslin scarves: in the Rig-Veda, Nriti, the Figure 14 dancer, is spoken of as gently baring her breasts. And Helen Figure 15 the Greek wife of Chandragupta Maurya, brought the flowing robes of the Athenian females, and it is conceivable that in the draping of the female body with lyrical folds, may have led to the modeling of the lower garment worn by the native females, into the dhoti, which later became the sari. And the West Chinese Kushans who made an Empire, with capitals in Peshawar and Mathura, under the Emperor Kanishka, in the first century A.D. brought the jubbacoat and the tight pajama for the male nobleman, as witnessed on the body of Kanishka’s statue and on the marvelous gold coinage of the Kushana kings. The two loose pieces of cloth for the upper torso and the loins of the Brahmins, and the elite of the pre-Christian centuries, were adapted into different kinds of draperies by different sections of the people.
and the Persians introduced the colourful jamas which had been evolved through intermixtures of various races in the area from Iran. and simply draped into holiness. The common feature of the dress of Western India had been the long-flowing robe. Figure 18 The Hun invaders from Central Asia of the post-Gupta period were mainly horsemen and brought the long cloaks and breeches-pajamas. And the ornaments assumed different forms always based on floral motives. There were thus many inter changes of influence. with big boots or small shoes for the feet. Nagaiju-nakonda and Amravati. the Caucasian region and Turkey. infiltrations from the North 46 . as a loin cloth. In the post-Christian centuries. a variety of costumes emerged. which were adopted in the North Western frontier. Figure 16 The Arab infiltrators of the eighth-ninth centuries introduced the skirted graceful robes. as was worn by the Buddhas and Bodhisattavas of Mathura. worn over breeches. rounding one end onto the left shoulder. They were dyed in orange colour. The peasant ploughing in the field tied the cloth around the waist and the hips. In the medieval period. Barhut. through the opening of the trade routes and the mixing of peoples of Greece and Rome and Central Asia with the Indians.Decorative Design History in Indian Textiles and costumes The Buddhist monks extended the lower garment to cover the torso in folds.
In the countryside. The cycle of seasons remained an important consideration. both as veil and decoration. with uchkin and the tight pajamas for the males. and himru brocades. Figure 20 The kings and nobles patronized the legendary weavers of India. with the breasts covered with tight-fitting bodices.Decorative Design History in Indian Textiles and costumes and North-West continued. the adornment of the body and the coiffure seems to be naturally evident. who had adapted their living habits to the seasons. or cholis. In 47 . continued to wear the traditional two length cloth. one for top and one for middle in different variations of wraps. shawls and intricately woven textile hangings. In the mid-medieval period. and while the native peoples. And it is strange but true that the aesthetic of draping. woolen fabrics. we saw the acceptance of the robe as worn in Figure 19 Central Asia. among the upper hierarchies of the Sultanate of the Mughal courts. and the tunic and salwar type of dress for the female with the muslin dupatta for the head to be used. the loin cloth began more and more to be adopted as dhoti by both men and women while the draping of the loins in coloured and printed cloths was transformed into the ghagra or skirt. In Rajasthan the printing and dyeing of cottons was specially developed. Climate and function remained the qualifying considerations. Iran and Arabia.
It seems.Decorative Design History in Indian Textiles and costumes the winter season. with flora and fauna and figure designs. the toweling of the body. the arts of making fabrics have depended on the use of cloth. 48 . camps and habitations. the spreads of dastar-khans for food. and camps of all kinds. Always. Also. according to the notions of dignity. and for the Figure 22 wrapping of corpses. the two simple garments of the older days became forms of delicate architecture. delicacy of taste and composition and decorative arrangement of figures. tailored into shapes by ingenious dressmakers. became a necessary part of the royal processions. beauty and functions in the long eras of our history. movements of armies. for decorations on the walls. In fact. for costumes for ceremonial wear in the courts. the binding of books. the whole medieval period may be considered the richest in the techniques of weaving. made of printed cloth. subtlety of texture. influenced to a large extent by the tent structures of the nomads of Central Asia and the centers for printing of cloth spread all over the country. the moving palaces of tents. then. into fabrics of infinite variety. for the making of moving palaces. that there has been a tremendous variety Figure 21 in the draping of the human body.
the birth of the child. The creation of forms in fabrics. as also to render service to his neighbors in the community. that seem to dominate the making of things in our country before the entry of the machine. may have imbued the people with the awareness that working for perfection was a holy act. And the exaltation meant renewal. And the re-creation of the body-soul meant discarding the old clothes and the wearing of new ones. the habit of making good things was not stereotyped. In the hereditary training of the craftsmen from father to son. which were to be celebrated. Each ceremony in human life. was the improvement by man on the products of nature and the perfection of handiwork in the making of things. and mother to daughter. And the sanctity inspired the craftsmen. And the renewal of the body meant the recreation of the body-soul. both to aspire to the integration of his consciousness with God. all the creations of God. whether they were of clay or stone or colour. and daughter to daughter. Figure 24 And the celebration required exaltation beyond the routine existence. the betrothal and the marriage. 49 . were dramatized as important moments in existences. the naming. Perhaps the early emphasis in our culture. the Supreme Creator. he made it perfectly as he could.Decorative Design History in Indian Textiles and costumes One of the significant strains. seem to be linked up with the search for perfection. on the concept of the artisan was inspired by God. and son to son. It is strange but true that when a craftsman made a thing he seemed to want to make. The relationship of the body and the soul Figure 23 seemed also to have been insisted upon in the everyday life of our people in the long centuries.
he was able to go beyond his stereotypes. some respect for the taste of the patron. to receive the images of three-dimensional 50 . more than the modern dress makers of Europe and America. Figure 25 who was the weaver.Decorative Design History in Indian Textiles and costumes The creative processes of the weavers. had always the deftness of touch. Those used to individualistic expression had not understood that. or did he have the courage to make new designs? Grave doubts had been expressed about the possibilities of new designs in the hands of traditional mimics. the mimesis became the dialectic of creativity as soon as the apprentice qualified to work for a patron. which ultimately manifested themselves as costumes. It was in this way that in the sixteenth centuries. and the festivals of the years. the floral designs began to be interspersed with figures drawn from western sources. Figure 26 The magician had. There has often been debate about the possibilities of individual talent of the craftsmen as against the canons laid down in the Shilpa Shastras: was the work of the artisan’s mere habitual workmanship. spinners. though the apprenticeship of the young to the master craftsman was through imitation of the elder’s technique. the flair for composition. dyers and printers. and ever new elite took over. and the feel of texture of each fabric. And thus the mirror could reflect the soul of the human person through clothes. when the kalamkaris or printed cloths. became popular in the West. mutation and performance tended to become synonymous. Only the magician. were also integrated into the cycle of seasons. For instance. As the patrons of every generation were not the same.
which have astonished the world. especially in the textile arts. Figure 29 51 . almost in every decade offering new vistas of pleasure. and the artisans invariably became aware of changes of social patterns. The combination of poetic imagination with the rigors of age-old techniques was always witnessed in India. Figure 27 Figure 28 Thus no other craft of India showed such perfection of variety in the techniques as the making of fabrics for costumes and decorations for everyday use. The risks taken by inventors often produced works of the most diversified textures and forms.Decorative Design History in Indian Textiles and costumes figures and intersperse them into his two-dimensional vision. they were always confronted with new visual compositions. The presumption that fashion was always something startlingly new. was a contemporary prejudice of the ‘art for art’s sake’ world. So that when the egoists deplored the absence of open codes in India and presume that the craft system circumscribed initiative.
Decorative Design History in Indian Textiles and costumes Pre-Historic To First Century B. Due to this scarcity of evidence only a few biodegradable fragments of woven plant and animal fibre remain. the Arthashastra. tell us about the subcontinent’s superiority as a producer of textiles.C. it is difficult to trace the exact date of the origin of cotton textiles and designs on them.000 years ago. which lead any investigation into India’s textile history. Figure 30 In one of the ancient Sanskrit treatises. workshops functioned for the production of decorative designed textiles using the techniques of spinning. In the absence of any authentic records. Religious texts from India’s prehistory in the Rig Veda and the Upanishads. religious qualities still associated with traditional Indian textiles. The reason is the hot and humid conditions. Fragments of cloth 52 . alternately wet and dry monsoon climate. They are some of the only clues left to give evidence of India’s creative design history on its textiles. there is mention of the fact that under the Mauryan kings (3rd century B.C. It is counterbalanced by other archaeological finds and passages in literature. as none of the wealth of ancient Indian textiles has survived the vagaries of its gruelling. and as master dyer to the world. relating to nearly 3. the greatest enemy of textiles. The manufacture of sophisticated Costumes and Figure 31 textiles and their various designs on them is as ancient as Indian civilization. weaving and dyeing.). Few fabrics of a period earlier than the seventeenth century are now available. tell us about early literary references to fabric.
are an indication of the achievement of Figure 33 53 . in contact with copper and preserved by the metallic salts that impregnated the cloth. One example is the well-known Mohenjo-daro stone statuete of a high priest figure. dating back to the second-third millennium B. (2500-1500 B. the centre once encrusted with a jewel. His simple robe which may have been decorated directly on the loom or embroidered motifs once enriched with colour.times. The cloth fragments. and printing in India were at least as old as Mohenjo-daro. are evidence that the cultivation of cotton.). India is the home of cotton and it was woven here since prehistoric times. there is no reason to doubt that the craft was practised in India from ancient-and perhaps even prehistoric. which is decorated with a raised trefoil patterned shawl covering the left shoulder and passed under the right arm clearly draped. survive among the ruins of Mohenjo-daro. weaving.C.C. now lost. whose ships reached the shores of India across the Indian Ocean. Figure 32 In spite of this scarcity of material evidence. When the Romans and Greeks. they described it as wool that grew on trees.Decorative Design History in Indian Textiles and costumes were discovered during archaeological excavations. spinning. round the head is a single band. first saw cotton. as well as terracotta spindles and Bronze needles found at the site.
Spinning was the work of women. with excellence of weave. madder dyeing. starched and perfumed. It was a discovery of the utmost importance. We can also see Inlay instances of ornamental woven fabrics in the Ajanta frescoes. some of the costumes showed that the textiles used were of the finest quality. for these finds were the first signs of the use of cotton and dyed garments in the Indian sub-continent. Here. Megasthenes. flowers. texture and decorative motif. a Greek envoy. Cotton cloths were washed. The fabric was so finely woven that oil could not penetrate the cloth. From 303 to 292 B. in the themes illustrating the stories of the Jataka.” For the early historic period there is evidence from literature as well as sculpture. Karachi. and the rich and ruling class in long robes magnificently embroidered in gold thread. scrolls and geometrical patterns. (Patna) and wrote in his journal Ta Indica about its splendour and particularly the clothes at court. showing geese.. calendared. stayed at Pataliputra. now held in the National Museum of Pakistan.C. Figure 35 54 .C.Decorative Design History in Indian Textiles and costumes weaving patterns on cloth as early as the third millennium B. Figure 34 Figure 52 Buddhist literature has many references to the magnificent cotton spinners and weavers of Kashi (Allahabad). “The Indians were garbed in the finest flowered muslin robes. These important revelations from the ancient Sind desert site confirmed knowledge of spinning and weaving and the magical process of Manjitha.
55 . Fan-shaped head-dresses were worn by men and women who had sometimes pannier-like projections. Some very rare figurines are depicted wearing kilt or drawers. but the heroes and deities wear a thin strip of cotton on their loins. A shawl is worn by a male figure covering the left shoulder and Figure 36 passed under the right arm. cap was also worn by a few figurines. It is difficult to say what was under the shawl. The woven sari terminated well above the knees was always fastened with girdles and in one case with kamarband has also been seen. The narrow strip of cloth used as sari at Mohenjo-daro very much resembles the nivi mentioned in the Vedic literature.Decorative Design History in Indian Textiles and costumes The excavations at Mohenjo-daro have revealed some details about Indian costume and the materials from which cloth was manufactured. It is also possible that wool was used for warmer textiles. An actual piece of cotton has been discovered which shows that cotton was known to the people of Sindh four thousand five hundred years back. Figure 37 The hair was tied with a woven fillet. Our knowledge of the costume of Mohenjo-daro people is scanty as naked figures preponderate. A band round the head helped to support them.
The work of weaving was entrusted to women-folk. while some women used dyed cloth. Figure 39 The Vedic Indians wore three garments: loin-cloth sometimes having long and unwoven fringe. Wool. White cloth was preferred.Decorative Design History in Indian Textiles and costumes The costumes and the materials in Vedic period are known by casual references with which it is difficult to give a history of Indian costume with any degree of accuracy. Ksauma. however. blankets were manufactured. Goat and antelope skins were preferred. The shoes were first mentioned in the 56 . Fine wool was obtained from the regions through which Indus flowed. cloth manufactured from the bark of tree. most probably linen. bodice or cloak was worn by dancing girls. Vedic Indians were also fond of beautiful garments. The skins of the animals were worn by Figure 38 the Gods and Munis. and aboriginal tribes. was an important material for manufacturing cloth. The clothes were also well-fitting they were often decorated with borders or embroidered with patterns in gold. From the wool obtained from these countries. We know that the cotton was not known to the Vedic people. The turban was worn by the Rajas and also sometimes by women. and an over garment generally consisted of a wrapper or sometimes a jacket. Shoes were not mentioned in the early Vedic literature though the foot-fasteners and foot-guards used in battlefields were mentioned in the Rigveda. its earliest reference is to be found in Apastamba Srauta-Sutra.
C. and it is said that the mortal remains of a world ruler were covered with it. and bleaching was perfect due to the softness of the water. and this fineness and smoothness were obtained by skilled weavers and spinners. They were manufactured from boar or antelope skins. which must have been due to these professions being taken up by the non-Aryans. Figure 40 Cotton was greatly cultivated in this age and we are told about cotton fields near Varanasi. seems to have been the chief center of the Figure 41 manufacture of cotton cloth.Decorative Design History in Indian Textiles and costumes Yajurveda and were worn at the ritual. 57 . Varanasi. In the next period which may tentatively cover the period between 642-413 B. Varanasi was also famous for its silk manufacture and up to this day it is one of the leading silk manufacturing centers in India. Jataka stories and Vinaya Pitaka. material for Indian clothing is to be found in the Sutra literature. The texture of cloth produced at Varanasi was fine. and bow for carding is also mentioned.. In this period the professions of embroidery and weaving were considered low. as in the Vedic age no such stigma was attached to these professions. during the life of Buddha. Fine threads rolled in balls were in demand.
In the Madhyadesa the skins of various species of cats. grass. besides the above-mentioned varieties.. etc. human hair. Sunga and early Andhra period can be traced from sculptures. The patterned and dyed garment. The materials employed for the manufacture of cloth were cotton. wool. and in the Daksinapatha the skins of rams. cloths were manufactured from hemp. wood. were used for clothing. etc. hemp. and dupatta or turban. blankets were also produced from a mixture of fiber and wool. silk. The history of Indian costumes in the Maurya. etc. We know on the basis of Figure 43 Kautilya that there was a separate department of state under a superintendent where thread. etc. cloths.Decorative Design History in Indian Textiles and costumes Linen was common. bark. with beautiful borders was common. leopard. feathers. etc. coats and ropes were manufactured. It was remarkable that dhoti in later Maurya and 58 . The Gandhara country produced fine shawls. For woolen cloths of all varieties the term kambala is used in Buddhist literature. fiber. tiger. The dress was simple dhoti or loin-cloth fastened to the waist with kamarband generally tied in bow-shaped knot with a patka at time hanging in between the legs. and Figure 42 partly from literature. furs and beautiful woolen cloths were imported from China. cow and deer. Skins of lions. and the skins. terracotta’s. Cotton was grown. were used for bedding and clothes. goats.
just to satisfy their vanity. and elaborate veils. tassels. In fact the few Mauryan sculptures and relief’s of Bharhut depict a fashionable society where even simple garments were worn in such a way as to attract attention. This gave them the appearance of Scotch Highlanders. as fighting in dhoti and long flowing dupattas must have hindered action. etc.Decorative Design History in Indian Textiles and costumes Sunga periods was very beautifully pleated. however. In this period we found soldiers dressed in tunics and kilts and turban. and even the dupattas were discarded at places. Figure 45 59 . Andhras were just on the move to carve an empire Figure 44 for themselves. we find that though the men and women were dressed in the same garments the elaborate pleats and patkas had disappeared. and the patkas were decorated with beautiful patterns. while more important work awaited them. The women also wore saris with kamarbands and patkas. In the Andhra sculptures. They also seem to have understood the importance of a uniform for soldiers. and they could ill-afford to waste their time in the niceties of fashion.
and the relief’s of Amaravati. perfumes. caps. probably of Central Asiatic and Iranian origin. The cotton was cultivated in large plantations and there were weavers who wove fine cloths. The first three hundred years of the Christian era saw an all-round expansion of Indian life and culture. The Nagas of the Kalinga country wove the finest muslins. and armor. and muslins. Figure 46 60 . Profitable commerce between the Roman Empire and India developed.D. trousers. though for the knowledge of the textile materials we have to depend solely on literature. for which fabulous prices were paid. Nagarjunakonda. etc. sewn garments. Besides the typical Indian costume consisting of dhoti. dupattas and turban for men. For the history of Indian costume in this period there is ample material in the Gandhara and Mathura sculptures in the north. Figure 47 The literature of this period is not very helpful in giving information about the costume of the people. high boots. etc. The Indians spread out into the extra-Gangetic countries and Central Asia. which were exported to foreign countries. were also worn. found a ready market in Rome. and the Indian jewels. In the south the members of the Naga tribe were proficient in the craft of weaving. and sari and ordhani for women.Decorative Design History in Indian Textiles and costumes FIRST CENTURY TO FOURTH CENTURY A. in the south. Cotton cloth was extensively used. such as tunics..
and certain fibrous fruits were also extensively used. Gujara and Konkan. Figure 49 The hermit and anchorite used cloth manufactured from the fibers of fruits. Cloths manufactured from linen. Mixed fabrics of wool and dukula were woven. Golden brocade under the name of hiryani and hirivastra.Decorative Design History in Indian Textiles and costumes The Roman Empire was a great patron of Indian muslin which was exported to Rome. kauseya (mulberry silk) and dhautapatta (washed silk). etc. Egypt. from Barygaza. and the women of South India used scarlet-flowered silk. the Aparantaka cloth of Sind. Woolen cloth was known as dusya. Furs were also used for making garments. grass. and puspapatta or ‘flowered cloth’ either printed or embroidered. and the hair of human and certain animals. and the beautiful shawls of Kashmir woven from Figure 48 the wool of the goat elicited the admiration of all. Arabia. phuttaka cloth (perhaps printed calico). pandudukula or cloth manufacture from the fibers of dukula. and bark of certain trees. The finest Indian muslin was known as ‘ventis textilis’ or ‘nebula. etc. Patola or the variegated silk sari of Gujarat was known as vicitrapatolaka. and these were 61 . several varieties of which were known. were the different varieties of silk.’ Silk was also in great demand and pattamsuka (plain white silk). the silk and cotton cloth of Benares. ‘cina’ (Chinese silk). were also known.
turban and sometimes a tunic. however. The dress of the Tamil people differed according to their status in society. From the various references in the Tamil literature of the south it is evident that the kings wore loin-cloth. etc also wore turbans. The people of the middle class wore a loin-cloth and turban. gives rather sketchy information about the costumes of the people. Literature. Dhoti and dupattas which were sometimes of considerable value were the chief garments of the Indians. dupattas. bankers and domestic chaplains. The Tamil women wore saris leaving the torso bare. The Figure 50 soldier guarding the king’s palace wore coats. dupattas and turban and also tunic. trousers and cap. The kings wore dhotis. Some aboriginal women wore leaf skirts. and ornaments. Ministers. chamberlains. and for more detailed information we have to depend on the sculptures from various parts of India. there were also shops which specialized in stocking only a particular kind of cloth. Figure 51 In the Gandhara sculptures of north-west India the men generally wore dhoti. The farmers and weaver wore a flaxen loin-cloth. The 62 . There were regular shops stocking textile materials. the characteristic costume of the Afghanis and the Punjabi.Decorative Design History in Indian Textiles and costumes also exported to foreign countries. a conical crown. The guards at the palace gates were clad in brown tunics and armer.
a sort of petticoat and a shawl. The chador was also on over the shoulders. The foreign women in the service of the king either wore classical Greek costume. The shirt generally reached to the knees and in exceptional cases opened in front: The sari was worn in two ways: in the first one part was Figure 53 wrapped round the waist and the other pleated and tucked in behind. in the second one part was wrapped round the waist and the free end thrown over the left shoulder. The merchants wore dhotis and chador. The turbans fitted the head like hats and were made of puffed material with the folds of one end arranged in a fan-like manner. while another type wore helmet and armer. The head clasps. were often decorated with the figures of deities. Tunics. A hunter wore a loin-cloth. a sleeved tunic. Figure 52 The female costume as represented in the Gandhara sculptures consisted of three pieces. Soldiers recruited from the wild tribes wore a loincloth held by a kamarband and a twisted cloth across the chest. Caps were worn by the foreigners. tunic and 63 . This turban is still commonly worn by the Punjabis and the Afghanis.Decorative Design History in Indian Textiles and costumes princes and the men of noble birth wore a long dhoti and chador which was rolled and thrown back in stiff folds. and the agriculturist and the labourer wore short loin-cloths and langotas. coats and salwar where worn in winter. animals and birds. A kamarband made of tape or lace was tied round the waist. Some soldiers wore janghia.
or they wore sari and chador. There was the turban with a plaque. carelessly wound turbans. though hemispherical caps are also known. There were several varieties of tunics.Decorative Design History in Indian Textiles and costumes dupattas with pleated skirts. trousers. These were invariably mounted with metallic plaques. The women of foreign origin wore a tunic and also a sari. a cap Figure 54 and high boots. men. etc. Nagarjunakonda. The costume of the people in the ‘Madhyadesa’ or middle country is depicted in the Kushana sculptures of Mathura. wore a small loin-cloth reaching above the ankles and tucked in various ways. etc. Turbans made of rich materials were also worn. caps. The caps were generally conical in shape. one part of which was wrapped round the waist and the other taken over the left shoulder. The head-dresses were of various patterns. The kamarbands were worn in different modes. The Saka kings and soldiers in the Mathura sculptures generally wore a tunic. The women generally wore 64 . The kamarbands was worn in several ways. The tunic was worn not by the kings and noblemen but by foreigners. The women of Mathura generally did not cover their heads though occasionally they used veils and turbans. etc. The indigenous costume of the men consists of dhoti and dupattas falling in graceful folds and patka or a decorative piece of cloth tucked to the dhoti and kamarbands. Figure 55 In south India. The women wore saris held to the waist with elaborate girdles and dupattas. palanquin-bearers. as depicted in the reliefs of Amaravati.
Figure 56 65 . crowns and veils.Decorative Design History in Indian Textiles and costumes short saris held with girdles. The women were fond of hairdressing. and sometimes in sculptures they wore tiaras.
D. But the Jain canon according to the Jain traditions themselves was Figure 57 66 . in the Chinnai Presidency and stray sculptures from Pawaya in Gwalior State. there was no big different approach from the days of the Amaravati. and most important of them all the coins of the Gupta emperors amply illustrate the costumes. In the fourth to sixth century. In the Gupta sculptures there was a tendency towards conventionalisation and idealization. In the first period are the sculptures from Goli. though the latter did not throw much light on the subject of costumes. Guntur district. Third source however of immeasurable value was certain Jain texts: the traditions of the Jain canon were much older than the Gupta period and its sutra portion may go as far back as the fourth century B. In the sculptures from Pawaya. including the period of Sri Harsa and the Calukyas of Deccan. (2) Gupta and (3) post-Gupta. and even within their small size they showed minute details of the costumes.C. certain variations have been recorded.Decorative Design History in Indian Textiles and costumes FOURTH CENTURY TO SIXTH CENTURY A. for the costume of the people. the history of the decorative design in textiles and costume may be divided roughly under three sections: (1) pre-Gupta. There was no fixed chronology of the Mathura sculptures—nearly all the red stone sculptures being labelled Kushana. In the Gupta period various sculptures. In the South. As regards the literary sources there was the Amarakosa and the works of Kalidasa. The coins however were naturalistic in the treatment of the portraits of the kings. however. the paintings of Cave XVII at Ajanta. though some may be of Gupta date.
Various classes of textiles manufactured from bark fibers. In the absence of dates one has to depend on internal evidence. Many of them mention necklaces made of dinara. The late age of these passages is further supported by internal evidence. silk. are mentioned. known technically as Niryukti. Bhasya. and as far as the Brihat-kalpa-sutra is concerned there should be no hesitation in assigning it to the Gupta era if not earlier. by the way. candataka. It seems that these descriptive portions were added in the fifth century while the canon was undergoing the third edition. Our knowledge of garments of the period is further augmented by occasional references to Kalidasa: our knowledge of the various kinds of silks is increased by the Brihat-kalpa-sutra Bhasya which also tells of the various centers of cloth 67 . has a vast commentarial literature.. It also contains various terms for garments sewn or otherwise. a coin introduced in the Kushana period. The materials on costume and textile in the Amarakosa are of a varied nature. The descriptive portions in the canon which. linen. Curni and Tika. the first three being in Prakrit and the last in Sanskrit. Unfortunately nothing is known about the date of the Bhasyas—the most important of them being the Bhasya on the Brihatkalpa-sutra by Jinadasa Gani Ksamasramana. etc. such as cola. Various technical terms of cloth manufacture from the loom to the washing and finishing stages are given. The garments bearing geese patterns were also not mentioned in the literature of the pre-Gupta age. Figure 58 Names for sewn garments of the women. by their over-elaboration and pompous style remind us more of the style of Subandhu and Bana than of the terse style of the authors of the Jain sutras. as is well known. The Jain canon.Decorative Design History in Indian Textiles and costumes collected and re-edited from time to time. the latest edition being made in the fifth century by a council of monks invited by Devardhi Ksamasramana at Valabhi. are all alike. wool and goat’s hair are defined.
This innovation may be directly attributed to the foreign influence of the Sakas and Hunas and the cultural and commercial intercourse with the foreign lands. and turban in combination with tunics and kamarbands. queens. dupatta. The women as a rule were represented in sari. tunic and chador. Here we are not only given scrappy references to costumes but are told how they were worn and of what materials they were made. No details of the costumes of the kings. and very often they were also represented wearing dhoti. It is evident from the coins that the Gupta kings often wore tunics. messengers. and the truth-fullness of his description can be checked with the help Figure 59 of the Ajanta paintings. trousers and high boots after the fashion of the Kushana kings. varieties of cloth materials. Ample material for the study of the costume of the post-Gupta period is supplied in the works of Banabhatta. It is evident from the coins and paintings that sewn garments were extensively used. chamberlains or even monks escaped Bana's observant eyes.Decorative Design History in Indian Textiles and costumes production. and their prices of various articles of costume both of laymen and monks and nuns. bodice. It is also evident from the coins of Kumaragupta that a national costume was coming to the forefront in the later part of the Gupta period. Its description of shoes is of great importance and the name for full boots worn by the Kushana and Gupta kings were called as khapusa. The imported female slaves clad in sewn garments made after the style of the countries from which they came perhaps also to a certain degree molded the taste of the inmates of the harem as far as their costumes were concerned. 68 .
though in Kashmir and other colder regions sewn woolen garments were used. It was evident from his observations that the skirt was generally used by women and the common dress of Indians was a dhoti and dupattas. The dancing girls were also shown wearing tunics.Decorative Design History in Indian Textiles and costumes Further materials for the history of Indian costume in this period were supplied by the Chinese travelers Yuanchwang and I-tsing. The nobles and princes imitated the king. The soldiers wore either a dhoti or are clad in tunics. The jesters and royal attendants wore tunics and boots or purely Indian costumes. head scarves and high boots. It is significant that commonly the kings at Ajanta wore dhoti and highly ornamented head-dresses but sewn garments were not tabooed. It was however in the costumes of the female attendants that a great variety may be seen. All the information’s about Indian costume is of insignificance when we approach the. though at times they also wore tunics with half sleeves or Figure 60 full. 69 . sometimes in combination with an apron-like garment and trousers. skirts and scarves. The queens and the women of higher social status wore light garments consisting of saris. The chamberlain and at times the ministers wore long tunics. One section of the female attendants wore tunics and caps of definitely foreign origin and the other section was clad in purely Indian costume. paintings of Ajanta which show us in detail the costumes of the people of all classes. Yuan-chwang’s description of Indian costume was short and rather conventional. but I-tsing had given a detailed description of the costumes of the monks and nuns belonging to the different orders of Buddhism and he had also made pertinent observations on the costumes of the Indians in general. trousers.
Their beards. bushy eyebrows and straight features recalled the features of Iranians and they may be Iranians or Central Asians. In the famous so-called Persian embassy scene in the Cave I the foreigners were of different stock and in our opinion may be Syrians. In the Khusrau and Shirin scene the elaborate dress of Iranian women wearing frilled tunics and domed caps may be seen. lightly embroidered at the cuffs. This is amply supported by the various foreign types appearing at Ajanta. They show that typed materials were greatly in demand and that stripe. collar and arms. ladders and chequers were common patterns. and dome-shaped caps. Figure 61 70 .Decorative Design History in Indian Textiles and costumes We have referred to the foreign intercourse in this period. The paintings of Ajanta also depict various textile patterns. In one painting we see certain pieces which might have been of Benares manufacture. One type wore a tunic with a V-shaped opening at the neck.
The women of Kanauj wore earrings which moved and also the hanging tremulous necklaces. while the women delighted in the Decani’s costume.Decorative Design History in Indian Textiles and costumes EIGHTH CENTURY TO TWELFTH CENTURY A. While describing the women of Kerala he observes that the curled hair. At one place Karpuramanjari appears with one hand arranging the border of the garment that was falling on her rounded breasts. Their upper garments. For the history of the costumes and textile materials in Northern and Western India in the eighth and ninth centuries. encircled the body. our chief sources are the works of the famous Jain writer Haribhadra Suri and equally famous writer and dramatist Rajasekhara (c. 71 . At a third place she is said to be dressed in a kind of a tasara silk. Rajasekhara had failed to describe the costumes of South.A. falling from the thighs to the ankles. In a fourth place she is said to wear a pair of silk garment green as the tail king-parrot.D. At a second place she is said to be wearing the border of her upper garment on one shoulder only. their chadors touched the partings of their hair and their forearms were exposed. some of which came on the temples and their saris were held tight. Figure 62 In the Karpuramanjari more details about the garments of a lady of position are given.D. with the other restraining the sari. As regards the male and female costumes of Avanti (Westen Malwa) the poet remarks that men affected the costume of Pancala. Unfortunately. Thus according to him the women of Bengal wore a chain necklace over breast besmeared with sandal. 880-920) Rajasekhara in the Kavyamimamsa and the Karpuramanjari gives glimpses of the female costumes.
In another place she is said to have worn a pair of linen garments. After bathing her she was made to put on garments of red silk. “On the appointed day the women seated the bride on a chair dressed in an attractive. Figure 63 72 . She wore jeweled anklets. On the neck appeared a necklace. She was waited upon by young women holding green grass sprouts and curds and who were likewise dressed in red garments. kajal was applied to her eyes and a tilaka was put on her forehead. She wore a skirt made of jeweled damask. Decorative designs were painted on her breasts and unguents made of sandal were applied to her face. They first applied lac-dye to her attractive feet and saffron to her shorts. a pearl necklace reaching the knot of the sari. finger-rings. At other places the bride was said to have been dressed in white or fine dukula. She also wore a wavy chador. in the ears jeweled discs and on the forehead a crest ornament. white dukula facing to the east.Decorative Design History in Indian Textiles and costumes The Haribhadra gives interesting descriptions of bridal costume. At one place she is said to have covered her breasts with a dupatta of delicate texture and soft to touch.
This period of Indian history—from A.Decorative Design History in Indian Textiles and costumes TWELFTH. experienced but brief spells of peaceful existence. began to weaken in the hands of ineffective successors and crumpled when the dreaded Timur Lane struck in A. annexations and revolts. D. THIRTEENTH. D. the defeated Delhi Sultanate disintegrated as its erstwhile dominions set themselves up as independent sovereign states. FOURTEENTH AND FIFTEENTH CENTURIES The Historical Context Motivated as much by religious zeal as by the rumored riches of Hindustan. 1525—with its military expeditions. And yet. This large empire. 1290 to A. 1398. Before it could recover from the blow. Islamic invaders came thundering down the perilous mountain passes to plunder and conquer the infidels. however. By the end of the twelfth century the country was subjugated and a hundred years later the Muslim Sultan of Delhi consolidated his power and firmly established his supremacy over almost whole of India. the lack of political stability did not seriously upset the economic Figure 64 73 . D. In the decades that followed the absence of a powerful central authority gave rise to constant fighting among the various political units.
Among these. in addition to cottons.’ 74 . in the Deccan. The merchandise for imports as well as exports included assorted varieties of textiles. trade and commerce were hardly affected. Weavers in different parts of India produced stuffs made of silks and cottons in varied textures and designs. so fine was its texture. Further north. wealthy merchants. claiming that ‘the skin of the moon removed by the executioner star could not be so fine. a system of good roads facilitated inland trade while the sea-ports became centers of profitable coastal and overseas trade. centers on the western and eastern coasts were known for their excellent plain and printed cottons. Historical and literary writings of the period mention great cities with rich markets. ‘It is so transparent and light that it looks as if one is in no dress at all but has merely smeared the body with pure water. Evidently.’ He also mentions that a hundred Figure 65 yards of it could pass through the eye of a needle. In the South. for instance. The poet Amir Khushru speaks in superlative terms about them. the muslins of Daulatabad were famous. The kingdom of Vijayanagar produced. certain types of silks. again. He elaborates upon its qualities by the comment. Certain regions specialized in certain items and became renowned for them. in fact. skilled craftsmen and agricultural techniques which yielded two harvests a year.Decorative Design History in Indian Textiles and costumes equilibrium of the country. silks and cottons were manufactured.
They also mastered the art of making embroidered carpets and produced stuffs comparable to those brought ‘from distant lands and worthy of kings’. Gujarat. In Kashmir. woven carpet which greatly differ in their fibers 75 . under royal patronage and encouragement. a place where stuffs from different parts of India were brought and funneled into the export market. from tapestry. was extremely productive with many centers busily engaged in the manufacture of textiles. The muslin from Bihar according to Amir Khushru was like the pleasant gift of springtide.Decorative Design History in Indian Textiles and costumes Such delicate textiles were made also in eastern India. The extensive manufacture and trade in textiles resulted in the availability of indigenous and foreign fabrics of different types and textures. contained all Figure 66 kinds of cloth from cotton to silks which hide the body. recounts Amir Khushru. moreover. skilled craftsmen wove silks in endless threads of beautiful colours and intricate designs. The province of Gujarat too. Further eastwards the region of Bengal excelled in the weaving of fine fabrics and silk with threads of gold. served as the hub of the textile trade. The Darul Adi market. resting ‘as lightly on the body as moonlight on the tulip or a dewdrop on the morning rose’. from Bihar muslin to flowered jamdani silk used both in summer and in winter.
provide interesting information. Materials from overseas bore either generic names like brocade and satin or those derived from their place of origin as in Chinese brocade and Bulgarian silk or velvet. Before long. During this period. foreign fabrics were in constant demand as the Muslim royalty and nobility exhibited a marked preference for them. as also robes of honor for presentation to amirs. In Muhammad-bin-Tughluq’s time. for example. The names of the fabrics too. the Indian artisans learnt to reproduce some of these stuffs in India. Indian materials were often combined with foreign ones to make robes for the kings and their wives. Some words like the striped silk and cloth with geese motif.Decorative Design History in Indian Textiles and costumes and from silk to plush velvet made from silk and wool which are similar in their structures and from Daulatabad muslin which are allurement for mind and body’. Muslim and Portuguese writings as well as the stock lists maintained by the Gujarati merchants. Figure 67 76 . As many as 200 varieties of cloth—existed in those days judging from the contemporary Hindu. describe the pattern and some like five-coloured silk and pigeon-coloured silk are evocative of colour. one lac spring garments came from Alexandria while the autumn ones were made of materials from Iraq and China. such as silk from Gujarat and Tanjore silk indicate their place of manufacture while others like silk comparable to the inside of a banana tree-trunk and silk with luster of pearls suggest texture.
Miniature paintings of this period fall into three stylistic idioms: the School of Western India. proves to be extremely rewarding. indigenous silks and fine muslins could never be used by the common people: such stuffs were the prerogative of people of rank and those upon whom the Sultan conferred the privilege. embroidered brocades. The Chaurapanchashika Group and the Sultanate School. happens to be of a vague and cryptic nature and rather inadequate in projecting a clear and coherent picture of the prevalent fashions. Of these the former. Whatever information is there. with its portrayal of contemporary life and manners.Decorative Design History in Indian Textiles and costumes Materials of deluxe quality such as foreign fabrics. Although the literature of the period contains several references to textiles. few on costumes occur. Another source for the study of costumes of those times is the contemporary artistic traditions in sculpture and miniature painting. Originating in Western India this style soon spread to Figure 68 77 . is too stylized to be of value but the latter. Among these. the School of Western India with its angular rendering and linear conception is the oldest. Occasionally articles of wear made for the Hindu and Muslim aristocracy were enriched further with decorations in gold thread and jewels. unfortunately.
which is not surprising as the alien invaders had brought their native dress styles into the conquered land. But. The sartorial styles affected by the figures in this group of painting are analogous to those prevalent in Persia and Turkey. patronized by the Sultans and his Muslim Figure 69 grandees. Both these expressions are of interest in the study of costumes as each portrays local styles of dress. The third group the Sultanate School. In the earlier stages. 78 . during the eleventh to thirteenth centuries. Occasionally the style extended to secular subjects as well. comprises documents executed in a style derived from the schools of contemporary Islamic Painting with some being closer to their source than the others. The second school of painting that of the Chaurapanchashika Group is of great intrinsic beauty and bold delineation. as the style progresses. they have a distinct character of their own. certain changes take place and by the fifteenth century two divergent regional strains are apparent—one in Western India Gujarat and Rajasthan and the other in Northern India Delhi and Gwalior. Even though the costumes depicted in this group are related to those in the Western Indian Style. the style exhibits little variation in its expression.Decorative Design History in Indian Textiles and costumes various parts of the country and was employed primarily to illustrate religious texts.
turban. closely correspond to the attire worn by princes on a Jain twelfthcentury book-cover painting in Western or Northern India. Their ornaments consisted of a tiara. When the uttariya was held in the hands it signified reverence. cheek-plates. socks and riding boots. bracelets and anklets. appeared infrequently. arm-plates. ear-rings. kamarband. necklaces. The men did not wear anything on their feet. usually tied in a knot at the nape of the neck. 79 .Decorative Design History in Indian Textiles and costumes THIRTEENTH CENTURY SCHOOL OF WESTERN INDIAN PAINTING Men had long hair. The sleeved-jacket. They dressed in a short dhoti or tight-fitting shorts and an uttariya draped around the hips and transversely across the chest and over the shoulder. detailed in the fourteenth century account. shorts. a common item of wear in the preceding century. Their armor included headgear of chain-mail. the items of dress. Although the armor was missing. The correlation Figure 70 between the fashions prevalent in the twelfth and the fourteenth centuries suggests an unbroken continuity in dress styles indicating thereby that the soldiers of the thirteenth century also must have dressed in a likewise manner. side-plates and gilded and damascened breast-plates. armlets. Cavaliers. according to Jyotirishvara— an author living in eastern India in the fourteenth century—dressed in a jacket. and long beards.
Jain Nuns dressed in an upper and a lower garment and were covered with a chador. a long dhoti and a narrow odhani draped across the front and over the arms.Decorative Design History in Indian Textiles and costumes Women had long hair tied in a large knot at the nape and adorned with flowers and ornaments. round ear-rings. Their clothes were made of a white fabric edged in colour. bracelets and anklets. Their outfit comprised a choli upto the waist with elbow-length sleeves. They wore neither shoes nor sandals. the clothes of men and women appeared to be made of thick materials which were either plain or patterned with stripes and Figure 71 simple geometric designs. like that of the men. Jain Monks were clad in a dhoti and chador of white fabric. Floral motifs occurred rarely. During this period. armlets. 80 . consisted of a tiara. necklaces of varying lengths. The chador was thrown on the left shoulder leaving the right shoulder uncovered. Their jewellery.
Decorative Design History in Indian Textiles and costumes FOURTEENTH AND FIFTEENTH CENTURIES GUJARAT AND RAJASTHAN Kings and Courtiers often sported a short beard or moustache and their long hair were tied in a knot at the back of the head. Commoners dressed similarly. Cowherds wore a dhoti and uttariya and a cap-like head-gear. Sometimes they were dressed in animal skin. They carried a sword and a shield. necklaces. generally. bracelets and anklets. They carried a crook or a staff in their hands. They also wore a U-shaped tilak mark on the forehead. ear-rings. bound and piled on top of their heads just as in contemporary sculpture. They were without footwear. over the shoulder and across the back. did not dress differently from other men except that they often replaced their tiara with a Figure 72 cap or a small scarf tied around their knotted hair so as to keep it in place. The uttariya was draped around the hips. It was then left hanging loosely at the back. and an uttariya made of fine materials. Sages had long hair which was twisted. They wore a dhoti. 81 . not donning the tiara but a cap or a cloth kerchief tied around the hair-knot and with much fewer ornaments. Musicians were dressed in the same manner as the commoners. diagonally across the chest. hair ornaments which sometimes included a jewelled fillet to keep the knotted hair in place. armlets. For ornaments they used a tiara. On occasion they wore trousers with high boots. Warriors.
Women wore their hair in a tasseled plait or a knot placed either at the nape or high at the back of the head. was worn. chador. which they throw over themselves like cloaks. on their heads they wore naught but their own hair well-dressed on the top of it. Their outfit consisted of three pieces: a dhoti. cut low at the back and other long garments called. bracelets and anklets. a choli with elbow-length sleeves and an odhani— one end of which was draped around the hips. they wore silken bodices with tight sleeves. This style of women’s dress closely parallels that of the Gujarat women of the sixteenth century whom Duarte Barbosa described as being clad in ‘dresses as long as their husband’s. The odhani. hair ornaments including a jewelled comb above the plait or the hair-knot. When they go out. across the chest over the shoulder and across the back. one in the middle and one in the earlobe— several necklaces of varying lengths. Many variations on this basic outfit are noticeable.Decorative Design History in Indian Textiles and costumes Jain Monks and Nuns dressed as in the preceding period except that the fabrics they used were finer in quality and often employ a self-design in the weave. 82 . was left to hang downwards from the neck or tied at the waist. The women did not wear anything on their feet. three types of ear-rings—one at the top. They put a bindi on the forehead. particularly in the Devasano Pado Kalpa-Sutra and Kalakacharyakatha of A. The long choli had Figure 73 sleeves which extend upto the elbows or to the wrists. 14751500. It was left hanging at the back.D. They adorned themselves with a tiara. Women Dancers appeared dressed in tight shorts or a dhoti with a patka.
Other articles of dress consist of a head-gear in the form of a turban. to a fair extent. probably of Central Asian origin. a belt. they plaited their hair in hanging locks with silk tassels. A heavy collar. their head-dress was four cornered in shape and ornamented with jewels. Over a long-sleeved white shirt made of fine cotton or silk they wore a long heavy gown of brocade or velvet. Sahi Soldiers were attired in a short tunic with overlapping flaps and tight-fitting trousers. They carried a sword and a shield. the Muslim aristocracy.Decorative Design History in Indian Textiles and costumes Sahi Kings and Courtiers. A variation of this basic type was visible in a robe with overlapping flaps wrapped around the body and held at the waist by a cloth belt. they wore gowns which at times had gold embroidered sleeves and occasionally gold embroidery between the shoulders. 83 . a metal belt and knee-high boots completed the outfit. The dress of the Sahi Kings matched. their waists were Figure 74 encircled with gold and silver belts and they wore shoes and spurs. either of separate metal piece or intricately embroidered in gold. where bearded and with their hair tied in a long tasseled plait. The gown had short sleeves and gold embroidery along the collar and the sleeves. and shoes. shin-guards.
These designs were the height of fashion from the end of the fourteenth century to the middle of the fifteenth century. Thereafter simpler designs particularly the dotted ones—probably of the tiedye variety—became extremely popular. elephants in row or geese.Decorative Design History in Indian Textiles and costumes A very distinctive feature of the textiles of Gujarat during this period is their exquisite quality. The plain thick material of the preceding century was replaced by delicate textures and intricate designs in weave and in print. Figure 75 84 . dainty mesh motifs. interlinked petalled flowers. meandering creepers. stripes and dotted rosettes in tie-dye technique. The patterns included arabesques. Some of the early to mid-fifteenth century fabrics of superb quality were exported to Egypt and their fragments have been found preserved in the sands of Fostat.
Warriors attired themselves in the same clothes as worn by other men except that they were armed with a sword or bow and arrows and a shield. ear-rings. Tribal Men wore a short skirt and a head-dress. necklaces. sometimes bearded. At other times the odhani covered the head and the two ends hung loosely at the back. wore their long hair twisted and bound in a multitiered knot high at the back of their head. Most of them dressed in the short rather than the long dhoti. or it was not worn at all. Once in a while a tight. one end of which was wound around the hips taken across the chest over the shoulder and allowed to hang freely at the back. As in Western India. The jewellery consisted of a high tiara. armlets.Decorative Design History in Indian Textiles and costumes FIFTEENTH CENTURY (DELHI AND GWALIOR) Men. The women adorned themselves in Figure 76 85 . It was worn with the pleats projecting forward or passed backwards through the legs. Sometimes a sash was wound around the waist and its loosely hanging end was worn in the same manner as the dhoti pleats. people went barefooted. The Chief of the tribe wore a feathered headdress. a choli upto the waist with elbow-length sleeves and an odhani. sleeved jacket upto the waist was worn. Women wore their hair in a knot just above the neck and dressed in a dhoti. bracelets and anklets. Shaivite Sage is seen in a loose striped tunic. The uttariya was draped around the hips and taken transversely across the chest and over the shoulder or left to hanging downwards from the neck and over the shoulders.
It was worn with a choli. not worn as frequently as the dhoti-uttariya outfit. an uttariy and a tiara were also worn. Sometimes the jama was replaced by a single piece of clothing consisting of a tunic with pajamas. The Indian male now adopted the jama. an article of wear of the Muslim gentry. pleated in the front and the loose end passed over the head and across the breasts to flare out on the side. either a short one with a pajama or a long one reaching the ankles. They are bejeweled in the customary manner of the period. armlets. Dancers dressed in a choli. in his attire the jama was of different types. ear-rings. Around the middle of the fifteenth century the dress styles of both men and women showed radical departures. They adorned themselves with a hair ornament. bracelets and anklets. Tribal women’s costumes consisted of a short skirt and scarf made of peacock feathers. a long dhoti with a long patka and an odhani. The high tiaras of the earlier 86 . The new styles continue side by side with the old ones. ear-rings. necklaces. With the jama. heavy necklaces. hair ornaments. In rare cases the outfit consists of a jama with a cap and shoes. it becomes part of the regular attire. bracelets and anklets. It was. however. At first this item of dress was adopted for certain occasions like expeditions of war or the hunt but then. gradually.Decorative Design History in Indian Textiles and costumes either a high tiara or a small jewel on the forehead in the parting of the hair. The jama took the form of a gown or a robe with overlapping flaps and was held at the waist by a belt or a patka. Figure 77 In the female attire the sari was introduced.
Figure 78 87 . The materials were either plain in colour or patterned in stripes or simple motifs like dots and crosses. Both types of textiles. reflect the stuffs commonly employed in the two regions. Nowhere do we encounter the fine fabrics with exquisite design as in the painting of Western India. The fabrics portrayed in the painting of this region appeared to be coarse in texture and rudimentary in design.Decorative Design History in Indian Textiles and costumes period gave way to low ones. without doubt.
Sometimes an armlet was also Figure 79 88 . their long hair was twisted in a knot high at the back of head. they tied a long sash at the waist—its ends flapping loosely in the front.Decorative Design History in Indian Textiles and costumes THE CHAURAPANCHASHIKA STYLE Men generally kept moustaches. The jamas had full sleeves. The other type of headgear was the turban with or without a kulah. One was the traditional tiara with three peaks—the central one being higher surmounted with a fluffy pom-pom. Occasionally. the uttariyi draped across the front and over the arms with the ends hanging at the back. the latter style being the preferred mode. with pointed ends. vary in length and were often of the chakdar type. tie-strings in the front or on the side. hung in the front. that is. the men were attired in jamas made either from thick fabrics or transparent muslins. Very occasionally. The uttariya too draped from the neck and shoulders. The headgear was of two types. A narrow patka was knotted—often with a loop at the waist. On this basic turban form many variations occurred including a type which closely resembled the Akbari turban of the Mughals. The ornaments worn were few and usually confined to ear-rings and a hansli necklace. They dressed in a short or a long dhoti. Sometimes a tiara had only two peaks one in the front and one at the rear or five with the central one bearing the pompom. Alternatively. In some cases the jama was held with elaborate.
Warriors were dressed in the same way as other men and in addition carried arms.Decorative Design History in Indian Textiles and costumes worn when they attired in the jama.pajama outfit. Yogis wore a short loose tunic which came down to their knees and their hair was in the form of jatas tied on the top of the head. Such ornaments were worn tied to the body. The long choli with elbowFigure 80 length sleeves was sometimes of the backless variety. except ear-rings which were worn very rarely. and anklets. They wore flowers in their hair and were dressed in either an ensemble made up of a dhoti with a pleated patka. a choli and an odhani or a choli and a sari. They appeared to be tassels attached to ornaments made up of several separate jewelled pieces strung together to form a necklace. two ear-rings—one at the top of the ear and one in the lobe—necklaces. an armlet or a bracelet. the sari or odhani was made of a fine transparent fabric and quite frequently had a fringed end. or a choli and tiered skirt and perhaps an odhani. the women carried a small pouch attached to the waist. Dancers were clad in either a pajama with or without a patka and an odhani. Usually the sari or the odhani covered the head and passed across the breasts. bangles. instead of twisting it in a knot at the back of the head. Occasionally. Their jewellery consisted of hair ornaments. Sometimes they also wore a head-cover or a short tunic for extra protection. armlets. elbows and wrists. They wore the sacred thread and carried a kamandalu and a staff. Women showed a pronounced preference for tying their hair in a long tasseled plait. 89 . More often that not. A notable feature in the outfits worn by both the men and the women in this group of paintings is the presence of pom-poms at the shoulders. They often put on shoes or high boots. any form of jewellery was seldom worn by men. A new ornament found frequently in this group was the ear-rings made of bone or ivory and worn in the ear lobe. Sages had their hair tied in a knot at the back of the head and were clad in a short dhoti.
for example. or they were because of different provenances. on the other hand. It is difficult to say whether these differences denote the differing times of execution. the style of painting were towards the indigenous expression then it employed dress styles that closely resembled those seen in the Western Indian School of Painting or the Chaurapanchashika Style—the figures in paintings with affinity to the Western Indian School Style were very reminiscent of the Sahi figures of Jain Painting. the costumes were indistinguishable from those used in Persia.Decorative Design History in Indian Textiles and costumes THE SULTANATE SCHOOL The Sultans and their amirs. The paintings of the Sultanate School not only corroborate the literary evidence but also reveal the many conventions of costumes that were prevalent then. There was much variation in the cut and styling of dresses and that their character depended greatly on the style in which the painting was executed. according to the literature of the time adopted dress styles current in Persia and in Turkey. If. If. or were just reflections of the social station of the patron and his aesthetic taste. the document was painted in highly Persian’s expressions. 90 . Thus the styling of costumes Figure 81 changed with the stylistic affiliation of the painting.
was worn over the jama. different kinds of caps. Figure 82 Warriors were generally. Unlike the Hindus these people preferred to wear some kind of footwear. Occasionally. occasionally allowing the end to hang freely at the back. A veil secured by a tiara fell at the back covering the hair.Decorative Design History in Indian Textiles and costumes PAINTING WITH PERSIAN INFLUENCE Men wore a long-sleeved ankle-length jama. Sometimes a qaba. Sometimes they wore a form of an over garment or throw a mantle around the shoulders. They appeared to wear no ornaments. fully open at the front. On their heads the men wore crowns of various types. the jama was of the overlapping flaps variety. Sometimes. Paintings with indigenous influences 91 . including a rather popular one with upturned flaps. The jama was held at the waist by a short sash or a buckled belt. If the jama was short-sleeved it was worn over a long-sleeved shirt. for additional protection. Women were attired in a short-sleeved long gown over a long-sleeved shirt. Sometimes more gold embroidery in the form of bands was seen around on the sleeves or around the hips or knees on the skirt. they wore over their jama and helmets instead of caps or turbans. The jama had a front opening all the way from the top to the bottom. They seldom decked themselves in ornaments. The qaba occasionally displayed a trim of ermine fur. dressed in everyday attire and were indistinguishable from others but for the fact that they carried weapons. The turbans were usually tightly wound around a kulah. There was gold embroidery around the collar and along the edges of the jama. or turbans.
She wore a transparent knee-length kurta girdled at the waist over a tight pajama. Indian men often kept moustaches and beards. was dressed very differently. The odhani passed across her breasts and over the arms to hang at the back. They dressed in a long sleeved shirt over which they wore an ankle-length jama. the arm. The men wore crowns or turbans with or without a kulah and with or without a hanging end at the back. The headgear. Sometimes the men were attired in a garment which corresponded to the present-day jump-suits. bracelets 92 . Figure 83 Women tied their hair in a plait and wore a long jama with a pajama and an odhani covering their head and hair. It had decorative bands around the neck. Her hair was tied in four plaits and decorated with pearls and tassels. The jama was either plain or with overlapping flaps and was held at the waist by a belt or a cloth sash. and wore a tilaka on the forehead. necklace.Decorative Design History in Indian Textiles and costumes INFLUENCE OF THE WESTERN INDIAN SCHOOL OF PAINTING Men kept moustaches and beards. It consisted of a sleeved tunic with a pajama. She wore a tiara. They usually wore ear-rings. One of them. if worn. bangles. and the wrists and occasionally along the bottom hem. a princess. They wore a short or a long dhoti and one of them had a sacred thread. It was held at the waist by a short sash. A tight pajama was worn with the jama. tailored as one-piece. Their shoes had upturned ends. their hair was tied in a knot at the back of the head. was either a turban or a tiara. ear-rings along the ear edge.
bracelets and anklets. a narrow-looped long patka and a narrow uttariya thrown transversely across the chest and over the left shoulder. Their feet were usually bare. armlets. Their ornaments comprised of ear-rings.Decorative Design History in Indian Textiles and costumes tied at the wrist with pompoms and anklets. With the jama the men wore a tight pajama. INFLUENCE OF THE CHAURAPANCHASHIKA STYLE Men had beards and moustaches. Figure 85 93 . When the jama was plain the numerous tie-strings were situated in the centre and when it was overlapping flaps the many tie-strings were on the side. and an odhani. necklaces. Angels in the form of female figures with wings at their shoulders dressed in a one-piece tunic-pajama outfit. They wore crowns on their heads and shoes on their feet. usually Figure 84 came down to the knees and was either round or angular. made from transparent fabrics. Their jama. Their jewellery comprised of ear-rings and bangles. Indian Dancers were attired in a long choli with a skirt or a tight pajama with a patka.
The men had tufted side locks and were generally beardless. These were tied in a tight compact manner without the kulah. a long gathered skirt. an odhani or very rarely a sari. and an odhani draped over the head and across the breasts in a broad Figure 86 94 . It was observed in the paintings of the Chaurapanchashika Series. D. Although their hair-style had not altered their costume now consisted of a short choli. a tight pajama. an uttariya draped transversely across the chest and over the shoulder and a tiara. They were not averse to wearing ear-rings. worn by Indian men. In one document they wore an outfit which consisted of a choli. and armlets. The women wore earrings.Decorative Design History in Indian Textiles and costumes Their turban showed many variations. Warriors attired themselves in ordinary clothes but carried weapons. interestingly enough. showed a noticeable change. armlets and bracelets. They wore no ornaments. however. Yogis wore a short tunic which came down to the knees and piled their hair in jatas over their head. necklaces. Indian Men dressed in a dhoti. a long patka made of crinkled material. They wore also. The odhani or the sari was draped over the head and across the breasts in a broad band. 1439 the men’s patkat appeared to be made from such fabrics. Their clothes. In another document certain differences were discernible. Women always tied their hair in a tasseled plait decorated with strings of pearls. This was indeed remarkable because in the literature of the period there are references to crinkled material and perhaps such fabrics were employed for patkas. showed no change except in the turban. Even in the Mandu Kalpasutra of A. Occasionally they wore a pointed helmet or a suit of armor that covered the whole body. the women’s dress.
as well as the Deccani kingdoms. the use of transparent fabrics was not there. A significant feature of the costumes and textiles of this period was that the articles of dress the aristocracy and the common people differed not in their style and cut as much as in the fabrics employed. there was a pronounced preference for employing transparent fabrics. often enriched with gold thread embroidery and gems. The Sultanate documents revealed that the paintings were influenced by the indigenous. where Persian influence predominated. while the poorer people wore coarsely woven thick cloth. Not only could they not afford the good stuffs but they were also prohibited by law and social taboos from using fine fabrics. These distinctions have prevailed in India for centuries until the advent of synthetic fibers which have destroyed all earlier conventions mitigating social inequalities in the field of textiles. clothes made of gossamer fabrics were very fashionable. schools. In the group. From this time onwards in the Mughal.Decorative Design History in Indian Textiles and costumes band. Figure 87 95 . This would suggest that the Islamic royalty and gentry living in India soon developed a taste for these materials. The wealthy wore raiment’s of expensive stuffs. particularly the Chaurapanchashika Style.
they accepted many of the customs and beliefs of the local peoples. the cold and the hot. And the various seasons of India. demanded different textures of costumes. like the Makati robe of 96 . As the incomers enriched themselves from the fertile earth of Hindustan.Decorative Design History in Indian Textiles and costumes FOURTEENTH-FIFTEENTH CENTURIES MUGHAL COSTUMES The transition of the court culture from the Sultanates to the Mughals was not as abrupt as may seem from the struggle for power between them. differing as they did from the two seasons of the mountainous lands below the Hindu Kush. shared their language and way of life with the Persians. varied by costumes made from cotton and wool for the in-between seasons. Quite a few princes took native princesses in marriage. he called himself ‘Parrot of Hind’. One of the first poets who used Hindi for his utterances was Amir Khusrau in the fourteenth century. Figure 88 The Sultans retained the Persian gown like tunic for winter wear. an Afghan by origin. Thus one of the earliest poets in Punjabi language was Baba Farid. The gentlewomen kept the long gown. with baggy salwars for the lower part of the body. The Pathans. but they preferred clothes made from brocade for the winters and muslin for the summers. by virtue of the fact that large parts of Iran and Afghanistan were part of the Khorasan kingdom of Timur's descendants. who had begun to infiltrate after Qutb-ud-Din Aibak’s victory and settlement at Mehrauli.
which secured the waist. with salwars underneath. The pajama was nearly churidar. skirt. trousers and long boots of the soldiery to lighter weight costumes. also perhaps taken from Rajasthani courts. especially for the ghagra. yellow. This was court dress for winter. Figure 90 deliberately married Jodhbai. the first two Mughals. there was a rough and ready adaptation of the Uzbek tunic. Akbar’s sense of glory inspired everything. in the plain white for men. The shoes were horn-shaped at the back and embroidered with zari work. was generally in brocade. belt.Decorative Design History in Indian Textiles and costumes Baghdad. seen that only the synthesis of the conquering Uzbek way of life with the styles of living of the natives. orange. This was probably been Figure 89 adopted from Rajasthan. which looked like a crown. when the nobles had precious stones put in tiaras on it. and the dupatta. only embroidered with gold. who had by his perceptive genius. near purple. 97 . A gold chain held the dagger adjusted to the patka. The patka. The bulk of the population retained the traditional intertwining of the two sheets. and in dyed and printed cloths for women. The dynamic young Emperor. Akbar encouraged the chokidar jama with six pointed lapel ends below the gown-like cloak in various colours. Under Babur and Humayun. In clothes. Also he adapted the readymade tied turbans of the Rajputs. with squares and crosses printed on it. the daughter of Raja Bihari Mal of Jaipur and adopted many of the customs of his chief queen’s household. where the style of cloak was current as evidenced in the Chaurapanchashika paintings of Western India. would make for a stable empire.
The sash was of gold cloth. There were fewer pom-poms and tassels on their dresses. The women servants of the zenana wore the same style of clothes as the noblewomen. the costume became more opulent. muslins and woolen shawls. The patka was often a kind of scrawl printed with foliage. only in rougher materials. where the weaving of cloth and dyeing and printing had been practiced for centuries with utmost taste. the choli which shaped the breasts and the odhani in diaphanous silks. with pearls and plumes of rare birds. The churidar pajama was in soft green silk. Only the princes adorned themselves with the head-dress. in muslin or other light material. The ladies of the nobility adopted the colourful ghagra of Rajasthan. with geometric designs. Figure 92 more or less plain. The nobles continued to wear the tied turban. The main styles can be traced back to Rajasthan and Gujarat. inset Figure 91 with pastel shade flowers. The horns at the back of the shoes disappeared and gave place to leisurely slippers made of red leather. and it was in pastel shade of silks. The gay Emperor himself set the fashion for decorating the Akbaride turban. In Jehangir’s time. or in brocade. The cloak of silk was now no longer with pointed ends below. on blue or pink background. with the churidarpajama in cotton cloth. though in one colour or the other. The 98 .Decorative Design History in Indian Textiles and costumes In the summers the nobles wore the same style of clothes.
He preferred the colour green as an orthodox Muslim. and a dagger with a handle of jade. In Shahjehan’s time. And the number of courtesans in Agra and Delhi grew. only made in coarser cloth. The forbidden fruit was tasted. the love of rich and colourful costumes got a further fillip from the extravagant Emperor. The nobles took the fashions of the court to the various provinces when they were sent on duty in outlying areas. Figure 93 In their private lives the nobles indulged themselves in luxury. On state occasions. bracelets. dyers and printers were busy providing for the nobles and their wives. It was known that Shahjehan was a connoisseur of brocades and jewellery and had workshops established specially for the craftsmen near Chandni Chowk in Delhi. including necklaces. pendent. Himself. The feudatory chiefs also wanted to imitate the nobles of the Imperial court and took the central style of their own city states. and in the nearby old provincial centers. especially during the years when the Emperor was away in the Deccan. 99 . Several lakhs of weavers. The drinking of wine increased. he adorned himself with jewellery. Aurangzeb expressly forbade the wearing of pure silk at court.Decorative Design History in Indian Textiles and costumes workshops for supplies of cloth to the Agra court were not only in the capital. but in the villages around. he retained the style of cloak and turban of his father. when he had built the Red Fort in Shahjehanabad.
when he moved the capital from the north to the south. especially of women. in Bidar. These silks were embroidered with gold and preferred for court wear. The Deogiri fabrics were so transparent that the poets often spoke of the beloved not wearing any clothes at all but ‘being dressed in water’. thirteenth and fourteenth centuries in the Deccan did not differ much from the north. especially those which had been initiated by Muhammad-bin-Tughlaq. SIXTEENTH. The import of silks called Khaz. the Hindu costume. But with the emergence of the Vijayanagar Empire. The local silks of Deogiri were popular among the middle sections. Also the rich fabrics woven in Figure 94 100 . continued from Cathay as well as from West Asia. because of warm climate nine months in the year. Muslins were preferred in the south. The specialty of the weavers of the Deccan was the making of Himru brocades. The costumes of the princes and noblemen were modeled on the clothes which were familiar in the time of Amir Khusrau. led to the revival of thousands of workshops. Bijapur and Ahmednagar. that a hundred yards could be easily passed through the eye of a needle.Decorative Design History in Indian Textiles and costumes FIFTEENTH. who became independent rulers in the Deccan. Aksun and Parniyan. Golconda. in or near Deogiri. The styles of the twelfth. SEVENTEENTH CENTURIES DECANI’S COSTUMES The patronage given by the governors of the Sultans of Delhi. began to influence the fashions of the zenanas of the Sultans. as the ornamental phrase has it. These silks were so fine.
woolen stuffs. a choli covering the torso. An apron-like patka hangs down in lyrical lines from the front of the waist. though open at the back and an almost transparent odhani with soft slippers on the feet. The decorative pom-poms. From the Deccani paintings of the medieval period. especially when they married Hindu women. The odhani is mostly of transparent muslin. certain unique fashions of original design are visible. D. The colours purple and mauve are Figure 95 preferred. has four to six hanging points on the torso. because of the legendary splendor attached to everything made there. The noble women wore a three-piece garment. raw silks. A copper plate of A. the pigtails and the girdle. 1382 of Vijayanagar. A sari draped as a skirt. spun cotton. mentions the use of rich wedding cloths. tassels and sashes heighten the wrists. sack cloth. the shoulders. The trade with Persia and North India brought rich fabrics and these led to variegated splendor. Figure 96 101 . The fusion of the costumes of Hindus and Muslims was achieved in some of the zenanas of the Southern Sultans. and shawls. certainly among the upper orders.Decorative Design History in Indian Textiles and costumes Vijayanagar began to be popular. white cloth. often with polka dots in groups of three. though remaining the chakdar jama of pointed lower ends. The upper garment for men. silk cloth. The patka was highly decorative and the sash was often embroidered with gold.
he wears a quilted dress of cotton and over it he puts another garment of golden piastres. The king wears a cap of gold brocade two spans long.. The great Kalamkari centers of Machlipatnam.” The elegant styles of the courts of the Deccan persisted through the late medieval period.Decorative Design History in Indian Textiles and costumes The Portuguese travelers in the Vijayanagar Empire had left glowing accounts of the luxurious clothes and adornments. 1502-1508) wrote: “The men of condition wear a short shirt and on the head a cloth of gold and silk in the Moorish fashion. Figure 97 102 ... the Dutch and the English to India. One visitor. but nothing on the feet. and were a major factor in the visitations of the Portuguese. apart from the spices and precious stones which were the other main items of import into Europe. but also exported. The fabrics were not only made for wear in the country. Varthema (A. and when he goes to war. Kalahasti and Kumbakonam became centers of east-west trade. D.
Decorative Design History in Indian Textiles and costumes ARTISTIC FORMS Chapter-3 103 .
one finds that the creators of the many different types of designs on painted. maintaining their unity midst diversity. that there exists man’s strong urge to express his creative aesthetic instincts in visual form. In this context. Dynamically. The various artistic forms of Textiles and costumes have shown. Figure 1 while adding to their beauty and richness. cultures and traditions.Decorative Design History in Indian Textiles and costumes ARTISTIC FORMS CHAPTER-3 Unity in the midst of diversity is a theme popular in a country as diverse and rich as India. Historically different external influences have impressed India with their marks from time to time. printed. India is bound on the North by the Himalayan range of mountains and in the south by the Indian Ocean. with vast plains on which run important rivers. the external influences have been absorbed. Indian art and craft have also dynamically evolved over the centuries. Since centuries. all over the world. and the people practice different religions. re-shaping the existing patterns of life. embroidered or woven Textiles found fulfillment in their talents particularly because their work was Figure 2 104 .
They gained inspiration from mythological tales. and faith in certain basic values inspired craftsmen. Each artistic creation. bright gaiety of festivals and also with songs of marriage and birth. imagination. It was under such sympathetic nurturing. but became forged with the day to day life of the people. No wonder then that each product from the simplest clay receptacle of the potter to the highly ornate woven or embroidered fabric had a character and purpose of its own. that the crafts of India. cushions.Decorative Design History in Indian Textiles and costumes honored and supported by royal patronage. satisfying their interests. craftsmanship formed an essential part of community living. reached a Figure 3 high standard in by-gone days. and several other seasonal enjoyments. inherited tradition and love of the beautiful. In rural areas. employed in embellishing the indoor surroundings in the scenes depicted of courtly Figure 4 105 . the product of their hearts and hands. needs and emotions. The love of Nature. wrappings and floorings. Creative work needs natural talents. bed-covers. of harvest time. together with the sense of security and belonging afforded to craftsman. seats. legends. whether of urban or rural origin. not only had a purpose. History of Indian art abounds with examples where the crafts blossomed in various artistic forms under the patronage of art lovers. The master painters took immense care in bringing out the minutest details of the contemporary dresses and clothing’s worn by the characters represented in their paintings as well as such other woven materials as curtains. the need for a simple life.
in the Mirzapur region of Uttar Pradesh were referred to as bark cloth. so named for the sitting posture of the weaver. The rearing of wild silk cocoons and the reeling. that a new delicate-toned palette appeared in the court textiles of the period. spinning and weaving of these silks were the monopoly of various tribes in the Central and North-Eastern regions of India. Figure 5 106 . The wastes of these silks when woven had the rough. Till as late as the early twentieth century.Decorative Design History in Indian Textiles and costumes and aristocratic grandeur. It was from the twelfth century onwards with the introduction and assimilation of Islamic influences and the powerful presence of an aesthetic sensitivity that turned to the flowers and fruits of a more temperate climate. who used simple bamboo loin looms. it was also used by tribes. multi brown tones of bark and were referred to in early texts as bark cloth. The butis or designs thus depicted were indeed in actual popularity and the artists knew them so well from their keen observation of contemporary life in the court and streets. there are indications that the weaving of silk and woolen cloth was also pre-Vedic in origin. waste silk woven from tussar cocoon. and the most primitive tools. The silks indigenous to India and cultivated by tribes in the dark and pathless forests were the Tussar. to weave their apparel. Eri and the golden-hued Muga. It was worn along with cloth woven from hemp by Bhikkus. Though cotton was the fiber in which the masters of the textile craft found splendid expression.
ornament and linear forms of rare elegance and sophistication woven on cottons. the climate which made certain crops possible. and silks. To this must be added the patronage of enlightened rulers and the skills of migrating artisans. In the east. salts and water. through Uttar Pradesh. stretching from Assam through the lush vegetation of Bengal. Here the emphasis had always been on texture. Buddhist literature had many references to the magnificent cotton spinners Figure 7 107 . silk and wool has been determined by the contours of the countryside. Figure 6 Orissa and Andhra lay the great weaving belt. the distribution of desert and lush forest and the presence of minerals. alternate with the coarse textures and vigorous geometric symbols of peasant weaves.Decorative Design History in Indian Textiles and costumes The manner in which the genius of the Indian weaver was to express itself in cotton.
weavers and embroiderers. Ancient Indian texts do not tell us anything on tools and their evolution. traces the introduction of silk weaving at Varanasi to a great fire which broke out in Gujarat in the fourteenth century.Decorative Design History in Indian Textiles and costumes and weavers of Kashi. starched and perfumed. as well as patterned silks and 108 . but there are no records of the types of looms used or the weaving techniques. fled and set up workshops at Delhi. This is so with regard to the silk weavers of Murshidabad as well as the “Saurashtras” of South India. calendared. The royal Mauryan textile workshops that were established over two thousand years ago. to escape the fire. Varanasi. The word Vichitra Patolka is mentioned in the beginning of this era in Buddhist texts to indicate tie-dyed patterned multi-coloured silks akin to the Patolas of Gujarat. ‘It is strange how tradition links most silk weaving centers with Gujarat. There is also mention of scarlet flowered silks being worn by the high-born women of Madurai in South India. who belongs to one of the most important hereditary Naqshband families in Varanasi. Chinnai (Madras) and Ajmer. recording the building of a temple to the Sun by the silk weavers from Gujarat. That migrations of silk weavers took place from Gujarat from the earliest times was established by an inscription of the eighth century. Spinning was the work of women. It is likely. Agra. employed Figure 8 spinners. however. The fabric was so finely woven that oil could not penetrate the cloth. that fine muslins and flowered cloths. found at Mandasor. Silk weavers. Rajasthan. Hafiz Alt Hasan. Cotton cloths were washed. Silk cloth was also widely used.
It is also likely that the forms of ornamentation employed in Jamdani Buta weaving as also in the elaborate weaving of Paithan. Nor are a designer as separate from weaver’s mentioned in the description of the artisans working in the royal weaving workshop of the Mauryan kings. This is evident from a study of the garments worn by kings and their courtiers in the earliest extant mural paintings of Ajanta and Bagh and in the transparent garments found on early stone sculptures. This was a form of loom embroidery on the pit-loom. loom. Figure 9 109 . where exquisite floral or geometric motifs covered the body of the cloth bamboo spindles being used separately for each motif. The designs of the clothes used indicate knowledge of ikat. to aid the weaver in formulating the design. were known. the ancient Pratisthan. without the use of any technical contrivance like the Naqsha. as also indigo and manjitha processes of painting and dyeing cloth. or a Talim. using all the processes of ornamentation. and post-loom. tie-dye of cloth.Decorative Design History in Indian Textiles and costumes woolens. to create designs where colour forms a dimension. Figure 10 The early texts do not mention the role of the designer or maker of naqshas. nor is this function mentioned in the lists of artisans found in Panini. preloom. patole techniques of tie-dyeing of yarn before weaving. of bandhana. and outlines merge with a fluidity to form the pattern. were woven on horizontal pit-looms.
A.Decorative Design History in Indian Textiles and costumes It is likely. drawing the likhanam. similarly the foreign weavers were made most welcome in the royal workshops of Kashmir. Turkey and other lands where fine crafts workshops were to be found. and weaving the patterns on the stripes with Tufts. eyeless wooden needles. 110 . writing on Kashmir. that by the eleventh century the drawing of designs in textiles prior to weaving was known. Kshemendra. however. instead of carrying out his duty whiled away his time in spinning. These Naqshbands were supreme masters of the art of tying designs into the loom. Tradition in Varanasi maintains that Naqshband families with the inherited art of producing integrated patterns in various colours were brought to this country in the time of Muhammadbin-Tughlak. patterns. local artisans and weavers learned the art of Naqsha making from these great Figure 11 craftsmen. 1325-1351. In Kashmir an impetus was Figure 12 given to the already established workshops by Zain-ul-Abidin in the fifteenth century who encouraged the interchange of weavers between Iran. observes that the teacher employed in a Kayastha house.D.
Local painters. learnt the art of Naqsha. Islamic influences and techniques were to sweep the main centers of fine textile manufacture. introducing a new palette of colours and a new function. weavers. he was reported to have been a great poet.Decorative Design History in Indian Textiles and costumes The Jaina Rajatarangini mentions a large number of artisans adept in original designs regarding him (Zain-ulAbidin. Raga was the word used both Figure 14 111 . seeing the Chitra. and the creeper designs obtained by intricate weaving process were nothing compared to the figures in a painting. came from long distances like swarming black bees. poetry. A. Local artisans. The Ain-I-Akbari of Abul Fazi mentions Ghias-INaqshband born in Yezdm and goes on to say that the world had not seen a weaver like him. music and in the costumes worn both by peasant and emperor. Figure 13 In India the sensitivity to colour has expressed itself in painting. that of designer and masters of Naqsha making and writers of Talims. Soon. pattern. pattern making. Besides. from these great craftsmen. A century later the names of famous Naqshbands came to be known. except for isolated centers of weaving. 1459-1470) as the Wishing Tree.D.
Red was the colour evoked between lovers: a local Hindi couplet enumerates three tones of red. was the colour of the earth and of the Yogi. Colours were surcharged with nuances of mood and poetic association. manjitha. or swarms of bees. was the colour of Krishna. or southern winds and the passionate cry of mating birds. madder. The expression of mood through colour and dress was considered of such consequence that special colours were prescribed to be worn by a love-sick person. and the poet who renounces the earth. the wandering minstrel. indigo. or young mango blossoms. Yellow was the colour of Basant. Gerua. the seer. saffron. These colours when worn by peasant or emperor were but a projection of the Figure 15 moods evoked by the changing seasons. Figure 16 112 . was the fastest. of these. a repentant person and a person observing a vow. or spring.Decorative Design History in Indian Textiles and costumes for mood and dye. it could never be washed away. Nila. Hari nila. who was likened to a rain-filled cloud. to evoke the three states of love. the colour of water in which the sky was reflected. There was another blue. for like the dye.
The classical streams centered round the kings and their courts and survive to the present day as the main centers of cotton. so the weaver and the embroiderer and the painter and the dyer used their skills to bring to life jewel-like ornaments on the heavy gold end pieces of dupatta and patka and on the butas that ornamented the body of the fine silk and cotton weaves. and in the ateliers of Golkonda. These have survived in a modified form for over two thousand years. Ahmedabad. The fine painted and embroidered cottons were used not only for garments but for floor coverings. creating infinite fantasies of enamel inlay. New techniques and the skilled use of ornament were introduced and assimilated by indigenous masters of Figure 18 craft technique. walls of tents. the finest weavers from India worked alongside master craftsmen from Persia. awnings. 113 . As the goldsmith fashioned the beaten sheets of gold and enameled glowing coloured ornament onto it. silk and wool weaving. at Lahore. But in the court workshops of the Mughal Emperors. Turkestan and other centers of textile weaving. Agra and Fatehpur. hangings and as screens to ensure privacy in the royal palaces. New textile structures evolved. explored new uses of gold-thread and coloured silks. Figure 17 Inspirations that had been strengthened. The forms and symbols of this tradition altered with the patronage of ruler.Decorative Design History in Indian Textiles and costumes From the earliest times. craft expressions have known varied directions.
Only the finest could be offered to the godhead. with episodes from the epics and the puranas. in Jain ateliers and Nath Jogi. At Kalahasti. Figure 19 At Naupatna in Orissa.Decorative Design History in Indian Textiles and costumes The religious traditions claimed for their rituals the finest creations of the craftsmen. tie-dye the first verse of the Gita Govinda in a brilliant red lac dye into a slik scarf. 114 . The masterpieces of this tradition were the manjitha and indigo painted and dyed cloths. Palakollu and Masulipatam in Andhra. at Mayavaram in Tamil Nadu. chitrakars. craft guilds of weavers. Nathadwara in Rajasthan. astrological charts and esoteric paintings on cloth appeared in temple Figure 20 shrines. To satisfy this demand. painters and dyers were established around the main centers of religious worship. isolated villages of weavers practicing a form of archaic Buddhism that has survived for a thousand years. painted in panels to unfold the story. some using gold pigment. embroiderers. painted cloths of gods and goddesses. which is offered at the main ritual at the Jagannath Puri shrine.
the great crafts of weaver. With Independence there was a growing awareness of the importance of handloom weaving in the economic life of the country. Within a decade the economic aspects had been strengthened by a resurgence of new sensitivities that recognized the importance of textiles in the cultural life of the Figure 21 country and the danger of a breakdown of the traditional pattern of life of producer and consumer. with the discovery of synthetic indigo and madder in Europe. painter. from Surat and Burhanpur.Decorative Design History in Indian Textiles and costumes Amongst the masterpieces of textiles were the painted and embroidered cloths from Masulipatam and the Coromandel Coast. By the end of the nineteenth century. Special mention should be made of the painted chintzes where delicate effects of shading of the floral patterns were achieved. and the introduction into India of power-driven machines to produce cheap textile cloth. it was the industry with the largest potential for employment. 115 . dyer and embroiderer started to decline. Next to agriculture. through a masterly use of mordant and dye. The designs on these cloths reflected the sensitivities of the West. resulting in a complete destruction of the finer perceptions and skills of the producer of handloom textiles. In the twentieth century the Decorative Indian textiles and costumes underwent a traumatic change with textiles from England and Japan flooding the markets of India.
Decorative Design History in Indian Textiles and costumes ARCHIVES OF MUSEUMS AND DESIGN CENTRES Chapter-4 116 .
Art Galleries. it is necessary to identify authentic resources and materials. Handicraft Development Centers and Design Research Centers which have beautiful specimens of designs. Photographs etc. objects. the evolution of textures. They are products of Figure 1 117 . crafts. The Bird Wood Journal of Industrial Arts of India. Watts’ account of the exhibition held in Delhi in 1901. Design Centers. the fusion of colours.Decorative Design History in Indian Textiles and costumes ARCHIVES OF MUSEUMS AND DESIGN CENTRES CHAPTER-4 For any work on design documentation. We must remember that the making of cloths. is also very interesting. is also a valuable source of design and craft material. in which the senses were involved. which was published following a decision in 1883 by the British Government to document Indian handicrafts. In India there are a number of Museums. illustrated by Percy Brown. were simple pleasures.
where the visitors walk through. when man was nearer nature. We have called Museum a ‘wonder house’ and yet it is not the collection of curios. merely looking at strange objects. who were diffused in hamlets everywhere throughout our land.Decorative Design History in Indian Textiles and costumes sensuous reactions to the feel of the fingers. the heart and the eye that we celebrate the creations of various Museums and design houses. The initial impulse for the making of these wonder houses seems to have been reinforced by Ananda Coomaraswamy. of the nostalgia for indolence in the more leisurely societies. in a Figure 2 nineteenth century godown. when biological survival depended on the correlation of the hand. They are symptomatic of the ages when it was believed that man shall have joy in his labour. He seems to have suggested the possibilities of creating Museums of Textiles and costumes. when he revealed that the foundations of our civilization lay in the hands of our craftsmen. They are colourful ornaments of pomp and glory. They are adornments for brides to look lovely. of touch. The Museums have been so arranged in India that the Seeing Eye is given the chance to contemplate beyond 118 . Thus. who gave the first culture shock to an earlier generation. And they emerge from the instinctive pleasure of sight. It is because there is a dream house. almost every piece has become a symbol of the collective talent of the artisans. where the senses can be educated by noticing the creations of the old times.
even olfactory. The brocades suggest adumbration of the glory of the princes and princesses. The designers seem to have grasped the significant fact that the craftsmen had the delicate pleasure of making fabrics. tactile. The meaning of the decorations on the Figure 4 walls of the harems has been perceived. are stimulated. visual. is aroused to the colours. The onlooker’s sensibility. and rhythmic. of the turban for instance. And the painted cloths of tents show how they travelled in mobile palaces. which elevates the dignity of the male. not merely as covering of the vital parts. to dignify the wearer of clothes. even though atrophied by the machine cloth. signs and space relations of each piece. but as architecture. imagist.Decorative Design History in Indian Textiles and costumes looking. And there is recognition of the highly colourful Figure 3 119 . All the senses. and the folds of the patola sari. which deepens the flush of happiness on the woman’s face.
through the observation of its parts in spontaneous reactions to its beauty. then. and yet uplifted into a fairy-tale world of the most enchanting character. as part of the response to sensational sunglares. but also enable and facilitate the revival of the techniques and styles of our great heritage. In the lila of life. of the earth earthy. how the possible interaction of the weavers and the dyers takes place. birds and animals.Decorative Design History in Indian Textiles and costumes garments of the folk. 120 . how the corporal energies become magical forms. The invaluable treasures of these store houses are not only very helpful for our future designers. and indicate how combinations vary in the hands of craftsmen. beyond the febrile look. the seasons of rains and the privacy of the bedroom. The census of 1961 had covered handicrafts in a number of states and districts of India. The whole of creation is symbolized with flowers. to learn about the potentialities of nature energies. rooted in the vernacular idiom of the artisan’s heart. In our culture the inventive imagery of the craftsmen’s guilds has shown transformation of nature. mind and hands. creepers. in framework charged with inherent rhythmic flows. trees. and how the dynamic of the fingers can ennoble the eye. we should enter these Museums with humility and see the indigenous creative impulses reach some of the finest expressions of all time. human forms undergo mimesis. If we wish. The monograph brought out describes the products and photographically illustrates processes in detail.
Decorative Design History in Indian Textiles and costumes After Independence was achieved in August 1947. Master. knowledge and understanding of the many different styles. the Calico Museum of Textiles at Ahmedabad was born. the inspiration of good taste survived in his family. with their long inherited tradition. even while the transformation of the handicraft industries in Gujarat through the machine was going on. the main Figure 5 121 . Gira Sarabhai. Several organisation established by the Central Government or the State Government have helped in the documentation of traditional designs training and revival of craftsmen and in research in dyes. Their genius is being utilized to revive the old. revival and regeneration of textiles was made part of the national freedom movement by Mahatma Gandhi. have earned national recognition. The tradition is being passed on to the new and rising generation of artisans. Ambalal Sarabhai. beautiful textiles. with their special ornament design.artisans. The Calico Museum of Textiles Ahmedabad The head of one of the great families of entrepreneurs in the textile industry.
the grace of form and shape. Figure 6 122 . will appreciate the alliance of this pioneer with the interior tradition of the patient work of the craftsmen. her insatiable curiosity about the origin. The variety. the difficulties of preservation. woodcraft and metal work. dolls and toys. and the intricate technical know-how required for showing them. instruct and interpret the great traditions of India. rare paintings. New Delhi The Crafts Museum of the Handicrafts Board has over 17. brought her own instinctive love of fabrics. as well as the imaginative abilities required to communicate their values even to the uninitiated.000 exhibits of different craft types from all over the country In this excellently organized museum. jewellery and ornaments. the ornaments and their origins are apparent in the unique and well-chosen cross-section of crafts in the museum. The Crafts Museum. often in decay. development and extension of the functions of woven cloth to the Museum.Decorative Design History in Indian Textiles and costumes catalyst in the collection of stuffs. specially the rare fabrics. temple cloths and several old manuscripts. These include textiles. Those few who know the handicaps of collecting precious old textiles. every effort is being made to educate. the multi-faceted craftsmanship.
it works closely with the various State Governments in their development programmes. These Regional Offices are situated at Delhi and Lucknow (North). motif and craftsmanship. design and ornament. Credit Supply. The Headquarters Office of the All India Handicrafts Board at New Delhi. New Delhi Set up in 1951. and also research in vegetable-dyes. to emphasize the development of crafts. Design Development and Technology. Publicity. this Center houses a rare collection of traditional stage and dance costumes. Figure 7 The Board is concerned with Export Promotion Quality Control.Decorative Design History in Indian Textiles and costumes Theatre Crafts Museum. Through its five Regional Offices. the All India Handicrafts Board has widened the sphere of this work by collaboration in over two hundred schemes with the various States. All India Handicrafts Board The All India Handicrafts Board was constituted in 1952 by the Government of India to advise it on the problems of the handicrafts industry and suggest measures for its development and improvement. As a sequel to their objectives. namely. by the Bhartiya Natya Sangh. 123 . with the assistance of the All India Handicrafts Board. Planning & Research. all closely connected with the indigenous folk theatre in India. emphasizing design.
set up 1956 for experimenting in weaving various grades of fabrics from this remarkable and yet simple fibre. the Development Center for Cotton and Silk Saris Kothakota. Experiments 124 . An opportunity was created for craftsmen to work to revive the old designs and quality crafts. 1957.Decorative Design History in Indian Textiles and costumes Chennai (South). but better techniques could be made available for production. Kanchipuram. through which there would not only be a revival of the age-old crafts. the Procurement Center for Toda Embroidery. Development of the Crafts The first step was the setting up of several Development Centers in various parts of the country. household furnishing and linens etc. research for better vegetable dyes. and the Pineapple Fibre Research Center Modibidri. Noteworthy among these Figure 8 Centers are the Development Center for Weaving Cotton and Silk Saris. set up in 1955 to re-design the traditional modes to suit today’s needs and tastes. and intensive training would be possible. design and ornament. Ootacamund. The Board particularly looks to the development of crafts. and the establishment of museums to preserve rare and beautiful crafts. set up in 1957 to revive and popularise the exquisite embroideries done by these tribal people traditionally on their shawls. Kotkata (East) and Mumbai (West).
Decorative Design History in Indian Textiles and costumes here have resulted in some very fine fabrics of different textures. some of them woven with the old traditional brocaded motifs from the Kanchipuram saris—stylised peacocks. Kolkutta and Delhi. the All India Handicrafts Board established four Regional Design Development Centers at Bangalore. Figure 9 The Board recognized that documentation and developmental measures needed to be emphasized to 125 . techniques. The Weavers’ Service Centers set up by the All India Handloom Board provides design and technical guidance to the handloom industry. Handloom and Handcrafted Fabrics at Various Design Center To provide adequate design guidance to craft Centers throughout the country. set up earlier for the same purpose. the mango and floral sprays. Mumbai. At Bangalore. has been made a part of the Design Center at Bangalore. the Central Handicrafts Development Center. A technical wing for research in tools. and materials has also been added to each of these Centers.
Decorative Design History in Indian Textiles and costumes provide design support to craftsmen. Gujarat. Daman and Diu. Hundreds of motifs of traditional wood block prints have been collected from the areas it covers and are being adapted for embroideries. this Center is growing apace and expanding its activities from day to day. Craftsmen required assistance with new design ideas to suit the taste of consumers both in India and abroad. hand printing on textiles and in the Zari (gold) needlecraft. A strong kinship is retained between the old elegant modes of form and decoration and the new adaptations. Goa. Rajasthan. they have been fashioned in the style of the old pierced and ornamental stone screens found in some of the ancient edifices. Mumbai Serving Maharashtra. In the field of design. Craft Centers established at more than twenty-five towns dotted over the State covered by this Design Center are provided with extension Figure 10 126 . Madhya Pradesh. Regional Design Center.
In a dialogue with a weaver.Decorative Design History in Indian Textiles and costumes services on the spot to demonstrate the new techniques evolved. It is interesting to see that this desire for original work has taken root among the craftsmen who are being inspired by the work and talents of the master-craftsmen engaged at the Center.D. Mysore and Kerala. of sculptures. this Center has concentrated on making copies of rare designs and motifs from the ancient temples in the South like the Suchindrum and Padmanabhaswamy (Kerala) and the Lepakshi (Andhra Pradesh). wood and stonework. and to train craftsmen so that they may carefully reproduce the Center’s designs and keep alive characteristic and purposeful motifs and designs. Series upon series of drawings have been made.” Regional Design Center. showing whole episodes in pictures from legend and sacred story. he said. Andhra Pradesh. as well as the exquisite ivory panels from the doors in the historic Mysore palace. Equally notable are the reproductions of old frescoes from the Lepakshi temple. printed and designed fabrics. in which there are marvellous. bird and animal. “Indian textile was usually seen as fabric elaborately ornamented with flower and fruit. but what about the infinite geometries? By looking at a flower or bird it was easy to place them within a particular period and time. but geometric patterning was ageless. Bangalore Serving Chennai. jewels and crowns. hair styles and costumes worn by men and women in the 14th century A. These motifs are being adapted in the ornamentation of various textiles. Figure 11 127 .
Decorative Design History in Indian Textiles and costumes Regional Design Center. Punjab and Haryana. Kolkata This Center serves West Bengal. Delhi Serving Delhi. and substitute materials are being used to produce similar of basic products. The original home craft done by women of Kolkata has been greatly encouraged with the revival of the techniques of Kantha embroidery. Uttar Pradesh. of the ancient woodcarvings for Figure 12 Figure 13 128 . Bihar. Himachal Pradesh and Kashmir. They have also been reproduced for adaptation in fabrics and saris. with their lovely floral and Nature motifs. along with other ornamental motifs. Regional Design Center. It has concentrated on reviving the attractive designs found in the Puri and Rajnagar temples which have created rare wood blocks for printing textiles. From the temples of Chamba and Kangra (Himachal Pradesh) and from Uttar Pradesh come photographs and sketches done by the artists of this Center. this Center handles several interesting crafts that are being restyled. Orissa and Assam. Okhla.
Chennai Figure 14 129 . that has come down through the generations. which suit admirably the contemporary urban tastes and dress. research done on bamboo has resulted in discovering that it lends itself to many degrees of pliancy. The development Center emphasises design and ornament. more subtle personal ornaments. small machines. decorative work and originality of form and shape in the use of this material. too. For example. tools. This has helped the introduction of special weaves. Kalakshetra Dye Research Laboratory. and undertook the task of providing improvements in techniques through the use of better raw materials. and its natural tonal effects worked upon to give several delicate shades. Tiruvanmiyar. processes. is lending inspiration for simpler. Experiments have brought back to life the old vegetable dyes of India and the subtle modes employed to utilize their unique range of colours. The Central Handicrafts Development Center. etc. it has been successfully dyed in a wide range of colours. Bangalore This Research Center was set up in 1960 to support technical development all over India.Decorative Design History in Indian Textiles and costumes adaptation in suitable crafts being created anew. The importance of use of good and typical indigenous colours for maintaining the old beauty and for enhancing both the texture and motifs of India’s many varieties of fabrics led to research in this field. The fabulous folk jewellery.
Established in 1956. especially of typical dyes unique to India. Particularly interesting is Ikat dyeing. It is fascinating to see this play of colours from Nature. seeds. pineapple fibre. woods. Colours take on a certain appeal when one knows their origin. and even herbs. and particularly the flower and fruit origins which have special associations with different occasions and customs. fawn and biscuit. cotton. magenta and maroon. the vibrant and beautiful natural dyes which gave traditional designs their true character faced a slow death. a beauty peculiar to the flora of India. and the collection of herbs and preparation of Shade Cards. sun-hemp and jute. dyeing of screwpine strips and bamboo. where the threads are tieFigure 15 dyed and then woven to make the patterned fabric Figure 16 produced at this Center. fruits and fruit rinds. reds and greys. Kalakshetra Dye Research Laboratory was started with two main objectives: to revive the use of vegetable dyes and to develop and standardise the compositions of all colours. palm leaf dyeing with reactive group of dyes. 130 . flowers and leaves. where tones and hues vie in beauty. on silk. giving a whole range of shades in browns and pinks. blues and golden yellow.Decorative Design History in Indian Textiles and costumes With the discovery of synthetic dyes in 1865. by working to definite formulas for mixing. roots. Its many activities include hundreds of experiments carried out annually on natural dyes using about thirty-eight different colouring materials extracted from various types of barks. This pioneering and rare experiment has been widely welcomed. wool.
All India Handloom Board Concurrently with the setting up of the All India Handicrafts Board. to revive and develop their fabrics. In this way. with similar aims but with application to handloom textiles. and to achieve the fullest expansion of handloom production through greater employment of the weaver craftsmen. It was meant to advise the Government regarding the problems facing the handloom weavers. a beginning was made in the revival and development of traditional pattern modes and techniques of weave and decorative motifs as well as the creation of new designs and processes through the establishment of Weavers Service Centers Figure 18 131 . the All India Handloom Board was established by the Government of India in 1952. To achieve these ends.Decorative Design History in Indian Textiles and costumes The revival of this ancient art of dyeing with vegetable colours is certainly going to bring back the exclusively individual colours that are synonymous with traditional Indian textiles and enhance both design and ornamentation. certain measures were taken. Weavers Cooperatives were set up to bring them together for common benefits. priority was given to the equitable distribution of improved looms and the proper distribution of yarn through Co-operative Spinning Figure 17 Mills. who number about three millions in the country.
the Government of India decided in 1956 to set up the Handloom Design Centers. The Centers have become a channel of communication between weavers and the production units. Training programmes tailored to the needs of the sector in a particular area have been regularly undertaken. design dissemination. dyeing techniques. 132 . and innovations in appliances and accessories used by the weavers. the Weavers Service Centers have collected samples of various designs and weaving techniques. The activities of these Design Centers were later expanded to cover other aspects of development of the handloom textiles and were re-designated as the Weavers Service Centers.Decorative Design History in Indian Textiles and costumes Weavers Service Centres (WSC) Recognizing the need for protecting our cultural heritage in the traditional skills of handloom weaving and for protecting the sector from competition from the power loom and mill made textiles. Over a period of time. For this purpose. design adoption. These Centers have done a lot of work in helping the handloom weavers in various aspects such as design development. the Weavers Service Centers have been conducting live demonstrations and holding workshops and also setting up laboratories. dyes. technical inputs in the form of research in looms.
Decorative Design History in Indian Textiles and costumes CONTEMPORARY DESIGN FORMS Chapter-5 133 .
Very often they can be used with remarkable results through product adaptation of objects that might have been established over the years but now show signs of decline.Decorative Design History in Indian Textiles and costumes CONTEMPORARY DESIGN FORMS CHAPTER-5 Innovative products in tune with the times command immense attractiveness. The situation is very similar in the context of decorative designs for textiles and costumes. for instance. however. that the innovative process works here in creating a new look to the existing design by creative placement of butis. relatively few items can be called completely new. relates to the Mughal period or earlier. The paisley. as well as modifying the design and style of items to suit requirements of consumers. looking at the nature of the creative process. several decorative designs have prevailed on contemporary design concepts. In the case of traditional art this would imply simplifying the decoration. It is a pity that some of the designs have decayed with time. use of colour etc. It may be mentioned. Figure 2 134 . The great contribution of traditional design has left its mark through such innovative processes. Figure 1 Contemporary designs are not intended to be applied solely in the development of new products. as they were not preserved or developed or renewed innovatively. and it continues to hold its own style. where absolutely new designs are few. In this way. However.
in fact. A manufacturer or entrepreneur can avail of design assistance from the Government Design Centres and develop a handcrafted product for domestic as well as export use with minimum investment in design expertise. Figure 4 Decorative designers generally recognise four families of patterns: viz. He may. Floral: Flowers are very deeply embedded in our imaginative life. art movements and period styles are also used to classify decorative designs or patterns on chronological basis. alternatively. They are surrounded by a living traditions they have access to people skilled in various crafts. facilitating experimentation at minimum cost. are easily the most popular type of fabric patterns. Contemporary Indian designers have a unique advantage. Besides. floral.Decorative Design History in Indian Textiles and costumes India’s traditional textiles and costumes constitute one of the richest sources of decorative designs in the world. or develop suitable products Figure 3 by obtaining and studying publications and samples of successful products in the export market. and ethnic. This is not to say that he should copy foreign designs. consult or employ private designers. But the 135 . geometric. Floral designs. One can decorate oneself with them by wearing clothes bearing floral designs. but merely that he may use them as a source of inspiration and guidance. conversational.
the charm of flowers has captured the artistic sensibility of people. In floral designs. Flowers have been generally held in veneration and the poets have sung their praise. and are easily recognizable by the people. being familiar. however. the technique of production and the number of colours to be used. leaves and wheat. Natural forms are carefully developed to assume the shape of designed floral units. All the flowers in the floral designs are. In decorative design. And the flowers are both so beautiful and so fragile. Figure 5 where the naturalistic details are avoided.Decorative Design History in Indian Textiles and costumes symbolism of flowers is ancient. Nature has indeed endowed flowers with multiple attractions exquisite forms and structure. The symmetrical representations of natural objects in 136 . including grasses. the basic resemblance is retained. colours. The amount of detail that can be used in a floral design. are Figure 6 drawn easily by the designers and reproduced by artisans. still retaining their identities and making a perfect design. and lovely. however. The flowers twofold imagery tells us that they will always be in fashion. abstracted from nature. The floral category includes all the gatherings of the flower garden. delicately petaled and patterns of roses and sharp thorns are referred to as floral. to a certain degree. absolutely unimaginable. depends upon the quality of the fabric. floral prints and real flowers are alike: both are perennials. patterns of richly coloured. The flowers. Floral and plant motifs offer unlimited scope to designers. In this way. Since times immemorial.
A large pattern. and in some cases for other fabric also. Iris was a familiar motif in India. attempts were made at originality by copying Figure 7 the whole plants. details in the outline. It was profusely employed for the decoration of textiles. may give it a uniquely attractive appearance. consisting of many types of flowers combined in a large spray. and their alteration. Indian chrysanthemums and hibiscus are frequently used as floral motifs in textiles. It was also a favourite decorative motif in Mughal architecture. When this adaptation was not found satisfactory. and the use of the colour. Though larger floral motifs offer better opportunity for representing in greater detail the natural characteristics of flowers and foliages.Decorative Design History in Indian Textiles and costumes ornamentation. have through long practice. rose. or the border of shawls and sashes. while attempting to copy or adapt some fanciful Persian forms. Mughal craftsmen of the seventeenth century. make the finer type of work very effective. If the leaves and flowers of the plant do not balance properly. introduced such familiar flowers of Persia and Kashmir as the crocus and iris in their design. It was usually found in the Mughal textiles. using a floral grouping. pleasing herbs and ornamental shrubs. other elements are added to gain symmetry. yet for completing the 137 . as Figure 8 the featuring motif for the centre-field of the carpet. in the early stages of carpet manufacture. become intuitive to the designers of India. The lotus. Sometimes.
The Indian designers of the 16th-17th century were not content with floral motifs only. and therefore designs competed with one another in giving new twists to already existing patterns. which being a novelty in India presented an ideal decorative motif. of course. Figure 9 The urge for fashion in design is. The simplest floral motif was a small circle or dot with short radiating lines in all sides. including the tobacco plant. whether in colour masses or in stitches. It represents the flower of bakula (Mimusops elengi) But the actual forms of flowers with well defined petals are gulchandni (Tabern citrolia). and harsingar (Nyctanthes arbor-tristis) and other popular indigenous flowers. due to constantly changing market demand. The use of unusual motifs is a part of the whims of fashion. Such composition.Decorative Design History in Indian Textiles and costumes work quickly. 138 . as also for achieving better perspective in the display. or in janglas and jals. They made a bold attempt to reproduce plants. The floral festoons in a free roaming style impart a movement to the design and the use of flowers in sweeping groups gives a rhythmic elegance as in borders. which are obvious even without careful application of skill or technique. smaller conventional floral motifs were usually attempted. required a few curved lines without any attempt at stippling and shading for giving a true appearance to familiar flowers like the lotus and iris.
the old textile pieces preserved in some Indian museums and archives give ample and reliable information. Figure 11 Geometric designs are the most prevalent type of design. Geometric: Derived from any geometric shape. other than floral. and triangles of geometry are all there. though originally derived from curved leaf forms. paisleys. no literary reference is available on such an important subject as floral motif. Or. but it is different from the flower form. the circles. ranging too much more elaborate designs. Cube patterns are geometric until an artist makes them into conversational images of a child’s building blocks. are often stylised and isolated to yield the effect of a geometric pattern. and other contemporary sources of that time.Decorative Design History in Indian Textiles and costumes Unfortunately. 139 . A geometric may simply feature lines arranged or Figure 10 a single ground colour. Even the Ain-iAkbari which generally mentions textiles and flowers. a shape that is not a picture of something in the real world. A ‘geometric’ is an abstract or non-representational motif. is silent on the matter. However. pinwheels and polka dots. a basket weave is a geometric until the artist makes it into a basket. To call the design “geometric” is to use the vocabulary of the textile industry. as also are spirals and stars. A geometric is actually a stylised iris. squares. in fact.
and its connection with the pyramid links the shape with immortality and eternity. Figure 13 in fact. they work well. The circle. It may show a whole scene—a landscape or cityscape—but just as often the designer removes a motif from its usual surroundings and arranges it in one of the formal layouts of fabric design—in a neat grid or stripe—or scatter it 140 . In modernist art. at the least. at first controversial to the point of scandal. In either case. is the most popular non-floral motif. Figure 12 Conversational: designs depicts some real creature or object (excluding flowers). abstraction. abstraction has been around forever. of intellectual weightiness— unless it reaches the point where people write it off as “merely decorative.” In fabric patterns. and most people are probably unaware of these meanings as they look at the cloth. The designer knows that abstraction is inherently decorative. still retains an aura of difficulty. but does not have to be a picture. without some echo of the Egyptian pyramid coming to mind. or. The various symbolic meanings of geometric motifs are often out of date. Yet these motifs continue to attract attention. for example. some cultural memory that may not have to be articulated in order to be effective. They spark some sense of familiarity.Decorative Design History in Indian Textiles and costumes It is hard to look at a triangle design. The centuries have filled Geometric patterns with associations.
An animal design of pandas. they may reacquire value as collectibles. 141 . Figure 14 Some of the most lucrative of all contemporary designs are conversational of a relatively new kind. Mickey is a charismatic chap. Still. This mouse can move bed sheets and T-shirts like no man's business. like Mickey Mouse. Conversational designs are also called novelty designs. their easily identifiable images tend to be more vulnerable than neutral motifs to the public’s passing moods. This family of subjects also includes the large class of designs known as commemoratives—prints made in honour of some special occasion. such designs are temporary novelties.Decorative Design History in Indian Textiles and costumes randomly. and copyright signs than artworks. or of photographs. or even of architectural models. though. from elections to sporting competitions to historic anniversaries to advances in technology—each illustrated with some image relating to the great moment. Even more than Conversational in general. Conversational are design versions of paintings. Delightful as some of these characters can be. and we should not be surprised that he is proven to be a sales animal. may move in and out of fashion quite rapidly depending on how the animals are doing in the news at the time. has made them immensely popular. they are more like trademarks.as flesh and blood. they are usually dead in the market as soon as the event that launched them is over. for example. they may have enough character and humour. Virtually any sort of event that a large-enough audience feels enthusiastic about may earn itself a commemorative print. Eventually. logos. their life in the mass media—the vehicle of their existence.
Traditional Indian taken from different parts of the world. But what happens when a picture duplicates itself so many times on one piece of cloth that no one looking at it could have any illusion of looking out into a landscape? Or when. for a European version of an Indian motif. made into a shirt or a dress. made to be sold back to the people in other countries. we often see their actual motifs less clearly Figure 15 than we notice their colours and the symmetries and interplay of forms caused by the repeat. The results were often a fascinating stylistic melange. which looked neither quite Indian nor quite European. hide them from attention Figure 16 without their repeats. Without their air of the everyday. Their 142 . the contours of fields and woods are shaped by the lines of the human body? Looking at textile designs. would these pictures be reconsidered as the potential subject matter of art history? Ethnic: Nineteenth-century designs depended on technological imbalance. It is as if the uses to which these images are put.Decorative Design History in Indian Textiles and costumes Among the earliest examples of Conversational were the large-scale pictures that look like fine etchings in repeat.
Figure 18 Styles that outlive their first life inevitably come to coexist with other designs quite different in origin. but they are always traditional interpretations of local styles. however. Designers are often the link between the textiles. Like conversational such as the commemoratives.g.. they reflect a kind of consensus of the artistic taste of that period. to reappear whenever someone senses that the time is. or a particular design may be manufactured so consistently since its initial appearance that it eventually connotes no particular time at all. That taste can be vernacular. educated or refined. ethnic looks tend to be self-limiting. Traditional as opposed to Modern. Though a period may have a dominant look. generating a new look. many of these designs simulate regional motifs and techniques. With the exception of the paisley. e. They are part of the art movements and ideas of different ages. every other era is well stocked with hints of 143 . Art Movement and Period Styles: Designs are influenced by art movement and different styles in Figure 17 different periods change incessantly. The ethnic styles can be seen in Contemporary design. which has been popular long enough to be completely assimilated into modern fashion.Decorative Design History in Indian Textiles and costumes associations vary with the culture they imitate. And the period may last just a few years before it begins to look outdated. costumes and the ne arts. right for a “new” twist on the constant demand for a particular type of a design.
Art-movement patterns are no less revealing. and study of the best of the traditional styles. The craftsmen must not necessarily only copy the characteristic trends of the country’s past heritage. Decorative design is like any other art. We must evaluate our attitude towards our skilled traditions to ensure that the traditional arts endure and thrive. To find a market. Like any other art form. as they embody the genius of indigenous talents perfectly synthesized from time 144 . preservation.Decorative Design History in Indian Textiles and costumes what is to come and reproductions of what came before. the styles actually belong to two hundred years of costume designing and textile printing. it would be a medieval look. For today’s creations and inspirations must themselves become in turn a tradition from this age into the future. designs and motifs are very necessary as a guide to good craftsmanship today. it cannot help but reflect its time. The revival. A medieval pattern designed in the nineteenth century cannot really be called a medieval pattern. their fantasy is easier to comprehend because it is openly expressed. a pattern must somehow reflect the contemporary mood. or. indeed. designs also link the past to the present. or even to be made in the first place. any kind of creation at all. but it must Figure 19 be harmoniously adjusted to find a sympathetic rapport with the pattern of life today. our consciousness and the vibrancy of the society in which we live. Contemporary textile and costume designs reflect our spirit.
and more originality and quality—essentials in the use of raw materials. This state of affairs naturally adversely affected both design and motif.Decorative Design History in Indian Textiles and costumes to time with new cultural impacts and the imagery of sign and symbol. In this connection. The new creations of today are reaching the public at large through emporia and the holding of regular exhibitions. motif and craftsmanship in order to re-create through them new and lovely objects. and thus could not be saved from the decay into which many of them were falling. another element of far-reaching consequence in the revival and development of handicrafts has been the need for improvement in tools and equipment. and become likewise the inspiration for future generations of designers. 145 . or become faulty in various ways. Craft modes have frequently suffered because the basic products utilised of old have become increasingly expensive. But it is also essential that the public get the opportunity to see and rediscover the old beautiful styles. Figure 20 Figure 21 Craftsmen of all categories study the rare and prized traditional crafts and their particular beauty of design. the designs and ornamental motifs of which would be truly characteristic of our country. or lacked new thought and innovations. Craftsmen of today must also create such crafts.
have all been emphasized. and created a growing demand for them. will illustrate how much this trend has enhanced these crafts in India today. Starting with the Indian Cooperative Union. coral and beads in some of their motifs.Decorative Design History in Indian Textiles and costumes Official patronage and support are provided by Regional Design Centres of the All India Handicrafts Board. weaving. 146 . leaves. the use of turquoise. The typical traditional Tibetan craftsmanship and art motifs of their carpets and traditional weaving have been carefully adhered to. legendary animals. which have worked to rediscover the traditional motifs and ornamentation and adapted them either with new inspiration on similar crafts or for use on different crafts. a particularly interesting programme sponsored by it has been the development of Tibetan Figure 22 crafts among the refugees now settled in India. There are many others interested in the renaissance of the crafts who have directed their attention to these same ends. textile printing. so that new and lovely crafts have emerged with the old characteristic modes. scrolls and geometrical shapes done in unique colour combinations wherever colour has been used. one finds that in addition to its other activities of setting up co-operatives for craftsmen and farmers. A few examples where such interesting work has been done on representative crafts like embroidery. the Weavers Service Centres of the All India Handloom Board. The very different ornamentation of bold stylised flowers. established in 1947. and the Design Development Centres established in the various States.
printed and embroidered textiles seen in the Emporia have delightful styles. established in 1957. Woven. Turning to the craft of embroidery. but all the other varieties like satin. motifs and patterns that bear the inimitable indigenous folk characters. leaf. the crewel work chain stitch floor rugs were created by her and her late father more than two decades ago. bed covers and various decorative and utility products. bird or spray has just the right touch of Nature’s tones to bring to full flower the fabric on which it is done. stem. organizes and works out programmes for the development of twenty-two village industries. hand block prints. Not only has the crewel work chain stitch been used. including Khadi handspun and hand woven fabrics. shawls. which enjoy a universal appeal. and they have since turned into a sizeable industry in Kashmir. In fact. The stylised flower. hangings. which plans. particularly crewel work.Decorative Design History in Indian Textiles and costumes The Khadi and Village Industries Commission. has been set up at Srinagar. paintings and inlay work have been judiciously adapted for embroidery on elegant garments of all kinds. encourages artisans in their work and training to use and adapt the old traditional modes for their crafts today. one of the unique and artistic Centres for specialized embroidery. bidri metalwork. running and darn stitch has been utilized to bring out the delicate contours of the motifs in many colour combinations. Figure 23 The pleasing qualities of the specialized embroidery is the manner in which old traditional motifs from enamelling. 147 .
The richness of colour combinations. comprising floral. present a most unusual facet of ornamental weave. The woven textiles of Kalakshetra have earned a name for the originality of their colour combinations and classic purity of their ornamental motifs. geometrical and stylised 148 . which glow with these chaste and refined motifs. an interchange of these motifs has also been done on painted and lacquered papier-mâché. birds. Another outstanding example is specialized weaving done in the Kalakshetra Art Centre. Turning to woven fabrics. whether stylised flowers. At this pioneering Centre. or geometrical shapes. the patterns from Nature.Decorative Design History in Indian Textiles and costumes Recently. started in Chennai. the revival of the old traditional saris and fabrics of South India. wood and even metal surfaces to beautify the textural quality of the basic materials used for boxes. Splendid work has been done through the years not only to recreate the old pristine weaves and unique motifs. and other decorative articles. Assam has made the collection and revival of the ornamental textiles of Assam. linear. but in encouraging original work in the art of the loom and the ornamentation of its products. plaques. Through special gifts and Figure 24 Figure 25 aptitudes of the people. animals. and the creating of new designs from them has been a long standing feature. they have been able to impart a strong impetus to this ancient art of weaving in silks and cottons so famous in the annals of Assam’s craft history.
suitable as decorative wall hangings. set up by a group of public spirited citizens to help craftsmen and craftswomen.’ from the name of the particular area of Chennai city. but at its production centre. striking effects and patterns have been achieved through varying weave combinations in which jute. the play of patterns of light and shade. that they have come to be known as the ‘Adyar saris. A new style of creative and decorative weaving has been evolved to emphasize design and texture by the use of a choice selection of fibres. where this Art Centre is situated. Not only has this organization helped in the revival of various textiles of the region. of textural nuances. wall hangings and furnishing materials. room dividers. old traditions are being re- 149 . Figure 26 The Bengal Home Industries. in a skilful interchange of ornamental themes from paintings to woven fabrics. Besides this very original work. Adyar. motif and colour. has successfully reproduced subjects from the Miniature paintings with all their charm of design. can be cited as an instance where much interesting work is being done in textile printing and Batik. Textile printing and Batik have perhaps received the most attention in the current trend for adapting motifs from other crafts and one finds printed fabrics coming from all over India enriched by this vogue. Taking inspiration from Nature and environment.Decorative Design History in Indian Textiles and costumes forms. sisal and cotton yarn are combined to make screens. and impressions of different facets of life around.
Kolkatta. furnishings. Various old arrangement of the fish. toys and paintings on rural walls and pottery seem to have been the source for some of the inspirations in these well conceived and beautifully made textiles which can now be seen freely on bedspreads. elephant. flowers and animals are used with great effect. Interesting innovations and adaptations are being done at the Silpasree Industrial Centre. the peacock and geometric shape and sometimes abstract forms painted on them. elephants. and decorative pieces are designed for ornamenting panels as are seen in several old temples and historic buildings. and although she lays a certain stress on embroideries. Old folk. where stylised birds. her experiments have introduced a number of new features for contemporary use through traditional skills. fish. started for needy women as a Training-cumFigure 27 Employment Centre. dress materials etc.Decorative Design History in Indian Textiles and costumes created and new creations evolved. Many of the charming motifs from Nature and environment are not unlike those seen on some of West Bengal’s other crafts. 150 . the tiger and stylised flowers. There is a folk inspiration about the Painted and Printed textiles which have stylised human figures. tapestry. horses. linen. inspired by these famous regional designs. All the crafts made in this centre are designed by her.
Figure 28 151 . and an array of traditional costumes with their particular pattern styles. Artists.Decorative Design History in Indian Textiles and costumes These few examples of interesting work being done on some of the characteristic crafts by both traditional craftsmen and the newly trained craftsmen and craftswomen by different groups and individuals in the country are cited to show how the craft traditions are adopting and adapting the rich myriad of design forms and patterns that are part of the multicultural Indian heritage. jewellery and ornaments. It has been set up with the express purpose of giving the public an opportunity to access. a representative picture of some of the rare crafts with an ancient heritage in both design and craftsmanship. The Calico Museum of Textiles at Ahmedabad is a Centre for the traditional Textile Crafts of India. tie and dye silks and cottons. fine block printed and painted textiles. Here are wonderful old woven fabrics. at one place. craftsmen and lovers of the traditional crafts of India will find this a great treasure house for learning the traditional designs and styles as they are the base for the upcoming modern design forms. embroideries.
had lost touch to a great extent with many of the crafts having taken to cheaper machine-made products for years. particularly in urban society. this old love and appreciation for the crafts is slowly reviving and spreading throughout the country. The craft ideology and love for the handmade products which formed such an important part of living in the past had been all but lost. embroideries. metal ware. And what is important is that not only that craftsmen of all categories are producing crafts today which aim at qualifying for these high requirements of the past. Commercial artists too are becoming deeply involved in the old modes and are adapting these motifs in the designs for mill-made fabrics in order that they may compete favourably with handlooms and their special qualities of Figure 29 152 . and are rediscovering the true characteristics of design. so the public at large too. but that people at large are also appreciating what is being done. This can be seen in the varied handloom saris. But today in India. motif and ornamentation inherent in the crafts of India. People are once again becoming familiar with Indian motif and ornamentation and can recognize the region from where they originate. and indeed all the characteristic crafts that are freely used by all sections of the country. curtains.Decorative Design History in Indian Textiles and costumes In describing the renaissance of the crafts it will be noted that sincere efforts are being made in all crafts that are being produced in India today. fabrics. Just as thousands of craftsmen all over the country had become alienated from their inherited vocation owing to economic stress which stemmed from a growing industrial society.
colour and beauty of ornament.for the highest ideals. As craftsmen all over the country try to recapture the old refinements set by master-craftsmen.Decorative Design History in Indian Textiles and costumes motif and textural beauty. For it is this spirit which has formerly made the master-craftsmen such a vital link in human relationship. jewellery and folk paintings are being used liberally in textiles. carpets. he has emerged today. One can also see today that any exhibition of the crafts is a success. which won for India such laurels in the past. Figure 30 In today's fast changing world of fashion. All these are very encouraging signs. Embracing his precious birthright with a passionate zeal. ceramics. Most of the designs today are Traditional textile designs from stone-works. the old spirit of purposefulness and grace will lead the craftsmen to employ this always-. designers and manufacturers are constantly faced with the challenge of providing new designs to suit the rapidly growing fashion consciousness in the market. strengthened by the fire of his noble convictions to serve as always the community and nation and the ideals of form. for people from all walks of life patronize them and to buy the exhibits according to what they can afford. The basic philosophy of the consumers has 153 . They will once again receive the old patronage and appreciation that is necessary to give them that sense of security and belonging which the creative artist needs to keep their art alive. frescos. Simultaneously.
Rustic. With CATD it is now possible to go straight from the initial idea to visual representation of fabric showing different types of designs and colour combinations. as are the vivid and bright colours and floral prints. Computer Aided Textile Designing (CATD) has led to better quality and flexibility in design development. The traditional methods of textile designing were based upon the use of a pencil and a paper. Figure 31 154 . Computer Aided Textile Designing (CATD) has now given a viable option to the above method. All the basic concepts can be stored in the computer's memory and whenever required. The prepared designs were later on filled with colour using a brush.Decorative Design History in Indian Textiles and costumes changed. earthy colours and ethnic motifs are equally liked by the people. The whole process of design development was laborious and time consuming. and reduced the time between design conception and actual marketing. increased the efficiency. the computer can be asked to re-create the design with the desired colour combinations.
Decorative Design History in Indian Textiles and costumes FUTURE OF DECORATIVE DESIGN Chapter-6 155 .
enhancing the flexibility. there is a necessity for design development. On account of this changing and increasing demand. new machinery and processes and the ever increasing demand for new aesthetic designs. However. balance. as in any other discipline of design. In the manufacture of fabrics. and improving the reproducibility. in any commercial Figure 1 156 . and texture are attained through expert craftsmanship.Decorative Design History in Indian Textiles and costumes FUTURE OF DECORATIVE DESIGN CHAPTER-6 The 19th century marked by the beginning of the historical analysis of design and a critical approach involved a continuous search for the principles of design in nature and history. With the introduction of new fibres. Tasteful and innovative use of colour is an innate ability developed through study and practice. maintaining and even surpassing high aesthetic standards are a designer’s primary goals. the art of decorative designing has become more challenging than ever before. The 19th century designs sought a new vocabulary by adapting decorative designs of the past to suit the new requirement of mass production and an appeal for mass audience. Proportion.
a designer must commit to the coming trends well ahead of the time that clothes appear in stores. largely because consumers tire of one look and want a change after some time has passed. and timely fabrics. understand. If black is prevalent in clothing one year. A designer must guide a company to use its capabilities fully in producing new. Figure 2 157 . In industry. But will black be followed by bright colours. a designer/stylist must be able to anticipate future trends and coordinate the release of new fabrics at the time for best marketability. textile companies look to designers or stylists to see. and colour will then seem a refreshing change in clothing. different. Historically. certain trends are cyclical.Decorative Design History in Indian Textiles and costumes enterprise. or by pastels? Through intuitive ability and research. and capture current and future trends in colour and pattern. or by brown with coloured accents. In addition to keeping abreast of technical information and keeping artistic skills well honed. it will probably appear in home furnishings the next year. How are future trends anticipated? In part through Figure 3 awareness of past and present works in the field. formulating a general assignment for design of product lines must also involve accounting for both the suitability of the design for the end product and maximizing use of available materials and manufacturing capabilities.
Decorative Design History in Indian Textiles and costumes
Historical fabrics may be studied from books and old magazines and are a limitless source of inspiration and information. Local museums and historical societies may have textile or costume collections. Some textile companies maintain extensive archives that are almost museums in themselves. The dates of the patterns in fashion and designs are enlightening, for they help to show how styles and motifs repeat themselves. Often a pattern seems typical of a far later time than that of its actual making. The rich fabrics we associate with those earlier years are mainly embroidered, printed or woven. The vision of the artisan, functional usage of a particular artefact led to important contributions in the development of the designs. The division of techniques was not clear-cut and quite often one technique could flow into the other, and later there were variations in forms and styles.
Figure 4 Figure 5 All fashion arises at a particular point in history. People demonstrate how they belong where they are in place and time by shaping the lines and colours of clothes and home furnishings. But there is nothing to be shaped except what is already there. This
Decorative Design History in Indian Textiles and costumes
is the irony of fashion: always to be up to date yet always to be dated. To be original in textile and costume design is to make the best use of the old vocabulary. In terms of the last few centuries of art, with their ever-higher estimate of the value of originality this is a peculiar idea about invention. But as the far older visual tradition of textile design shows, the pressure to innovate is really cumbersome. In the long history of image making, the value of originality is a fairly recent idea. It is only now that we have valued originality and novelty above all things in
art. Traditional designs go back to humanity’s earliest times and belong to a much older
tradition of symbols. Any vocabulary constantly expands and contracts. Words are added by import from elsewhere and words are dropped as they become obsolete. But every new word falls into a recognizable category: they are all familiar parts of speech. The pattern vocabulary is likewise vast and unlimited, but the basic grammar, the structure, is limited. In textile and costume design, the floral, geometries, conversational, ethnics, art movements and period styles, each of these large categories has subcategories, such as roses and sprigs among the floral, or circles and squares among the geometries. The
Decorative Design History in Indian Textiles and costumes
successful designer seeks not to devise something never before imagined but to create a variation on one of these preexisting themes. A quantity of any season’s print fashions is frank borrowings from earlier designs. If a particular period look has returned to style, its patterns may need a little updating. It’s hard to find a printed cloth that doesn’t belong to one of the traditional variety. It always has been standard procedure in the textile or costume design to look to existing textiles or costumes for ideas. In the flood of fashion, development too soon is as dangerous as too late. After a couple of seasons of large-scale prints, say; there may be a swing to a “noprint” look of small, inconspicuous geometries, or of printed plaids and textures. The designer must sense the timing of the incoming trend. The next step is often to consult the swatches of earlier days, looking for something that can be modified for the Figure 9 arriving moment something old that can be recast as new.
and nothing appears out of nowhere. Prehistoric paintings of animals like deer and dogs. some motifs follow the tides of politics. The motifs are repeated over the course of the decades. going right back to the ancient civilization of the Indus valley. Just as those hands move at different speeds. on combs and tobacco cases. On walls and doors. the motifs come and go in different rhythms. This implies that the sources of tribal art and their decorative designs date back several thousand years. though the clock’s hands only point to one moment in the round. designed and painted clay bowls belonging to various periods and sites have a kinship with several of our contemporary tribal arts and crafts. Some are seasonal— every spring brings its flowers. where all time’s hours are visible simultaneously. Some appear rarely some are always being printed somewhere. decorated pottery. hunting scenes on stone slabs. Figure 53 Figure 11 Figure 10 161 . or of wealth and recession. We may imagine a clock face. Prints can be thought of as having a chronological dimension.Decorative Design History in Indian Textiles and costumes The patterns of printed cloth suggest that nothing disappears. the modern tribesman carves geometric and symbolic designs that are thousands of ears old. None vanishes.
Only a tiny minority of printed fabrics is considered worth preserving. for example. But the swatch book stays. the carpets we walk on. What was powerful to one culture becomes decorative to another. The clothes we wear and dress our children in. Its symbolism varied. Figure 13 The swatch or pattern book is the annual or seasonal record of a textile mill’s production. curtains. but it was always mystical and positive. and furniture—symbols grow over these things. It’s as if textile patterns were an immense library of images waiting for us to attach meaning to them. love to see them so much that we cover everything with them. symbols gather and lose meanings. It has remained that way for thousands of years. impressions of the designs printed on paper before being printed on cloth. the cloth eventually wears out and disappears. is found in almost every ancient culture. our wall coverings. Swatch books are an invaluable record of design history and source of inspiration. yet from this fragment a designer can re-create the whole Figure 12 162 . the sheets we sleep under. and what was once decorative may become powerful again. We love to see these motifs.Decorative Design History in Indian Textiles and costumes As they pass through the ages. portions of the artists original paintings. Usually the cutter has made no attempt to preserve the pattern entire or to show how it repeats. It contains samples of the mill’s designs. The swastika.
for India is the cradle of the western textile industry. can grow an “original” pattern out of a cell of the old.Decorative Design History in Indian Textiles and costumes or. The swatch book often jumbles images from every time and place. It’s as if the swatch were a gene: its offspring have their own individuality. India has a special place in the history. waiting for reuse. A swatch book is a kind of running commentary. Indian craftsmen developed sophisticated methods of printing and painting cloth many centuries before Europeans who followed them. but they also show their ancestry. The swatch book is also a tool for recycling traditional designs. when the French and Figure 15 163 . Either the European or American designers are copying an Indian style in order to mass-produce it and import it. Indian styles and images have made their way abundantly into European and American textiles. rather. readable in the same Figure 14 way that the earth is readable to the archaeologist each has taken a sensitive impression of historical shifts. for its people more cheaply than they could make it themselves. or they are adapting it for the tastes of the home market. Until the early 1700s. The swatch book is a kind of family tree of the motifs in the pattern vocabulary.
pyjama and shawl. Excessively ornamented surface decoration without structural strength is unsatisfactory. calico. but they did not invent them. It is necessary for designers to keep in mind some salient features of the change in the tastes and requirements of consumers. The patterns in textile designs all over the world are traditional Indian designs. dungaree. a contemporary consumer would prefer less elaborate patterns and simple forms. especially in the export market. Cashmere. The idea of reproducing a flower or an animal on cloth. Figure 17 164 . especially antique reproductions. cloth that would stay colour fast in sun and water was imported into Europe-from India.Decorative Design History in Indian Textiles and costumes English uncovered the secret of India’s mordant-dye technique. chintz. khaki. Though there is always a small demand for fine decorative pieces. This is why so many English words for fabrics and garments are Indian in origin: bandanna. by Figure 16 altering them drastically by simplifying the making of them.
this would also provide encouragement to designers and craftsmen. He wants beauty as a supplement to utility. Very often they can be used with remarkable results through product adaptation of objects that might have been established in various markets for several years but now show signs of declining sales. Figure 18 Figure 19 A manufacturer or entrepreneur can develop a handcrafted product for domestic as well as export use with minimum investment in design expertise. Modern designs. hence the increasing demand for goodlooking functional items. by obtaining and studying publications and samples of successful traditional products if he avails of design assistance from the Government Design Centers which he could use as a source 165 . It should be emphasized that modern design attitudes are not intended to be applied solely in the development of new products. which dominated craft designing earlier. In the case of traditional designs this would imply simplifying the decoration. in some cases.Decorative Design History in Indian Textiles and costumes The contemporary consumer is not often either sensitive or responsive to religious themes and symbols. would be preferred by discerning consumers. as well as modifying the shape and proportion of items to suit requirements of contemporary consumers.
and others. success will depend as much on the production of traditional items as on the design quality of new products. Craftsmen. Information is provided to interested exporters and marketing agencies concerning the approximate cost of newly designed products and the names of craftsmen who could undertake commercial reproduction. With the present emphasis on export.Decorative Design History in Indian Textiles and costumes of inspiration and guidance for his designers. emporia managers. exporters. It has already become abundantly clear to sections of imaginative management that good design value in presentation of any product is potentially the most powerful sales asset. are invited to see and make use of these new designs. Figure 20 166 . manufacturers. These exhibitions have succeeded in greatly increasing the export potential of the crafts. Welldesigned textiles and costumes are not only of commercial value but contribute to the image of a country known for its great art traditions. These will have to stand comparison with the best-handcrafted products of foreign countries. One of the most important trade and export measures in the field of design development has been the periodical exhibition of new craft designs.
Powell Barnard. 1879 Kashmiri Embroidery. Costumes. Enakshi Bhavnani. 1983 (Art Heritage Books Publication) Handbook of the manufacturers and Arts of the Punjab. John &Nicholas Barnard References to Textiles in ‘Bana’s Harshacharita’. IV. Nicholas Bhattacharya A. Chandra. Ahmedabad.S. 1. No. in Embroidery Magazine. New Delhi. Journal of Indian Textile History. Calcutta. Delhi. 3. Textiles. 1980 Ancient Indian Costumes. Moti. 1974. 1961 Census of India. New Delhi. 1950 The New Textiles Trends &Traditions Thames and Hudson London. Rosemary Census of India. Bhatnagar. Traditional Indian Costumes and Textiles. Bombay. 1989 Chamba Rumal. Thames & Hudson 1994 167 . 1979 A Phulkari from Bhatinda. New Delhi. 1872 Living with decorative Textiles. (Abhishekh Publication) 2003 Decorative Designs and Craftsmanship of India. 1986 Kalamkari temple cloth painting of Kalahasti. Lahore. Chandigarh. 1961 Bandhani or Tie and Dye Sari of Jamnagar. Alkazi Roshan Baden . Mumbai. Parul Bhavnani. V. 1969 Chandra Mani Singh Chandra. D. 1959 Folklore of Rajasthan. Harjeet Singh. Moti.K. V PartVIIA-21. Vol. 1982 Folk And Tribal Designs of India.Decorative Design History in Indian Textiles and costumes BIBLOGRAPHY Agarwal. Taraporewala.R. Mumbai. Jaipur. Vol. Mumbai. 1973 Prachin Bhartiya Vesha Bhusha. II VII-A. Gillow. 1977 Traditional Indian Textiles. Taraporewala. Agnes Gill. Vol 37. 1990 A History of Textile Art. Enakshi Bombay Gazetteer Cassidy. Cosmetics & Coiffure in Ancient and Mediaeval India. Chloe Colchester Geijer. Ahuka. 1969 Textiles and Costumes in the Collection of Sawai Man Singh Museum. (Indian Museum Calcutta Publication).
XXXXXV. VII 1993 Flowers in Indian Textile Designs. Ahmedabad.. Ahmedabad. 1980 Indian Painted and Printed Fabrics. 1993 Zardozi Glittering Gold Embroidery. Agarwal Janet Harry Jaykar. XXXI. Ahmdabad. 1964. John and Margaret Hall Irwin. The Guide To Historic Costumes Indian Pigment Painting On Cloth.The Folk Art of Punjab. John And Margaret Hall Irwin.Decorative Design History in Indian Textiles and costumes Goswamy B. ’ Journal of Indian Textile History. Journal of Indian Society of Oriental Art. MARG. S. New Delhi. 1967 Designs in Traditional Arts Of Bengal. 4. The Romance Of Indian Embroidery. 1967. 1973 Origins of Chintz Ahmedabad. Irwin. Indian Costumes in the Collection of the Calico Museum of Textiles. Rai Anand & Vigay MARG MARG MARG MARG.N and Krishna K Gupta. S. Homage to Kalamkari XXXXVI.1962 Traditional Textiles Of India. 1993 The Woven silks of India. Handicrafts & Handlooms. 1979 Kantha. 1966 XV. Ahemdabad. Delhi (Craft Museum Publication) Traditional Textiles Of Central Asia ‘Naksha Bandhas of Banaras. John. 2. 1978. and Katharine Brett Jain Jyotindra & A. Dongerkery Karen Baclawski Kay Talwar and Kalyan Krishna Kramrische Stella Krishna Vijay.S. 1971 Indian Embroideries. 4. VII. pp. Krishna. 1996 Phulkari . Charu Smita Hitkari. Banaras Brochades. Ahmedabad. 3 2004 A Unique Chamba Rumal on the Gajantaka Theme 168 .21-44.The Survey Of Embroidery Traditions. Pupul Kalyan Kumar Ganguli Kamla. XVII.
London. E Wilson. 183.Decorative Design History in Indian Textiles and costumes Marshall. J Pathak. 1931. 2003 Marg Publication. pg-6. Samata Enterprises 1998 Tribal art of Middle India. Mumbai. Vol. Eva Mohenjo-daro and the Indus Civilisation. Roli Books. Usha Shrikant Vernier. Pashmina. London. Mumbai Ethnic Embroidered Of India. Anamika Treasures of Indian textile history. 1951 8000 years Of Ornamentation 169 . III.
Presently she is working as In-charge. Dayalbagh Educational Institute. Faculty of Arts. Kota. She has authored several books in the field of Designing and has guided more than 140 projects. Government of Madhya Pradesh. Her special interest is in exploiting digital technologies in the field of textile designing.com) 170 . She has participated actively in several National and International Seminars. The Title of her PhD Thesis is “An Artistic Evaluation of Indian Traditional Textile Designs”. She worked as a Freelance Designer with various organizations and held numerous exhibitions. and Conferences where she has presented research papers. She started her career as a Textile Designer with Modi Group. She was Proprietor of a designing unit. Post Graduate Diploma in Textile Designing. and was invited as a Consultant for Product Designing by J. She had been awarded UGC Minor Research Project in 2001. (parulpb@yahoo. Government of India. She has framed the Syllabus for various educational institutions both at Undergraduate and Postgraduate level. She is a member of Board of the Studies and an Examiner to six Indian universities. Ministry of Industries.) Parul Bhatnagar has a rich experience of 27 years in the field of Textile Designing and Management.Decorative Design History in Indian Textiles and costumes Dr. Synthetics. “Swatikaas” at Delhi and also set up a Sari Designing and printing Unit at Delhi. (Mrs. and has provided technical assistance to Small Scale Industries Institute. She has been Advisor to Hastshilp Vikas Nigam.K. (Deemed University) Agra. She is actively involved in several projects and product designing jobs.
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