The Art Blog by Wovensouls

Notes on Antique Textiles, Folk Art & Timeless Traditions – Jaina Mishra

Welcome to The Art Blog

“The purpose of art is washing off the dust of daily life off our souls” – Pablo Picasso
Presenting my notes on the diverse folk arts of Asia and the stimulating cultural stories contained within them

Featured · 3 Comments

Where the Men are Liberated

In most places around the globe, the world has imprisoned men in clothing of plain colors – colors that ensure that the wearers melt into the background. The most they are allowed is a strip of color in the form of a tie. [But don’t be fooled – it is mostly lip-service – out of the 5 feet of fabric, only about 1 foot is allowed to peep through from under the coat!! ]

February 20, 2017 · Leave a comment

Home Decor Art: Embroidery on Pot Cushions

  “Pot Cushions? What on earth is a Pot Cushion?  And why would anyone put embroidery on it?!” This is the incredulous response of my friend – raised in the … Continue reading

February 19, 2017 · 1 Comment

What Story Lies Within? Tantric Phurba Carving

Fourteen little pieces strung together in a necklace. Not an ordinary necklace but one that was used in rituals by tantric priests. Each is a Phurba made of Yak bone … Continue reading

January 30, 2017 · Leave a comment

Let’s Celebrate the Rooster!

A Very Happy New Year from Singapore! Wishing everyone a year of Prosperity & Good Health in the Year of the Rooster! Gong Xi Fa Cai embroidery; costume; antiques; artifact; … Continue reading

January 28, 2017 · Leave a comment

Daily Art Fix – Beaded Hilltribe Weaving

Beaded Loin Cloth More photos of Asset #163 on wovensouls.com [Premium Access Gallery] Even though I have never woven anything, it is easy to imagine the painstaking work involved in … Continue reading

January 28, 2017 · Leave a comment

The Poverty of Democracy

WARNING – This note has nothing do with art and culture – am just rambling about other stuff. [Found this in my unpublished drafts written a few years ago] ___ … Continue reading

January 24, 2017 · Leave a comment

Dragons and Serpents from Laos – Textile Art

According to Lao mythology the Naga are the protectors of the Lao state and it is quite natural that they are found in all the forms of art practiced there. … Continue reading

January 20, 2017 · Leave a comment

The Weight of Art

As I was measuring this skirt worn by petite young girls, I had to do a double-take. I had just written down 130 inches – that was twice as tall … Continue reading

January 18, 2017 · Leave a comment

Daily Art Fix – Old Silver Opium Hafeem Box

In the days when soldiers fought battles on foot and horseback and medical facilities were scarce, soldiers carried hafeem / opium paste with them as painkillers in boxes that hung … Continue reading

January 18, 2017 · Leave a comment

A Seat for the Gods 

Furniture is so hard to photograph!! And this piece was not even meant to be furniture! It was the seat on a bullock cart. Not an ordinary seat for you … Continue reading

January 16, 2017 · Leave a comment

Goals for Tattoo Lovers

They say be careful about tattoos because you have to live with them for the rest of your life. When I turned 40 I realised that I was way into … Continue reading

January 15, 2017 · Leave a comment

Iron (Wo)Man

Just another work of art in iron! How long did it take to make? How much effort? No idea. But a hundred years later in 2016, we are still enjoying … Continue reading

January 13, 2017 · Leave a comment

Art in Mud – Village Scenes

This artwork by Dinesh Chandra Kumhar from Molela village was exhibited at the Serendipity Arts Festival 2016 Goa curated by the leading thinker in the world of Indian Art- Shri … Continue reading

January 13, 2017 · 3 Comments

Daily Art Fix – Double Sided Ajrakh Print

No words needed! {but will say some anyway!) The feature that makes this a masterpiece is the ‘double-sided print’. Both the front and the back have prints that are identical … Continue reading

January 5, 2017 · Leave a comment

Tales Textiles Tell – Toraja Sacred Cloth Batik

SO here is one more textile with many many stories depicted. Yet, I can only make conjecture about the story this piece is trying to tell, until someone from that … Continue reading

January 4, 2017 · Leave a comment

Games People Play

  This seemingly benign game is played by 2-4 people of all ages. A roll of dice and a little thinking determine the outcome. The boards I have played it … Continue reading

January 3, 2017 · Leave a comment

Smoke gets in your Eyes!

A beautiful song taken a little literally by this neat little Naga Chillum Pipe! Carved out of animal bone this pipe from a Naga tribe portrays the image of a … Continue reading

December 29, 2016 · Leave a comment

Daily Art Fix – Beaded Hair Ornaments for a Child

Handmade Beaded Hair ornaments for a child. How are these worn? These are fastened to the hair at the level of the eyes – somewhat like blinkers perhaps? Here is … Continue reading

December 26, 2016 · Leave a comment

The Way We Were – II

Photos of an exhibition of photos from negatives in the archives of Souza & Paul – the oldest photo studio in Goa, presented at the fabulous Serendipoty Arts Festival 2016. … Continue reading

December 24, 2016 · Leave a comment

The Way We Were

Stunning larger than life print from the collection of negatives of Souza & Paul, Goa’s oldest photo studio, presented by the Serendipity Arts Festival. Soooo beautiful!! Jm Dec 2016   … Continue reading

December 23, 2016 · Leave a comment

Textiles in Antique Christian Art

The  mind directs the vision. And so at the Met Museum NYC, I could not help but notice the textiles on the beautiful old artefacts of the Christian world of … Continue reading

December 21, 2016 · Leave a comment

Art for Fun – 16th Century Goose Game & Chess Board

Daily Art Fix – Art for Fun … Beautiful Game Board from 16th century Gujarat on display at the Met Museum, NYC

December 20, 2016 · Leave a comment

The Bridge to God – Shubha Mudgal

A note about the sublime experience of superlative performances of Indian Classical Music at the Serendipity Arts Festival 2016, Goa curated by Shubha Mudgal

December 17, 2016 · Leave a comment

Wood Art

Over the years in Singapore with its old world charm inherited from Chinese ancestors, I’ve seen wood artworks made out of a variety of woods: Huang Huali, Rosewood, Cherry Wood, … Continue reading

December 16, 2016 · Leave a comment

Museum Walk – Lacquered Papier Mache Art

Just a few photos of one more form of art – lacquered papier-mache objects. Manuscript covers and pen cases are the most common items in this type of art.   … Continue reading

December 16, 2016 · Leave a comment

Daily At Fix – Peranakan Bead Art

A million beads strung together to create a large artwork! From the Peranakan Museum, Singapore  

December 15, 2016 · 1 Comment

Lives lived differently 

Goa. 2016. And people still fish for their dinner. As these men and I are now neighbours, it is time I adopt some of their ways. 1. Eat what you … Continue reading

December 13, 2016 · Leave a comment

Art for Our Pets

Do we love our pets enough to make such lovely things for them? Banjara Bullock Horn Covers See more on wovensouls.com Am sure handsome young Simba wouldn’t mind one more … Continue reading

December 12, 2016 · Leave a comment

I met Begum Hazrat Mahal

Meeting people from that lived more than a century before one is born, is usually not possible. If one restricts the meeting to one within the physical realm it is … Continue reading

December 2, 2016 · Leave a comment

Textiles in the Chaurapanchsika Love Poem of the 16th Century

Chaurapanchasika is a love-lament poem from the 16th century (some say earlier). The scenes in the sanskrit poem with 16 illustrations depict Bihana wooing Champavati. The erotic element is added … Continue reading

November 15, 2016 · 1 Comment

Perspective makes all the Difference

Looking at things from the OTHER side makes alllll the difference!!

November 12, 2016 · 2 Comments

Making Kajal

In the olden days in West & North India everyone – men women, children AND infants had their eyes anointed with Kajal or Kohl or Meysh. The closest equivalent word … Continue reading

November 10, 2016 · Leave a comment

One More to Decipher! A Phulkari Textile

A Temple Hanging from Punjab with its unique motifs makes it an intriguing subject to explore!

November 6, 2016 · 1 Comment

The Mesmerising Qashqai Motif

Clans do things similarly. Like make curry in a particular way, or wear their sari in a particular way. Or weave the central medallion in their rugs using one template. … Continue reading

October 27, 2016 · Leave a comment

Selk’Nam People

We talk of “vanishing” cultures…. here is one that has vanished. The Selk’nam also known as the Onawo or Ona, used to live in Patagonia. Most photos by anthropologist Martin … Continue reading

October 14, 2016 · Leave a comment

Art of the Universe – Yao Shaman Robes

Yao painting scrolls, Yao dragon bridges and now Yao Shaman robes! The Yao group has created several forms of art while pursuing their spiritual goals! Led by priests called Shamans, … Continue reading

October 3, 2016 · 2 Comments

The City of Benaras

“Yeh Benaras Hai” Literally it means “This is Banaras” but the tone included pride and an assurance – a way of saying “Don’t worry – it’s okay – this is … Continue reading

October 1, 2016 · 2 Comments

External Article: The World Nomad Games

Sounds like something I’d like to experience! External Link:  

September 28, 2016 · Leave a comment

Mother of Pearl Inlay – Art in Wood

Exploring the art of carving out pictures in wood and then filling them with the beautiful contrasting mother-of-pearl bits cut to size. Precision is absolutely essential in the craft! The art allows us glimpses into the cultural ethos of the time it was made. Natural beautyf, music and the arts seem to be of great importance!

September 23, 2016 · 3 Comments

Daily Art Fix – Of Dragons & Men

A hilltribe sash, acquired long ago from Northern Thailand was recently retrieved from the bottom of a trunk full of textiles treasures… And a perfectly done hand-sown hem! The craft … Continue reading

September 22, 2016 · 1 Comment

Book Recommendation – Yao Culture & Art

   “How to make the Universe Right” The book goes into the spiritual practices of the Yao people. The deep  reliance on the supporting art used makes the book very … Continue reading

September 22, 2016 · 1 Comment

Wood Art from Ancient China 

An attempted burglary resulted in a forced movement of our furniture. These pieces had been tucked away in a place that I visited with high frequency but low attention-depth. Every … Continue reading

September 16, 2016 · Leave a comment

One more Hybrid – A Paithani weave from Benaras

A lot of people frown upon hybrids ….. I have no view on the subject. If evolutionary forces caused this to occur then so be it …. I am no … Continue reading

September 16, 2016 · 1 Comment

Talk: “Wedding Embroideries of Kutch”

A presentation of the Talk held at the Textile Museum Washington D.C. in June 2016.

September 11, 2016 · Leave a comment

A Journey for the Bucket List

An addition to the Bucket List….
It appears that I might need a second or third life to accomplish it all!

September 11, 2016 · 1 Comment

Daily Art Fix – Pathan Embroidery

 A Pathan tablecloth with motifs that are seen even in the forehead-tattoos of Pathani women. More images here. ❤️ jm Sept 2016

September 9, 2016 · Leave a comment

Palace on the Ganga – Art in Architecture

  Just pictures of a lovely place that has the atmosphere of serenity and quietude. The opulence is in the atmosphere created – rather than in its fixtures.     … Continue reading

September 5, 2016 · 3 Comments

Kashi nu Maran – The Flood of Ganga – 2016

According to a famous saying in Gujarati – my mother tongue –  one can attain Nirvana (bliss) through two simple ways: “Surat nu Jaman ke Kashi nu Maran” i.e. (By … Continue reading

September 3, 2016 · 1 Comment

A Hybrid is Born

In the olden days textile-art hybrids came about when a woman married into another group and brought with her art-memes from her parental culture. Today the world has shrunk and … Continue reading

August 31, 2016 · 2 Comments

The Holy River Ganga

A few sunrise photos captured on the phone camera of the important Ganga whose significance to Hindus is as deep as its waters.   This may seem obvious – but … Continue reading

August 30, 2016 · 1 Comment

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