Notes on Antique Textiles, Folk Art & Timeless Traditions – Jaina Mishra
Covering food with a piece of cloth in the pre-plastic / glass era, seems to be a natural solution to the problem of keeping food fresh / safe / clean.
And it would seem natural that any culture that decorated their textiles would have also decorated their food covers.
But I have seen this use only in Swat Valley textiles, Sumatran textiles and Himachal Textiles. Makes me wonder why many of the cultures that are prolific art producers avoided this particular functional cloth when decorating.
Here is a Swat Valley bread cover – that – as the name suggests – is used to cover bread:
Extremely fine work!
“Women still embroider bread cloths and cushions today…
In these embroidered cloths the women express artistic creativity and craft skills. One often has the feeling that they embroider their world onto the bread cloth a little. ”
– from the fantastic book by Johannes Kalter
See more images of this and other Swat pieces here.