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Notes on Culture & Antique Art, Ethnic Decor & Vintage Fashion | Wovensouls Art Gallery

What is this Figurative Weft Ikat?

Any idea? Nearly 5 metres long this textile has motifs of boats, people, animals and unrecognisable creatures. Acquired from a late Canadian collector who acquired it from the Indonesian archipelago … Continue reading

August 28, 2019 · Leave a comment

Desert Art – Motifs of the Bishnoi People

How can one not love this art? In my few trips to Rajasthan I’ve not had the good fortune of seeing these in-situ .. being worn by the Bishnoi women. … Continue reading

August 26, 2019 · 1 Comment

Animal Love

We all love our animals! The Qashqai weaver put hers in her rug while I had a few sweet moments with a sheep & a goat in my lap! See … Continue reading

August 4, 2019 · Leave a comment

The Girl with the Dragon

Can you spot her? . . . . . Isn’t she lovely? See more of this gorgeous not-for-sale antique dragon sumac rug here on WOVENSOULS – asset 1379. *** jm … Continue reading

May 20, 2019 · Leave a comment

The Art of Marble Jalis

Seen at the magnificent Mumbai Airport Museum. Cannot get enough of this airport! jm April 2019

April 23, 2019 · Leave a comment

Wearing her mother’s Bridal Haalvan Phulkari

A “haalvan” phulkari is done on very fine cotton cloth that is similar to mul mul. This is the first time I held one in my hand! All bridal textiles … Continue reading

January 30, 2019 · 2 Comments

Artwork of the Day

A Peacock takes a little ram for a walk! What an endearing example of folk creativity! Seen in this most-beloved AntiqueQashqai Shekarlu rug that I cannot get enough of! More … Continue reading

October 2, 2018 · Leave a comment

External Article: Italy’s last Sea Silk Master (on BBC)

Byssus, or sea silk, is one of the rarest and most coveted materials in the world – and this is the last person on Earth who still knows how to … Continue reading

July 13, 2018 · Leave a comment

The Rare Art of Double Sided Shia Embroidery

It is said that this art is no longer practiced. I am told they come from the Swat valley neighborhood and since there are not enough such textiles these are … Continue reading

June 11, 2018 · Leave a comment

Artwork of the Day 

Amazing Ethnic Art worn by a very small minority group in Guizhou China.  Asset 228 on WOVENSOULS.COM Enjoy the Visual Feast!  

June 8, 2018 · Leave a comment

Wealth of  Ladakh 

Photos of photo prints of women wearing traditional jewelry at festivals.  The magnificentv Petak headdress has been discussed earlier.  But the  others have not received enough attention!  Here are sone … Continue reading

May 28, 2018 · Leave a comment

A New Mystery -Ancient Terracotta Blocks 

Seen in one of the important trading hubs of the old Silk Route – and retrieved with difficulty from the back of  a dealer’s dusty shelf, lying in a plastic … Continue reading

May 23, 2018 · 1 Comment

Nomadic Weavings of Chanthang

Seen in the Himalayas in the Chanthang desert in Eastern Ladakh.  Their living spaces Let’s gp in … To see their home & their weavings ​(videa to follow later) Volunteers: … Continue reading

May 20, 2018 · Leave a comment

Mountain Art – Large Ancient Himalayan Buddhas – 1

Huge Ancient Buddhist Sculptures in the Himalayas

May 13, 2018 · Leave a comment

Museums or Online?

I was writing a little description for one of my beloved pieces – doting on various aspects, discovering new elements that I had not noticed before and in general giving … Continue reading

May 11, 2018 · Leave a comment

Artwork of the Day: Mirrors of Identity

A pair of Chaakla Decorative Textiles from Gujarat with rare golden mirrors Asset 152 on WOVENSOULS.COM  

April 15, 2018 · Leave a comment

Daily Art Fix: Men with an extra Arm?

Or is it a stick?  Maybe they are the sons of the weaver!  Interesting motif on an antique Kazak rug. 

March 2, 2018 · Leave a comment

Sentinels & Thresholds 

The threshold is a very important line in a traditional Indian home.  It is washed and decorated beautifully every day with auspicious symbols  drawn in powder by the woman of … Continue reading

February 28, 2018 · 4 Comments

Patan Patola Ikat Weaving – HOW?

For those who wondered how! A video interview with a masterweaver Kanaiyalalbhai who explains the process step by step. To understand the technique of weaving Patan Patola double ikats and … Continue reading

February 14, 2018 · Leave a comment

Silken flowers from Gujarat India 

One more fabulous piece from Gujarat! At first I thought it was a print … until I read the explanatory note! ❤️ This textile is from the V & A … Continue reading

February 5, 2018 · Leave a comment

A Tent Hanging from India

The series on the V & A textiles continues with the printed tent hanging! Makes me think that I should pay some more attention to prints …   From the … Continue reading

January 31, 2018 · Leave a comment

The Wine Cup of Emperor Shah Jahan

Emperor Shah Jahan’s wine cup: Am still confused about the way it is to be used as a cup for drinking …  It is probably cups like these that inspired … Continue reading

January 31, 2018 · Leave a comment

Sunbathing in Goa

The beauties get their annual sunbath!  ❤️

January 30, 2018 · Leave a comment

A Kalamkari Coverlet – Antique Indian Textiles

A visit to any museum can be exhausting and the maximum I can handle is about 1 – 2 hours of exposure. In any given hall there are always too … Continue reading

January 23, 2018 · 2 Comments

The Bridal Sari of the erstwhile Queen of Sawantwadi 1922

I’ve seen a dozen or so amazing  antique zari  saris but none has been as unusual as this one seen in the museum of Sawantwadi, This shalu – a zari … Continue reading

December 27, 2017 · 6 Comments

Bullock Carts & Oil Mills in Applique! 

An endearing naive  2-dimensional rendering of bullock cart & a bullock-run oil press or oil mill! And the featute that makes me wonder about the Banjara connection is the white … Continue reading

December 25, 2017 · 1 Comment

On My Coffee Table 

The advantage of my nomadic life is that I forget tbe pieces strewn around the other spaces that I dwell in (and that dwell inside me….).  and so I see … Continue reading

December 21, 2017 · 1 Comment

Connecting the Dots of Gold

In the past, gold jewelry with motifs created by arranging tiny granules of  gold was popular in some parts of India. Ancient Greeks used the granulation process too but the … Continue reading

December 18, 2017 · 2 Comments

Art Revived

Some vanishing arts have been strengthened and resurrected by external change agents. Soof Embroidery of Gujarat is one such art that had the blessing of nurturing by people who devote … Continue reading

December 4, 2017 · Leave a comment

Walking the Dog

And the bird in the cage. Scene in a double sided embroidery from the early 1900s.  But could well have been a snapshot from modern day Singapore!  More photos of … Continue reading

November 12, 2017 · Leave a comment

Hidden Gems – new sightings in old acquisitions! 

In an embroidery rich in texture and motifs and age, it was easy to miss the 5th color used sparingly – it hid within the flowers – almost shy of … Continue reading

September 21, 2017 · Leave a comment

Daily Art Fix -Sindh Dowry Embroidery

Bless the woman who made this!! A great way to start my day …. with a dose of beauty – gives the heart a small positive kickstart!  Sept 2017

September 20, 2017 · Leave a comment

Tales the Phra Malai Thai Manuscripts tell!

It will be years before I will be able to understand all the stories contained in the few Phra Malai manuscripts that I’ve seen! Some are stories from the life … Continue reading

September 17, 2017 · Leave a comment

Who doesn’t enjoy Music in the Park! 

MUSIC IN THE PARK – Notes in Silk!!! Just received this beauty made in Canton a century ago! Am yet to count the number of instruments being played  in this … Continue reading

September 12, 2017 · 2 Comments

Courtship in Silk

Daily Art Fix – motif on an amazing wearable antique cantonese shawl!  ❤️

September 10, 2017 · 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

Pattua Singing from Bengal

In Bengal, in the olden days, in order to disseminate the holy stories, folk legends adn perhaps even news of major events, Pattua scrolls were used. Women first painted out … Continue reading

August 18, 2016 · Leave a comment

News from the Met Museum

A new exhibition featuring manuscript paintings (and therefore textiles in paintings) and textiles exploring medieval Islamic textiles in the 20th Century titled Transformed: Medieval Syrian and Iranian Art in the … Continue reading

March 17, 2016 · 1 Comment

INVITATION – Antique Indian Textile Art @ The Esplanade Theatres on the Bay, Singapore

BAZAR: SAT & SUN 21st, 22nd, 28th, 29th November 4pm-8pm A mini-exhibition will showcase some textile masterpieces from the past. Some pieces from the wovensouls collection will also be available … Continue reading

November 16, 2015 · Leave a comment

Mochi or Cobbler Embroidery of Gujarat

Anyone who knows Gujarati or Hindi knows that Mochi means a cobbler. So when I first heard my dealer say that a category of very fine embroidery is known as … Continue reading

November 7, 2015 · Leave a comment

Daily Art Fix – Kinnaur Weaving

Click to view more images of this recently woven shawl from Kinnaur, Himachal Pradesh, India. Daily Art Fix – Kinnaur Weaving July 2015 textile art, himachal weaving, himachal textile, India … Continue reading

July 5, 2015 · Leave a comment

Karakalpak Motifs – Art in Geometry

              Sometimes it is enough to just enjoy the visual without knowing the meaning… View the complete piece and other images here on wovensouls,com … Continue reading

July 3, 2015 · Leave a comment

Daggers in the Heart – Textile Art to die for!

The Ain-i Akbari manuscript, a part of the Akbarnama volumes written by Abu’l-Fazl in 1621 documents various weapons used in the Mughal era. Among the weapons described is the Jamdhar … Continue reading

January 12, 2015 · 2 Comments

My first lesson in Fine Art

Having never ventured into the world of fine art – modern or classic, I was tentative about the subject. What if I did not understand anything, what if I did … Continue reading

January 10, 2015 · 2 Comments

Textiles within Textiles

Am studying my Phad (Par) textiles and enjoying the complex scenes painted in. There are two types of Phads: one narrating the legend of Pabuji and the other narrating the … Continue reading

May 24, 2014 · Leave a comment

Soul on Fire – The Passion of a Bhopa

PRELUDE Excerpt from an article* I wrote for Jozan Magazine about the Art of the Phad. The shortest way to describe the Phad is ‘a devotional mural storyboard painted on … Continue reading

May 18, 2014 · 3 Comments

ANTIQUE NINGYO DOLLS

ANTIQUE JAPANESE NINGYO DOLLS Note the detail in the costumes and the detail on the faces. The two dots on the woman’s forehead are intriguing! jm Nov 2013

November 6, 2013 · Leave a comment

Costume & Jewelry Culture of the Dard Aryan People, Himalayas

It seems to me that all Himalayan cultures have spectacular costumes! One that stands out as distinct and unique is the Dard ethnic group in NorthWest India. Spread over a … Continue reading

October 28, 2013 · 5 Comments

FANTASTIC BAWAN BAGH PHULKARI – A WEDDING TEXTILE

A Bagh (phulkari) textile with 52 motifs created by the family as a canopy for the bride. Created by reverse embroidery!! Precision AND creativity! Art AND craft!! All while working … Continue reading

October 7, 2013 · 8 Comments

Textile Art of Gujarat

I grew up in the Gujarati community of traders. A community in which the critical success factor is ‘data mining’ within the community. Fathers, father’s brothers, mother’s brothers, neighbourhood elders, … Continue reading

July 25, 2013 · 3 Comments

Palm Leaf Pattachitra from Odisha

Traditionally paper, textiles and stone have been used to create artworks. So when a new base material is encountered the most intriguing aspect for me is ‘how did this come … Continue reading

February 28, 2013 · 4 Comments

Photographs of the Tribal Expressions Exhibition, Singapore

Photos of an absolutely amazing experience!  Visitors reacted beyond expectation to the people in the photos, to the photos, to the expressions of human emotion, to the expressions of tribal … Continue reading

December 3, 2012 · 3 Comments

Upcoming Solo Photography Exhibitions : Singapore & Montreal

You are invited to “TRIBAL EXPRESSIONS” an exhibition of tribal portraits (photograph prints) in Singapore & in Montreal * SINGAPORE – NOVEMBER 2012 “THE ARTS HOUSE” The Old Parliament House,  … Continue reading

October 5, 2012 · Leave a comment

Additions to the Wovensouls Antique Textile Gallery – Tribal Bags

A few tribal bags that were acquired on my travels….. Some are  bags originally used by tribals. Others are made using antique or vintage tribal textiles. All gorgeous. All very … Continue reading

September 21, 2012 · 1 Comment

Quill Art of the First People

  A short slideshow on the Quill Art of the first people of North America. But first some interesting facts about quillwork : Quillwork, the oldest form of embroidery of … Continue reading

September 11, 2012 · 2 Comments

Meeting Lambani Textile Artists

Awhile ago, while doing research for an art installation project, I met these textile artists who work for themselves – who create their gorgeous art mainly for self-consumption and not … Continue reading

September 10, 2012 · 1 Comment

4th Photography Award comes my way!

Have received news of my 4th Award today!  Am thrilled and am sharing that. When I won my first – I thought it was probably a fluke …….. but now … Continue reading

July 14, 2012 · Leave a comment

Textile Art of South East Asia at the Asian Civilsations Museum

An album from a forgotten visit in 2007 to the Asian Civilisations Museum …. taken with a camera I do not even remember. A photography experience that probably made me … Continue reading

July 7, 2012 · Leave a comment

Tribal Textile Art of Kutch – the Bhuj Folk Art Museum

A self explanatory photo-essay showcasing the mirrorwork & embroidery of various tribes in the Kutch region of Gujarat India. But first an introduction to the two lovely ladies from the … Continue reading

July 2, 2012 · Leave a comment

Textile Art of Mizoram, The Lunglei Museum Collection

A walk through the textile & jewelry section of the Museum of Lunglei, the remotest town in the North Eastern state of Mizoram, India. Details of these pieces are available … Continue reading

June 27, 2012 · Leave a comment

Turban Art – the Crowning Glory of Indian Men

Turbans serve many uses for Indian men. They provide relief from the sun and a touch of color to the simple male costume. The loose ends are used as handkerchiefs, … Continue reading

June 26, 2012 · 1 Comment

Puppets & Puppeteers of Nagaur Rajasthan

An old folk saying “We are only puppets, our strings are being pulled by unknown forces” This is an article about puppets – from a place that is famous for … Continue reading

June 11, 2012 · 2 Comments

Music of the Manganiyar Tribe

The Manganiyars are famous through their shows worldwide titled the Manganiyar Seduction. Presented by international performance companies their music has received a platform it deserves. Awards and acclaim have followed … Continue reading

April 25, 2012 · Leave a comment

The Chapchar Kut Harvest Festival of Mizoram

A glimpse of the Chapchar Kut Harvest festival held at Aizawl in March 2012. The Chapchar Kut is the Harvest festival of Mizoram and celebrated across the hills in March … Continue reading

March 17, 2012 · Leave a comment

The Last Dance

The Paris Opera Ballet (France) presented at the Esplanade in Singapore recently. Before I entered the private box that I had a seat in, the hosts – the Esplanade management … Continue reading

February 11, 2012 · Leave a comment

Tribal Signatures – Face Tattoos of the Apatani tribe

The lifestyle of Apatani hilltribe of Arunachal Pradesh fascinates a cultural traveller on several aspects. But the one that hit me with the greatest intensity are the 2 tribal signatures … Continue reading

January 4, 2012

“An Indian Discovers India” – Photo Art Prints Exhibition

For an Indian born and raised in urban India, discovering the diverse spectrum of cultures in the extreme geographical ends has been a journey filled with revelations about India’s identity. … Continue reading

November 3, 2011

The Chamms Masked Dances by the Monks of Chemrey Monastery – Ladakh

Lamas of the ancient Chemrey monastery performing the Masked dances in Leh in which they enact religious tales with a moral. The stunning colors of the flowing robes combined with … Continue reading

October 23, 2011 · Leave a comment

An Appeal for “The Blue Veil Project”

  The magnificent head dress of Ladakh – the Perak laden with rows and rows of turquoise gem stones and coral, is probably among the most exquisite bridal ornaments in … Continue reading

October 1, 2011 · 2 Comments

Ancient Murals of Alchi Monastery – an art-collector’s delight

Alchi is a sleepy and simple unglorified village about 70 km to the West of Leh. Nothing in its approach route or in the buildings and structures of the village … Continue reading

September 23, 2011

Mastering the Mind and Body – Monk Warriors of Xiaolin (Shaolin) – a photoessay

Xiaolin or Shaolin. China. Popularised in the film “36 Chambers of Shaolin” (1978) When I woke up yesterday, I had no idea that the day would hold unforgettable encounters with … Continue reading

September 23, 2011

Antique Java Topeng Masks and Wayang Topeng

Wayang Topeng is an Indonesian dance form that uses masks such as the ones shown below, that evolved in the 16th century. Performances enact Javanese stories about 12th century heroes … Continue reading

July 11, 2011

Sikkim Diaries

‘To live many lifetimes within a lifetime…”. Its time for another lifetime! My trip to Sikkim in March 2011, was planned during the week of Losar (Tibetan New Year) celebrations. … Continue reading

March 17, 2011

Chanting ceremony at Kagyud Monastery, Lingdum, Sikkim

The Kagyud Monastery was the best experience of my Sikkim trip. This is the monastery that I will return to someday. On the first visit, 2 days prior to Losar, … Continue reading

March 17, 2011 · 1 Comment

Art in Sikkimese Monastery Architecture

The initial images display exteriors of monasteries while the last dozen display the interiors. Back to Sikkim Diaries jm March 2011

March 15, 2011 · Leave a comment

Wood Art in Sikkim Monasteries – Windows, Doors and Pillars

The design of the Buddhist Monasteries in Sikkim is heavily influenced by Tibetan designs and bears a close similarity to the visuals seen on the other side of the Himalayas. … Continue reading

March 15, 2011 · Leave a comment

Pattachitra Art of Assam

Pattachitra is similar to ‘storyboards’ or stories told along with pictures. The tales depicted are usually derived from epics such as Bhagawat and Ramayana. In ancient India, this art was … Continue reading

February 18, 2011 · 3 Comments

Rural art & crafts of Assam

Art arises as an expression of common people as expressions of culture, expression of religion and expression of belief. In cases where the art form finds a patron, the technique … Continue reading

February 18, 2011 · Leave a comment

Textile Art of the Ahom Kingdom – Guwahati Museum Collection

The Ahoms are a community found largely in Assam. This community consists of the descendants of ethnic Tai people who accompanied the Tai prince Sukaphaa who established the Ahom kingdom … Continue reading

February 17, 2011 · 2 Comments

Street Shrines of India

The Gods are everywhere – literally. In busy Bombay, in parts where its working class real people live, almost every street has a wayside shrine. A holy tree or an … Continue reading

January 22, 2011 · 1 Comment

Tribal Textile and Bead Art of Nagaland

This photoessay is preceded by the article that appears on Jozan.net titled “Red, White and Black – Tribal Textiles of Nagaland” available here. Images will say it better than words … Continue reading

December 27, 2010 · 3 Comments

Sacrificial Lamb at Kamakhya temple, Guwahati

I had heard about the Kamakhya or Kamakshi temple through a scientist friend recently. He was intrigued by the world of Tantrics and as he talked about his fascination, he … Continue reading

December 24, 2010 · 10 Comments

Traditional Naga Bamboo Climbing and Fire Making

Greased-bamboo pole climbing and Traditional fire-making….a few images. Boys preparing to compete in the greased bamboo pole climbing competition between tribes Splashing mud to create friction *** Fire making by … Continue reading

December 13, 2010 · Leave a comment

Naga lifestyle

Pineapple plantation Buddies chatting on a ‘puliya’ Local Backpacks Dimapur market: Small intertwining lanes that would challenge the map-drawers skills; Shops spilling out onto the streets with wares stacked in … Continue reading

December 13, 2010 · 1 Comment

Sumazau Folk Dance of Sabah, Borneo

This is a mini photo-essay on the folk dance of Sabah, Borneo, easily one of the most graceful and fluid dances in Asia. Outstretched hands and palms moving up and … Continue reading

November 22, 2010 · Leave a comment

Goan Folk Art – Tulsi Pots

Goa is known for its beaches …but over the years its numerous hidden attractions have revealed themselves to me, slowly, one at a time, ensuring that I remain in love … Continue reading

October 25, 2010

Textile Art Photography

Today an idea descended upon me as I walked by the water….. A project that converges the twin streams of traditional textiles and photography…. I have with me a gorgeous … Continue reading

October 6, 2010 · Leave a comment

Thumbuakar Tribal Group, Borneo

What a delightful and soul satisfying find this has been!! Gorgeous humans, gorgeous textiles and topping all that – gorgeous performance art! Bamboo dance, fire dance – in which they … Continue reading

September 27, 2010 · Leave a comment

The magnificent Lion Dance

The boys performing these feats are not professionals. They are students or young working adults who also perform the lion dance… The main performers of a team are the dancers.  … Continue reading

September 8, 2010 · 1 Comment

A cup of tea with Nomads and Gypsies of Kutch

  This trip in early 2006  marked the start of my solo travelling life. A novice solo traveller a bit nervous, but as usual serendipity helped me along….. Armed with … Continue reading

August 24, 2010 · 6 Comments

Ajrakh Block Print Art

This is a photoessay on the art of block printing called ‘Ajrakh’. The process described here, is the same for any block print art. The speciality of Ajrakh is that … Continue reading

August 24, 2010 · 10 Comments

Hmong Batik Art

The Hmong are one of the hilltribes living in Thailand, Laos and Vietnam. One of signatures of this group is their Batik Art used in their garments. The following photos … Continue reading

August 21, 2010 · 3 Comments

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