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

Art of Worship – Embroidered Tibetan Thangka

  The Buddhist philosophy of keeping the mind engaged in various forms of prayers as the route to earning Karma has resulted in many exquisite artworks. Created with the powerful … Continue reading

August 30, 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

A Bird Watcher’s Delight

I’d heard of Bird Rugs ….usually associated with Afshar group of South Persia. Something like this:   But now I’m seeing a Bird Shawl! This Cantonese work of art has … Continue reading

August 21, 2019 · Leave a comment

Lion of Punjab – Sher-e-Punjab

Punjab – the land that has been facing invasions for centuries – values bravery and courage. And the lion offers an excellent metaphor for these values. Maharana Ranjit Singh was … Continue reading

July 8, 2019 · 5 Comments

A Note on Phulkari Classification

A compilation of my jottings on Phulkaris Textiles of Punjab

April 30, 2019 · 4 Comments

Daily Art Fix – Stars in her EYES

“Stars in her eyes” – A bridal scarf from the Yao group. The textile is not old but has been made by an old experienced hand! Frame it / hang … Continue reading

April 2, 2019 · Leave a comment

Krishna’s Raas Lila in Silk Embroidery

Art Fix for the Day – Two Rumals with double-sided embroidery!

March 21, 2019 · Leave a comment

Textile Study Tour of Punjab

Preface on the minor notes about the textile study tour, Punjab, 2019

March 16, 2019 · Leave a comment

A Phulkari Fan from the Olden Days

Here’s another cultural remnant of the olden days in Punjab – A ceiling fan decorated with Phulkari work: The rope is used to swing the fan and is held by … Continue reading

February 5, 2019 · 2 Comments

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

Bless the Kohistani Creator!

“Gulposh kabhi itraaye kahin Mehke to nazar aa jaaye kahin” Only the brilliant A. R. Rahman’s lyrics are appropriate for this outstanding masterpiece from Kohistan. “A flower may try to … Continue reading

January 1, 2019 · Leave a comment

Opium Culture – History in Art

There is too much that I do not know anything about and the role that opium played in the history of China is one of them. Were it not for … Continue reading

December 24, 2018 · Leave a comment

Boundless Creativity in Motifs

Superb embroidered motifs from the North West Frontier Province region photographed from faded fragments of dress-fronts! Enjoy the feast: What thought-paths created these very aesthetically pleasing unique motifs that have … Continue reading

December 21, 2018 · Leave a comment

Rare Swat Wedding Shawl with ‘Self’ Embroidery

Just when I’d thought I’d seen the complete range of the niche textile art from Swat Valley, along comes a piece that challenges that belief and nudges me out of my smug stupor.  – Exploring a Rare Swat Valley Artwork

December 18, 2018 · Leave a comment

Fine Embroidery on Indigo from the Yao Hilltribes

Collected from the source a decade ago, these lovely vintage embroidered indigo costumes of the Yao people are currently on offer as a single lot at a discounted launch price … Continue reading

October 18, 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

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

Manila Manton Shawls – Early Global Textiles

Presenting a small online exhibition of palimpsest textiles – with layers of art, craft and culture contained within: The Canton Shawl aka Manila Manton aka Fringed Flapper Shawl

April 12, 2018 · Leave a comment

Daily Art Fix – Ramayan in the Chamba Valley

Amazing 18th century Chamba Rumaal with scenes from the Ramayan https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/72821 Sita’s Fire Test   Killing Ravan – A rare depiction with the severed heads and arms Am completed WOWed  … Continue reading

February 10, 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

Soldiers in Silk – Guns & Roses

This mesmerising silk Amli embroidery on a square pashmina shawl is from the 1800s and depicts soldiers circling around a thriving establishment. Note the deliberately highlighted flowers (roses?) amidst the … Continue reading

February 4, 2018 · 1 Comment

Daily Art Fix – An Antique Robe with Amli Embroidery

Works such as these remind us of the value added simply by the skill of an artist! The wool and the silk and the scissors could have made a robe … Continue reading

February 4, 2018 · 1 Comment

Crowning Glory of a Turban with Double Sided Embroidery

The absolutely mind-boggling craft of double sided embroidery on a turban! Maybe this will be one step forward in eradicating the gender bias… in a century or so maybe all … Continue reading

January 12, 2018 · 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

Mother & Child – A Crime Scene in Silk

Clearly this is a part of a larger legend that I am not familiar with yet. And so the cultural crime story intrigues me as much as the art and … Continue reading

December 2, 2017 · 3 Comments

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

The Art of War – Motifs in an Embroidery

Surely Sun Zhu meant THIS arr?  More photos coming soon on WOVENSOULS.com

November 11, 2017 · Leave a comment

Negative Spaces

“Negative space, in art, is the space around and between the subject(s) of an image. Negative space may be most evident when the space around a subject, not the subject … Continue reading

September 30, 2017 · Leave a comment

Women in Art – Literally

A series of textiles with women depicted in the art! 🙂   And more   The ones above are from old textiles. Here’s one from a recently made banarasi brocade … Continue reading

September 25, 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

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

“Heirlooms” – Exhibition Report

A fabulous exhibition – great reviews from the guests, stimulating conversations, free flow of adulation for the artworks and brisk movement of unforgettable pieces to new homes! If you were … Continue reading

September 11, 2017 · Leave a comment

Courtship in Silk

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

September 10, 2017 · Leave a comment

A Gift for the Emperor!

A gift for the Emperor ….depicted in silk in the late 1800s. So delicious …. Feasting on the art is so soul satisfying! sigh!    

August 15, 2017 · Leave a comment

Beaded Textiles from Rajasthan?!! 

Just noticed the fabulous beadwork on a shawl from Rajasthan that I’ve had for awhile.  Endless delights in old acquisitions…   All from the WOVENSOULS collection!  ❤️

August 13, 2017 · Leave a comment

Rickshaw or Car? 

The wonders never cease in the world of textile art! Am off on a new armchair exploration! And will happily drag along anyone who will listen (or read) through the … Continue reading

July 4, 2017 · Leave a comment

An Antique Selfie

Embroidered picture of a woman doing embroidery!!  And the millenials thought they were the ones to invent selfies!!  From an early 1900s shawl. More about that later… 😊

June 23, 2017 · 2 Comments

The Bonona Festival of the Himalayan Aryans

October 2016 A trip to the interiors of the Himalayan ranges. A journey that would have taken 6 days by animal carriers 40 years ago but today takes 7 hours. … Continue reading

May 24, 2017 · 2 Comments

The Astitva Project – A Report on the Micro Project in Ladakh – Chapter 2

The Story They say that ‘when the weight of the paperwork equals the weight of the plane, the plane will fly’ – stressing the importance of the planning that must … Continue reading

May 12, 2017 · 6 Comments

External Article: Chamba Rumal Embroidered Textiles 

A primer on Chamba Rumal: Link Apr 2017

April 13, 2017 · Leave a comment

A look at Miao Embroidery

“Miao embroidery is a unique and incredible skill—weaving actual metal thread into intricate patterns to create beautiful garments. A tradition over 500 years old, Miao tin embroidery is sadly a … Continue reading

April 3, 2017 · Leave a comment

Choosing A Wedding Dress – Swat Valley Textiles

Choosing is wedding dress can be tough – especially when each is a stunning work of textile art. Presenting a few vintage and antique bridal dresses from the Swat Valley region

March 13, 2017 · Leave a comment

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

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

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

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

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

Daily Art Fix – Pathan Embroidery

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

September 9, 2016 · Leave a comment

A Story in A Sar Pallu Phulkari Textile

Before we had cartoon TV serials, we had cartoon comics. Like Tarzan and Phantom and Dennis and Amar Chitra Katha. But before that, we had textiles! And stories were written … Continue reading

August 6, 2016 · Leave a comment

Banjara Textile Exhibition @ Joss Graham London

Banjara works are among the world’s most attractive textiles – the colors, the stitches the patterns and their dazzling embellishments are put together in an eye-catching manner. Almost every collector … Continue reading

June 28, 2016 · 1 Comment

Birds of a feather…

      Daily art fix jm June 2016

June 1, 2016 · Leave a comment

Daily Art Fix – Beauty begets Beauty

Old Rabari Great-grandmother working on her embroidery. Photo taken in 2012 in Gujarat.   jm May 2016

May 9, 2016 · Leave a comment

Daily Art Fix – Lontar Baskets

“There is no limit to creativity” – these cliched words come alive with these palm leaf baskets that have been decorated with beads … When the first artist created this … Continue reading

May 8, 2016 · 1 Comment

Talk Announcement: Textile Museum, Washington D.C.

  TITLE: Wedding Embroideries of Kutch, India Speaker: Jaina Mishra | Collector … The George Washington University Museum and The Textile Museum Washington D.C. Saturday June 4th, 2016 … …. … Continue reading

May 2, 2016 · Leave a comment

Little Purses for Big Money

Coin purses from the olden days …. When the coins were small & made of gold & silver and their value was huge! When there was no fiat money or … Continue reading

April 28, 2016 · Leave a comment

Adornments to Entice

In many cultures in the Eastern hemisphere, lifestyle devices are structured with the intention of security and protection. Clothes and costumes are designed to deflect the viewer’s eyes rather than … Continue reading

February 11, 2016 · 1 Comment

A Mother’s Labor of Love – Kohistani Baby’s Cap

In other places mothers-to-be and grandmas-to-be knit booties and mittens for the expected new arrivals. In Kohistan they make a cap. Such amazing work can only be born as a … Continue reading

February 10, 2016 · Leave a comment

Book Recommendation

Textiles of Afghanistan

January 17, 2016 · Leave a comment

Daily Art Fix – Akha Hilltribe Textile Art – Available for Sale

  Back of an Akha Tunic!   jm Dec 2015

December 5, 2015 · 1 Comment

The Best Exotic Kuba Cloth Ever!

Another textile deserving of the title “Best”! I owned one Kuba currency cloth for awhile and have eyed many many pieces since. But none have had as much character as … Continue reading

December 3, 2015 · Leave a comment

Art for Food!

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. … Continue reading

November 24, 2015 · 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

Beauty is Ageless

“Beauty begets beauty” Timeless beauty from Gujarat creating more timeless beauty.

November 8, 2015 · 1 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

The Superfine Embroidery of Awadh – Chikan Kari

Another superb article on Chikan embroidery of Lucknow. Link to the Article Nov 2015

November 4, 2015 · 1 Comment

Embroidered Door Curtains of Morocco

Moroccan Door Curtains of the 19th Century – Art in daily living! Until an hour ago, I did not know such things existed! And to think that some of the … Continue reading

November 1, 2015 · Leave a comment

A Journey to Assam along a ‘Vrindavani Vastra’

It is said that if you cross the Brahmaputra river once, you will return again to cross it a total of seven times. I’ve done 3 and as I try … Continue reading

October 29, 2015 · Leave a comment

Chamba Rumal – The Art of Double Sided Embroidery from Himachal

A superb article on Chamba Rumals – the native craft of the Chamba region of Himachal Pradesh in which the embroidery is done with the ‘do-rukha’ [double-facing] stitch that results … Continue reading

October 28, 2015 · 1 Comment

Save the Best for Last – One more Palindrome-Embroidery Textile

The last addition to my Palindrome Embroidery collection is indeed the best of them all – mainly because of the outstanding color – the deep madder is so magnetic I … Continue reading

October 21, 2015 · 1 Comment

The ASTITVA Project – Rescuing Textile Traditions – Chapter 1

ASTITVA = IDENTITY. This project intends to rescue at-risk textile traditions among vanishing cultures in India.

August 3, 2015 · 9 Comments

Dowry Bags & Purses

A link to the Dowry Bags & Purses of Gujarat, India. jm July 2015

July 12, 2015 · Leave a comment

Daily Art Fix – Vintage Ethnic Embroidery

Vintage Embroidery from Gujarat. India ca 1950 – 1970 Large piece used for home decor. antique Indian textiles, antique Indian shawl, antique textiles, antique textiles company, handmade Indian textiles, Indian … Continue reading

June 27, 2015 · Leave a comment

Daily Art Fix – A Thousand Stars in a Black Sky

Click to see more images of this gorgeous Kohistani shawl Daily Art Fix – A Thousand Stars in a Black Sky jm June 2015

June 24, 2015 · Leave a comment

Worth of a Woman ….

“A female slave, skilled in embroidery is worth four oxen” – Homer, 2nd Century BCE We’ve come a long way haven’t we? Or have we? [To be fair, besides female … Continue reading

June 23, 2015 · Leave a comment

Some Doors for My Future Tent

Perfect for my future tent! A set of three old tent doors / dividers / perde curtains (most likely converted from grain sacks?) from the homes of Yoruks or nomads … Continue reading

June 22, 2015 · 1 Comment

Daily Art Fix – Gorgeous Thirma Bagh 

  Who could have guessed that the base of the silk-floss embroidered wedding cloth from Punjab is white!! From the wovensouls collection. May 2015

May 8, 2015 · Leave a comment

Daily Art Fix – Dharaniyo from Gujarat

 

April 14, 2015 · Leave a comment

To Choose or to Not Choose! Innovation in Swat Hazara Textiles

“Alice came to a fork in the road. ‘Which road do I take?’ she asked. ‘Where do you want to go?’ responded the Cheshire Cat. ‘I don’t know,’ Alice answered. … Continue reading

March 31, 2015 · Leave a comment

Triangles of Passion – A Special Textile

A Bagh textile with a thousand triangles – created with love and passion

March 30, 2015 · Leave a comment

Superfine Weft Warp Embroidery from Kohistan

Embroidery from the Kohistan people never fails to intrigue me. Someday I want to watch them do it. The Kohistani shawl has two separate layers that are stitched along one … Continue reading

March 5, 2015 · Leave a comment

DAILY ART FIX – Gujarat Textile Art

Vintage “Chakla / Chaakda” Wall artwork in the form of cotton embroidery. From Gujarat, India. [VTI-719 on the wovensouls website. ] jm Jan 2015

January 8, 2015 · Leave a comment

Embellishments in Traditional Asian Textiles

Strange & interesting bits and pieces have been used as textile embellishments. In the decade of collecting textiles, I find that non-textile embellishments are most common in South Asian Hilltribes … Continue reading

October 3, 2014 · Leave a comment

Mystical Banjara Textiles

What does one get when the women of a social group have a strong intellect, happiness in their hearts and time on their hands? Art. Art that is used to … Continue reading

July 2, 2014 · 2 Comments

Double Sided Embroidery 1 – The Technique

While doing some research on newly acquired textiles with double-sided embroidery from Rajasthan & Swat valley, I came across this fantastic article. The Su double-sided embroidery from China is different … Continue reading

April 23, 2014 · Leave a comment

BOOK OF THE MONTH – KANTHA EMBROIDERY

Kantha is a traditional art from Eastern India.  Old pieces of textiles – usually worn out saris and dhotis (usually made of mulmul or thin cotton cloth) were layered and … Continue reading

December 22, 2013 · 3 Comments

Spectacular Embroidery Art from the Patel Community of Kutch

  On all my trips to the Kutch, I have only seen 4 such saris. Motifs & Color that are similar to those from the North West Provinces – but … Continue reading

November 5, 2013 · Leave a comment

Rooband – The Tadjik Veil

What a fantastic word to describe the veil ROOH = Spirit or Soul BAND = Shut or closed For it is the the soul that must be captured, it is … Continue reading

October 18, 2013 · Leave a comment

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

Dowry of A Mother’s Love – The Bagh Textile of Punjab

THE DOWRY A young girl leaves her home to join another family of which she knows very little. She has spent her childhood and early youth sheltered within the large … Continue reading

July 28, 2013 · 6 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

Textile Artwork Curated for Esplanade Theatre, Singapore

Esplanade Theatre, Singapore has commissioned Jaina Mishra to curate a a series of Tribal Textile Artworks. These will be on display from Nov 23 – Dec 2, 2012 on the … Continue reading

October 30, 2012 · Leave a 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

New Acquisitions of Kutch Textile Art in the Wovensouls Collection

The eye learns with every new exposure and becomes more discerning. Now I value the unusual form more than I did earlier.  In the world of textile art everything can … Continue reading

August 14, 2012 · 2 Comments

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

Intricate Nyonya Glass Beadwork – antique pieces from the Peranakan Museum, Singapore

  Peranakan culture expresses itself in many unique ways and the glass bead embroidery on articles of daily use is probably the prettiest of all Peranakan cultural signatures. Glass bead … Continue reading

April 27, 2011

Exquisite Vintage Kebayas – the costume of the Peranakan culture

Peranakan, Baba-Nyonya and Straits Chinese are terms used for descendants of the very early Chinese immigrants to the Nusantara region of British controlled Malaya and the Dutch controlled Java among … Continue reading

April 21, 2011

Lucknow – Capital of Awadh & city of Nawabs

Memories of Lucknow (2006) A Nawab, his perfect hosting, the splendour of Awadh Architecture, a dramatic guide, outstanding kababs, a beautiful Nikaah (wedding) ceremony and amazing antique textiles. The city … Continue reading

September 18, 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

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