Traded Treasure: Indian Textiles for Global Markets
Known for centuries as the source of fine cottons and silks, India has produced some of the world's most innovative textile traditions. Spanning 500 years of India's thriving commerce with Southeast Asia, Europe and Japan, this exhibition reveals why Indian textiles were in demand the world over. Some of the earliest are printed and painted cotton fragments found in Indonesia: Along with silk double-ikat patola, these were used for ceremonial purposes and treasured as heirlooms. The maritime trade that relied on carrying Indian textiles to Southeast Asia in exchange for spices was first conducted by Arab, Persian and Indian merchants, but later it was dominated by Portuguese, Dutch and British ones, who expanded the demand for Indian chintz and embroideries in Asia and Europe.