Traded Treasure: Indian Textiles for Global Markets

  • through June 9, 2019
  • Johnson Museum of Art, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York
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.
Johnson Museum of Art
Made in Gujarat, India, for the eastern Indonesian market (Toraja),  this fragment of a maa' ceremonial cloth, dated to the 13th or 14th century, shows a design of female dancers. Plain-weave cotton, block-printed, hand-painted and resist-dyed. Collection of Banoo and Jeevak Parpia.

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