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Essence of Indian Textiles: Selections from the Parpia Collection

Essence of Indian Textiles: Selections from the Parpia Collection

This exhibition celebrates the extraordinary aesthetic and technical diversity of Indian textiles over the last six hundred years. Drawn from a private collection of astonishing range, depth, and quality, the selections presented here provide an overview of India’s long history of preeminence in the production of cotton, silk, and wool fabrics.

The earliest pieces in the exhibition are remnants of a flourishing trade with Indonesia, where Indian textiles were treasured and preserved as heirlooms. Other examples of trade textiles made for specific markets, such as Thailand, Sri Lanka, and Europe, highlight the dexterity of textile designers and makers to tailor fabrics to appeal to foreign tastes and desires.

Luxury textiles made for imperial and princely patrons display some of the finest-quality weaving, dyeing, and embroidery designs and techniques, executed to an unparalleled level of sophistication and agility to satisfy royal demands.

The diversity of regional textile production for domestic usage and adornment encompasses a broad range of techniques, including painting, block printing, ikat, tie-dye, brocade, tapestry, and embroidery. Rich variations in traditions of ornamentation reflect the various social and cultural contexts for which these textiles were made. Examples of textiles made to serve important roles in the devotional practices of Hindus and Muslims are also included.

We are grateful to Banoo and Jeevak Parpia for sharing their passion, extensive knowledge, and treasures to make this exhibition possible. A comprehensive catalogue of their collection is currently being planned.

Ellen Avril
Chief Curator and Curator of Asian Art

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