Explore the history, beauty and craftsmanship of India's most iconic textiles from the collection of Salar Jung Museum
Kashmir Shawls: Inspired by Nature
In India, the shawl is worn as a shoulder-mantle and was originally a male garment, the finest having been worn by nobility. There is evidence that Sultan Abdullah Qutb Shah of Golconda (seen in the previous slide) used to wear Kashmir shawls. The shawls have rich decorative design which were either embroidered or woven on them. The turanj, a decorated mango shaped design is a favourite on the shawls.
The shawls are usually made from wool but can also be a fabric of mixed yarn. The variety of design is definitely inspired from nature, not surprising from the land of picturesque valleys and mountains.
Square woollen shawl
This is an interesting and elegant red, black, green and grey square woollen shawl from the eighteenth century with circular panel in the centre with vase design around it. Elongated leafy and turanj designs at the corners. Overlapping turanj designs around, the designs having been produced in silk and zari.
A richly designed cream colour shawl from the eighteenth century in pieces stitched together wioth flower patterns all over and circular crenellated panel in the centre having floral designs. Similar quarter circles can be seen at the corners. Floral creeper borders around the shawl.
Banaras silk industry
Banaras is a centre famed for its textile industry. Though it covers cotton,silk and mixed fibres, it is better known for its Zari-based silk textiles. Silk has been used since ancient times, the word used for it was ‘kausheya’. Silk was worn during religious rituals and given as gifts.
Silk fibres are obtained from silk-worms, reared on green leaves and during their breeding process cocoons are formed from which fibre is obtained.
References have been made to silk in Vedic texts, Harshacharita, Arthashastra etc. Kashi, Banaras or Varanasi was considered the source of best silk cloth and the main centre of production. The industry continued and achieved its peak during Mughal times and continues to the present day.
This is a Banarasi doopatta having zari flower pattern in fish scale panels all over. The Zari border has zig-zag design and another one with silvery diamond shape designs in lozenge shape golden panels around against green background square patterns at the ends and turanj at the corners.
Another Banarasi saree having zari flower creeper and three rows of flower patterns arranged alternately in slanting position and turanj at corners. Green border with flower creeper and another zari linear border around. Zari lozenge panels and zig-zag designs at both the ends
Dark green Banarasi saree having zari flower creeper and flower pattern in alternate slanting rows all over with turanj at corners. Border with similar designs on red background, another border with zari linear designs. Zari lozenge pattern and zig-zag designs at both the ends.
Green colour Banarasi odhni having golden flower creeper and flower designs in alternate slanting rows with red colour border having golden flower creeper and silver zari flower designs and linear golden border. Turanj designs at corners. Golden flower designs in circular in the centre.
Odhni with each quarter of different colour i.e. purple, pink, lemon and green having flower creeper and flower silver zari patterns in alternated slanting rows with flower creeper designs, silver zari border and linear design golden border around it. Turanj designs at corners.
Salar Jung Museum Silver Jubilee Celebrations : Souvenir,1976. Hyderabad : Salar Jung Museum, Hyderabad,1976.
Dr. M . A Nayeem/ The splendour of Hyderabad, Hyderabad: Hyderabad Publishers, 2002.
Tarannum Fatma Lari/Textiles of Banaras : yesterday and today, Varanasi: Indica Books,2010.
Jamila Brij Bhushan/The costumes and textiles of India, Bombay : D. B.Taraporevala Sons & Co Pvt. Ltd.,1958
Exhibition Script, Curation, and Compilation -
Photography – M. Krishnamurthy and Bahadur Ali
Special thanks to - Dr. A. Nagender Reddy, Jt.Director, Salar Jung Museum, Hyderabad and all other staff.