Jonathan Hope. Exhibition Review: ‘The Fabric of India’
This extraordinary and most informative exhibition, curated by Rosemary Crill and Divia Patel, weaves together India’s multifarious textile traditions into a flowing visual narrative. On entering we are confronted by a dazzling and huge mid-17th century Mughal summer carpet, almost 10 metres across, against which two mannequins dressed in contemporary fashion have been placed to indicate the show’s scope. We then move on to an exhibit of tribal and rustic woven cloths and costumes with examples of the dyestuffs used, such as pomegranate rind and turmeric root, shown in table cabinets below. A heavy cotton woman’s dress from the northwest of Pakistan collected circa 1850, and an elegant deep and light blue striped cloth from the Lhota Naga people of Assam splendidly represent the use of indigo.