History in silk

Baluchars: The woven narrative silks of Bengal, edited by Jasleen Dhamija, shows how these textiles — composed of the finest silk represent more than just art history

  • Published 31.05.19, 12:59 PM
  • Updated 31.05.19, 12:59 PM
  • a min read
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A picture from "Baluchars: The Woven Narrative Silks of Bengal"

The history of textiles is not always easy to trace. Not only does their fragility render them vulnerable, making record-keeping challenging, they also defy chronology on account of being created by techniques that remain fixed. But the Baluchar textiles of Bengal defy such conventions. Baluchars: The woven narrative silks of Bengal (Niyogi/Weavers Studio, Rs 2,500), edited by Jasleen Dhamija, shows how these textiles — composed of the finest silk and painstakingly woven with figurative depictions of Indians and Europeans — represent more than just art history by opening a window into the socio-cultural set-up of the 18th and the 19th centuries. With diverse narratives encircling the symbol of the kalka — representing either the tree of life or the feet of Goddess Kali — Baluchar textiles have made it from the looms of Murshidabad to the cover of Vogue.

A picture from "Baluchars: The Woven Narrative Silks of Bengal"
A picture from "Baluchars: The Woven Narrative Silks of Bengal"
A picture from "Baluchars: The Woven Narrative Silks of Bengal"
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