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Indian Textiles

The Ringling Art Library

Crill, Rosemary, editor. The Fabric of India. V&A Publishing, 2015.

  • The first truly comprehensive book on the subject of Indian textiles, The Fabric of India covers a broad range of material on India’s textile heritage from across the entire subcontinent. The V&A in London has the foremost collection of Indian textiles in the world and their Fabric of India exhibition is the first major exhibition to focus solely on the textiles themselves; this accompanying book is an invaluable contribution to the subject and it helps readers understand and appreciate India’s historical creative and innovative textile heritage.

Call Number: NK 8876 .A1 F33 2015

Gillow, John and Nicholas Barnard. Indian Textiles. Thames & Hudson, 2008.

  • “This comprehensive survey covers the history, materials and techniques of every part of the Indian subcontinent, matching authoritative text with a glorious selection of images and detailed reference section to make this the essential guide” (back cover). Some notable topics included are the history of textile production, the materials used (dyes and yarn), and the techniques of textile decoration. The subsequent chapters cover the specializations of various regions in India.

Call Number: NK 8876 .A1 G53 2008

Jain, Rahul. Rapture: The Art of Indian Textiles. Niyogi Books, 2011.

  • This book offers a survey of the subject of India’s historical textiles and showcases some of the most magnificent fabrics created primarily for India’s courts and temples. Jain provides context by including descriptions and analyses of each textile image, ranging from fifteenth century painted cotton panels and seventeenth century wall hangings to eighteenth century canopies and details of nineteenth century saris. Arranged into three different groups based on historical period and design, the textile images demonstrate the remarkably intricate craftsmanship of the Indian textile industry spanning a five hundred year period.

Call Number: NK 8876 .A1 J35 2011

Thakar, Karun, John Guy, and Rosemary Crill. Indian Textiles: The Karun Thakar Collection. Prestel, 2014.

  • This publication provides readers a survey of Indian textiles. Guy’s essay is a short history of early Indian textiles, and Crill’s essay provides an introduction to Indian textiles from the Mughal Empire to the present day. Thakar owns a magnificent collection of textiles, all of which are exhibited here in this volume—from trade and temple cloths to Kashmir shawls and Punjabi baghs. Each section includes a brief introduction to the textiles.

Call Number: NK 8876 .A1 I525 2014

Dye, Joseph M., editor. “Part Four: Textiles.” The Arts of India: Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in association with Philip Wilson Publishers, 2001, pp. 443-84.

  • Part four of this comprehensive survey of Indian art from ancient times to the early-twentieth century begins with an introductory essay on Indian textiles and each chapter within part four focuses on specific types of fabrics, from silk and cotton textiles to wool textiles and embroideries. Each individual catalogue entry examines the cultural, historical, and aesthetic significance of the object.

Call Number: N 7301 .V57 2001

Wheeler, Monroe, Pupul Jayakar, and John Irwin. Textiles and Ornaments of India. Museum of Modern Art, 1956.

  • The authors of this small book interpret the significance of Indian textiles and situate the fabrics in their social and historical contexts in order to better comprehend Indian textile arts. They look at different modes of dress and decoration and the way aesthetics merge with symbolic meaning. Despite the fact that most of the illustrations are black and white, this exhibition displays many extraordinary pieces on India fabrics from a wide range of history.

Call Number: NK 8976 .N4

Hacker, Katherine F. and Krista Jensen Turnbull. Courtyard, Bazaar, Temple: Traditions of Textile Expression in India. University of Washington Press, 1982.

  • This publication looks at the significance of Indian textiles in relation to their larger domestic, social, and religious contexts. The courtyard, bazaar, and temple, respectively, symbolize these contexts, which are complex and inherently intertwined. Hacker examines the regional diversity of Indian textiles by focusing on the following regions: Orissa, Andhra Pradesh, Rajasthan, and Gujarat.

Call Number: NK 8976 .H33 1982

Peebles, Merrily. Court and Village: India’s Textile Traditions. Santa Barbara Museum of Art, 1981.

  • This short exhibition catalogue presents a very readable and illuminating survey to India’s textile arts, from woven textiles and embroidered and appliquéd textiles to painted and printed fabrics to tie-dyed textiles.

Call Number: NK 8876 A1 P4

Edwards, Eiluned. Textiles and Dress of Gujarat. Mapin Publishing in association with V&A Publishing, 2011.

  • This survey examines Gujarat—an area in western India that is celebrated for its textile and dress design and craftsmanship—and traces the social life and historical journey of its textile production up to the present day. Edwards studies the embroidery, printed and painted fabrics, and the weaving and dyeing processes of the region, and acknowledges the development and entrepreneurship of the craft.

Call Number: NK 8976 .A3 G84 2011

Prasad, Ravi Shanker and Pramod Kumar Sinha. “Textiles of Northeast.” Folk and Tribal Designs in India, Anmol, 2012, pp. 158-89.

  • This chapter focuses on the textiles traditions of various states in Northeast India. Prasad examines Assamese weaving, spinning and dyeing, cotton production in Manipur and Manipuri textile design and embroidery, the technique of weaving in Meghalaya, the technique of dyeing and production in Mizoram, and Tripuri weaving, design, and textile symbols. Distinctive tribal traditions from each state are also discussed, as well.

Call Number: NK 1047 .P73 2012

Cort, Cynthia. Petals and Plumage: A Collection of Indian Textiles. Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, Cornell University, 2000.

  • The collections explored in this small exhibition booklet display Indian textile traditions, ornamentation, and utility within their Indian cultural contexts. The narrative begins with an introduction to Indian textiles and the history of global trade, then moves to more specific surveys of painted and printed cottons, ikat and tie-dye, brocades, Kashmir shawls, and finally, embroidery.

Call Number: NK 8976 .A1 P48 2000

Guy, John. “’One Thing Leads to Another’: Indian Textiles and the Early Globalization of Style.” Interwoven Globe: the Worldwide Textile Trade, 1500-1800, edited by Amelia Peck, Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2013, pp. 12-27.

  • This essay examines the development and legacy of the Indian textile trade, beginning with the dynamics of medieval Asian trading, a time during which Indian cloth was the key to spice trading, to seventeenth-century European presence in India (the East India Company, the United East India Company, etc.), to the Asian market’s demand for Indian painted textiles during the seventeenth- and eighteenth-centuries.

Call Number: NK 8806 .I57 2013

Paine, Sheila. “Guide to Identification: the Indian Subcontinent.” Embroidered Textiles: A World Guide to Traditional Patterns. Thames & Hudson, 2008, pp. 28-31.

  • This is a very brief introduction to the embroidery tradition of the Indian subcontinent, one of the most skillful and diverse traditions in the world. Paine introduces readers to regional, technical, and stylistic differences. The introduction to this volume is also a good resource for information on the function, motifs, symbolism, social indicators, and placement of embroidered textiles.

Call Number: NK 8806 .P35 2008

Frater, Judy. “Elements of Style: the Artisan Reflected in Embroideries of Western India.” Mud, Mirror and Thread: Fold Traditions of Rural India, edited by Nora Fisher, Mapin in association with Museum of New Mexico Press, 1993, pp. 67-109.

  • Frater examines the significance of the elements of embroidery and analyzes those elements within their cultural contexts in order to better understand how the people of India have organized their worlds in the past, as well as how they organize their present worlds. She explores the concept of style in India, as well as regional distinctions and stylist evolutions of embroidery. Frater has more than twenty years of field experience in India and she incorporates her own personal experiences into her writing, creating a compelling and insightful account of embroidery in India, culturally and regionally.

Call Number: NK 8876 .A1 M83 1993

Fisher, Nora. “Banjara: Adornment of a People of All India.” Mud, Mirror and Thread: Fold Traditions of Rural India, edited by Nora Fisher, Mapin in association with Museum of New Mexico Press, 1993, pp. 137-71.

  • Fisher also incorporates personal fieldwork experience into her narrative about the Banjara peoples, a traditional, nomadic peoples with a bold and brilliantly colored embroidery aesthetic. Fisher first examines the Banjara life and traditions before examining their embroidery and dress.

Call Number: NK 8876 .A1 M83 1993

Maxwell, Robyn. Sari to Sarong: Five Hundred Years of Indian and Indonesian Textile Exchange. National Gallery of Australia, 2003.

  • This book examines the history of textile exchange between Indian subcontinent and the islands of the Indonesian archipelago, a history of exchange that has led to a lasting Indian influence on Indonesian textiles. While this book in its entirety is relevant to the history of Indian textile arts, one chapter is more so than the others: “The Fabric of Trade: Indian Textiles” (pp. 111-141).

Call Number: NK 8880 .A1 M39 2003

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