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Monday, July 23, 2018

Woven from the Past

An exhibition brings together antique 250 Jamavar weaves,a few dating to the 18th century.

Written by Dipanita Nath | Published: September 8, 2012 3:50:57 am

An exhibition brings together antique 250 Jamavar weaves,a few dating to the 18th century.

Most authentic Jamavar shawls (the kind now treasured as museum pieces) were woven in the 19th century. It would take a group of weavers around two years to complete one piece,which alone can explain why the Kashmiri Jamavar is recognised as one of the most exquisite and priceless pieces of Indian craftsmanship. Now,an exhibition will bring together Jamavar shawls from Kashmir dating to the 18th century with several variations such as the Paisley shawls and Pashminas with Jamavar borders from Jaipur,Hyderabad and Europe. The exhibition has been organised by The Lalit hotel as a fundraiser for animal welfare group People for Animals (PFA).

This isn’t the first attempt to understand or own a Jamavar,with some designers such as JJ Valaya,high-end showrooms and craft emporio having engaged with the weave before,but design guru Rajeev Sethi of the Asian Heritage Foundation offers a slightly different note. “Though there has been a revival of Jamavar in the village of Kanihama in Kashmir,the pieces are not remotely as layered as those made in an earlier era.” As part of the exhibition,Sethi will conduct a discussion on Jamavars with television personality Ekta Kapoor.

The most attractive pieces that will be displayed are riotous with red and black,the traditional colours of Jamavar,though there are a few green and blue ones dating back to the Mughal era. The Paisley shawls,made in Europe,mark an evolution in the story of the Jamavar . Machines in Europe began to reproduce the popular “Kashmir Shawls” at Lisle,France,and Paisley,Scotland. Ironically,these began to be considered superior to the handmade pieces at the time,and even weavers began to copy their patterns. “There are 40-odd Paisley shawls,mostly from the late 19th century,” says Delhi-based curator Garima Jain. Garima,along with Mukta Nandini Jain,who has been working in the field of textile and weaves,have sourced the pieces.

Among the display pieces are a number of shawls and rumaals. “Not everything was meant to be worn. A number of Jamavar pieces were hung on the wall,” says Maneka Gandhi,a parliamentarian and chairperson of PFA. She adds that the pieces are on sale,with a starting price of Rs 1 lakh.

The exhibition will be held at The Lalit on September 8-9.

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