The Fabric of India, on view July 7-Oct. 13, 2019, features more than 140 examples drawn from the internationally-renowned holdings of London’s Victoria & Albert Museum and international partners. Historical dress, carefully preserved fabrics and cutting-edge current fashion will be displayed, giving visitors an opportunity to explore not just the superior craftsmanship of the textiles, but the story they tell about the social, economic and political exchanges that drove their creation and consumption.
“The beauty and technical mastery of the textiles in this exhibition are extraordinary, but there’s also a great deal of substance,” said Rhiannon Paget, Ph.D., curator of Asian art at The Ringling. “Ultimately, the exhibition is not just about textiles or India, but about the shared histories, achievements and fates of people in every corner of the globe.”
Spanning more than 500 years, The Fabric of India showcases the remarkable techniques of weaving, dyeing, printing and embroidery of the Indian textile industry. Organized in six thematic sections, the exhibition features a wide range of objects such as a Kashmir Map Shawl, a large, finely-woven pashmina intricately embroidered with a bird’s-eye view of the city of Srinagar, capital of the territory of Kashmir; a border for a woman’s dress from the 19th century embroidered with green iridescent beetle-wing cases; and a more-than-50-foot Gujarati room hanging that was found abandoned on a New York City street. Fabrics and clothing from contemporary designers that engage with India’s rich heritage of textiles will also be displayed, including pieces by Osman Yousefzada, Dries Van Noten, Hermès, Rahul Mishra and Manish Arora.