Crafts, Handlooms, Art, Craftspersons/ Artisanal, Sustainability, Sustainable Devt.

Past-Present: Craft Communities in Contemporary India

Mustafa, Shabbir Hussain

“The beautiful groups of textiles and handicrafts are a welcome reminder that the first meaning of the word art is ‘skill’. It is skill in making things, and in making them beautifully that is the foundation of all art. For without the craftsman's skill, the profound spiritual ideals of Indian civilization could never have been expressed in art. This is a lesson India has taught the world and through this magnificent gift can bring home to the people of Malaya.”– Michael Sullivan1

As the words of then curator of the University of Malaya Museum Michael Sullivan insist, Indian textiles and imaginations of India have always had a nebulous but intimate relationship. Textiles – along with religious iconographies and architecture – have not only performed the role of plenipotentiaries of ‘Indian culture’ within the socio-geographical boundaries of what is today recognized as India but also beyond into what Sullivan refers to as ‘Malaya’. In many ways the study of textiles has been a preoccupation of the Art History discipline. Ananda K. Coomaraswamy’s History of Indian and Indonesian Art, first published in 1927, not only identifies periods and locations in which varying importation and adaptations of Indian art may be acknowledged within 'Indonesia’ (a category which referred to Southeast Asia...
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