The Course is offered by Sanskriti Foundation
in association with Delhi Crafts Council

Course Curator: Jyotindra Jain

Course : Ten illustrated lecture-sessions, once a week
(From Saturday, 30th January, 2016 to Saturday, 9th April,2016)

Days and Timings: Every Saturday from 11 am to 1 pm, followed by lunch

Venue : Sanskriti Kendra, Anandagram, M.G. Road, New Delhi- 110047

Fee: Rs. 15,000/- for the entire Course.

• Maximum batch of 25 to 30 participants
• Registration opens from 21st December, 2015
• Last date of submission of Form: 5th January, 2016
• Last date for payment of fee: 15th January, 2016

Sanskriti Pratishthan, established 35 years ago, is dedicated to nourishing practices of art, craft, literature, the performing arts and social work. Besides providing facilities for international artists’ residencies, children’s workshops, meetings, seminars and conferences, the Foundation houses three museums, namely The Museum of Everyday Art, Museum of Indian Terracotta and Museum of Indian Textiles.

Delhi Crafts Council is affiliated to the Crafts Council of India and to the World Crafts Council. The Council was founded by Smt Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay in 1967 and is working for the promotion and development of craft skills, sustainable livelihoods, marketing, design and revival of languishing crafts.

To further strengthen the objectives of these Institutions and to educate sensitive public towards the art and cultural heritage of India, we plan to offer short term courses to public on various aspects of Indian art and culture.

With this aim, we announce a Course on Indian Textiles: Traditions, Trade and Social Histories, to be held from January 30 to April 9, 2016. The Course, to be taught by an eminent faculty, will comprise eleven sessions of two hours each. The concluding session will be with a contemporary fashion designer who would share his/her creative journey in the field. Participants will have full access to Sanskriti library, having a rich collection of books on Indian textiles and will also be given a guided tour of the Sanskriti Museum of Indian Textiles as an introduction to the Course.


The Course is open to public by subscription of Rs. 15,000/- for the entire period.

Those desirous of participating may apply on the attached form to be submitted to Sanskriti Pratishthan (email: so as to reach it on or before 5th January, 2016. The applications will be scrutinized for admission by a committee of experts based on their statement of interest and the decision will be conveyed to the applicants by 10th January, 2016. At the end of the Course a certificate will be issued to each participant who has attended at least 70 percent of sessions. The fee for the entire course has to be paid latest by 15th January, 2016.

Course Details

The Concept and Content:

It is not by chance that the people of ancient India expressed their philosophical ideas and summarized their world view in terms of textile terminology. For example the term sutra, the spun thread, was understood not only as the material basis for any fabric but also as the metaphorical fabric of the Universe. The holder of thread (sutradhara) was thus conceived as the world’s premier architect- the creator. It seems only appropriate that the people whose early perceptions of the nature of the Universe were expressed figuratively in terms of weaving, should have created such rich and glorious traditions of textiles over the centuries.

New Approach

Until recently, most deliberations on Indian Textiles have confined to treating them as a part of the colonial museological category of “material culture”. For decades now, almost the entire academic focus has been on descriptions of their traditional genres, technology, and aesthetics in terms of their materials and techniques, designs, patterns, and visual appeal. This is certainly legitimate considering the uniqueness of technology of their production, variety and extra-ordinary charm that they possess. However, this sharp focus on their beauty, charm and variety has receded them into the arena of “decorative arts” and a sort of feminine territory. Parallel to this celebratory engagement with textiles, there have been other histories –histories of their trade and politics; of gender and marginalization; of colonialism, urbanism and nationalism. This additional focus on the lesser known aspect of Indian textiles will add a fresh dimension to our understanding of the field.

I. Genres of Traditional Indian Textiles:

In this segment, the aim is not just to survey the various genres of Indian textiles such as embroidery, resist-dyed fabrics or brocades, but to bring into focus some of the lesser known regional traditions, such as Kodali Karruppur, the printed and gold-brocaded saris; aspects of North-Eastern Indian textiles; rare and lesser known Kalamkaris from the Andhra region; ritual textiles for goddess worship in Gujarat in the form of a model for an anthropological approach for the study of Indian ritual textiles as such; and of the Indian sari traditions, both in terms of their materials and techniques as well as their drapes in the regional contexts.

II.Ancient and Medieval Indian Textiles Trade and Exchanges

The history of Indian textiles trade and exchanges, the world over, goes back not only to the Indus Valley-Sumerian contacts nearly 5000 years ago – but expands and continues over the following millennia, for example the export of Gujarati textiles to Fostat in Egypt from early medieval times until the 19th century, and major demand of patolas of Gujarat in Indonesia and other Southeast Asian countries. Parts of Gujarat, Coromandal Coast, Bengal and Orissa conducted extensive foreign trade with Europe and Africa as well as the Southeast Asian countries.

III.Social and Political Histories of Indian Textiles

By the end of the 19th century, a new industrial economy had begun to take root in the major cities of India. During the American Civil War (1861-65) the supply of America’s ‘King Cotton’ to the mills of Lancashire came to a halt. Britain started looking to India for supply. By 1863, when the Civil War ended, Mumbai had earned 70 million pounds from the boom. The new money was not only invested in building infrastructure of the city but in starting spinning and weaving mills reducing imports into India of the British mill fabrics. Gandhi’s khadi movement led to production of 16 million yards of khadi. The boycott of British goods led to the closing down of nearly 75 mills in Lancashire and Blackburn within four years.

At the peak of the Indian freedom movement, while countering British goods with the weapon of khadi and village industries, a notion of revival of Indian clothing traditions began to gain ground in elitist circles, particularly through Sarojini Naidu, Kamala Devi Chattopadhyaya, Rukmini Devi Arundale, Pupul Jayakar, and others which led to the birth and popularity of ‘handloom fabric’.

One of the highlights of the Course will be to examine how the Indo-British textile trade and cultural exchanges caused an influx of visual culture of the contemporary western fashion into India, which in combination with the rise of Indian urbanism led to the emergence of the modern sari – touching upon the tradition-modernity debate.

It is also envisaged to have the concluding session by a contemporary fashion designer to speak on tradition and innovation: re-inventing the sari – a personal journey of a designer.


Jyotindra Jain - Art Historian
Jyotindra Jain, formerly Director of the National Crafts Museum; Professor at the School of Arts & Aesthetics, Jawaharlal Nehru University; and Member Secretary of the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts, all New Delhi, was a Visiting Professor at Harvard University and a Rudolf-Arnheim Professor at Humboldt University, Berlin. An eminent scholar and curator, his major publications include: Master Weavers (1982); Tradition and Expression in Mithila Painting (1996); Other Masters: Five Contemporary Folk and Tribal Artists of India (1998); Picture Showmen: Insights into the Narrative Tradition in Indian Art (1998); Kalighat Painting: Images from a Changing World (1999); Indian Popular Culture: ‘The Conquest of the World as Picture’(2004). He was recipient of the 1998 Prince Claus Award for Culture. Presently he is a Member of the International Advisory Board of the Humboldt-Forum, Berlin, and Editor of Marg Publications, Mumbai.

Omana Eappen - Managing Trustee, Nauras Trust
Omana Eappen is the Managing Trustee of the Nauras Trust, Bengaluru, that is dedicated to the conservation of the heritage of the Deccan . She has been working on a project with the Archaeological Survey of India and the National Culture Fund to revitalise the 17th century Adil Shahi Gardens of the Ibrahim Rauza and the Gol Gumbaz (the tombs of Ibrahim Adil Shah II and his son Mohammad Adil Shah respectively) in Bijapur (now Vijayapura), Karnataka and on its related publication. Looking for evidence of gardens in textiles led to an in depth study of a rare group of 16th/17thcentury kalamkaris from South India. She is writing a monograph on these textiles for Jnana Pravaha, Varanasi. She is interested in relating these projects to our times in multiple ways to connect across the plural segments of our society.

Rta Kapur Chishti - Textile Scholar
Rta Kapur Chishti, is a recognized textile scholar, co-author and editor of the ‘Saris of India’ volumes on the previously published ‘Saris of India’ volumes on Madhya Pradesh, Bihar & West Bengal as well as ‘Handcrafted Indian Textiles -Tradition and Beyond’. She has been a contributing author to several other publications. As a writer and translator she has written of the life and work of craftsmen and scripted for films and exhibitions. She has been consistently involved with research anddevelopment of handspun-handloom textiles. She is founder of the “Sari School” which produces saris & organizes workshops & private classes for those who wish to learn the wonders of this unstitched garment & make it more relevant to their lives today. She has also collaborated with ‘The Daksha Sheth Dance Company’ to develop the production titled, ‘SARI’, a tribute to the process of turning by hand, raw material into a wondrous woven unstitched garment.

Bessie Cecil - Textile Researcher
Bessie Cecil - completed her Ph. D in Textile Design and Textile Conservation from the University of Madras, 2010 and gained experience in research and guidance having been a Visiting Fellow at Victoria and Albert Museum, London, on Nehru Fellowship (2006) and Fulbright Doctoral and Professional Fellow at the Florida State University, USA (2006-07). She was Research Associate (2007-2008) at the Craft Education and Research Center, Kalakshetra Foundation, Chennai during which time the prime focus was exploration with natural dyes and creating designs. Besides working as a Research Fellow at Asian Civilizations Museum, Singapore she has also curated various Exhibitions.
Currently, she is an independent researcher working on Techniques of Traditional Indian Handloom Textiles and revival of natural dye/dyeing of historical importance popularly known as Chay root dyeing.

Uzramma - Founder, Dastkar Andhra, Decentralized Cotton Yarn Trust, Malkha Marketing Trust
Uzramma , founder of non-profit research centre Dastkar Andhra, has been associated with the cotton textile industry of India since 1989. In 2005 Uzramma founded the Decentralized Cotton Yarn Trust with small-scale units to process cotton to yarn at field locations. She has been a member of policy groups for the handloom industry constituted by the Planning Commission and the PMO, and has participated in various seminars and lectures.

Aditi Ranjan - Textile Designer
Aditi Ranjan, formerly Professor in textile department of National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad, is a well known authority on Indian textile traditions. Prof Ranjan has done extensive work on textile traditions of North-East India. She is also the co-author of the Book, ‘Crafts of India: Handmade in India’.

Monisha Ahmed - Textile Anthropologist
Monisha Ahmed is an independent researcher who has been visiting and writing about material culture in Ladakh since 1987. Her doctoral degree from Oxford University developed into the book Living fabric - Weaving among the Nomads of Ladakh Himalaya (Orchid Press, 2002), which received the Textile Society of America’s R L Shep award in 2003 for best book in the field of ethnic textile studies. She is the author of several articles on the material culture and textile arts of Ladakh, and neighbouring Himalayan areas, co-edited with Clare Harris Ladakh – Culture at the Crossroads (Marg Publications, 2005) and with Janet Rizvi authored Pashmina – The Kashmir Shawl and Beyond (Marg Publications, 2009). She is the co-founder and current Executive Director of the ngo LAMO (Ladakh Arts and Media Organisation) and is currently Associate Editor for Marg Publications, Mumbai.

Sujata Parsai - Museologist & Art Historian
Sujata Parsai has a passion for connecting cultural and artistic heritage to the public. Her varied experience ranges from documenting museum collections, implementing preventive conservation measures, to display and coordination of textile exhibitions, and workshops. Engaged formerly as Museum and Exhibitions Consultant to TAPI Collection (Textiles and Art of the People of India), she coordinated internationally acclaimed exhibitions from the TAPI Collection. She has been visiting faculty at NIFT, The National Museum Institute, Irwin College, and the National Museum Institute. Currently as part of the Flow India team, she is actively engaged in conceptualizing and delivering museum workshops and lectures.Sujata Parsai has been a Fellow and OPA of the Victoria & Albert Museum, London.