How India dressed up: National Museum recreates saga from old manuscripts

The ‘Chitram Vastram’ exhibition held in the National Museum here, records the journey of the Indian textile industry and sartorial styles through Jain manuscript paintings.

Clothes, colours, and artworks from the manuscripts were used to show the culture’s significance in everyday life even after 1,000 years.

Museum curator Dr. Pawan Jain said that Indian fabric and the patterns printed on it are found all over the world from Indonesia to Egypt which indicated the infinite limits of the country’s textile industry.

He added that the fabric and patterns had been ingrained in our culture and its reflection could be seen in every state across the country.

A special attraction of the exhibition was the ‘Angrakha’ of the renowned Dastangoi artist Syed Sahil Agha, a resident of Delhi.

Agha told IANS that Dastangoi is an Indian folk art form dating from the 13th century.

The form, which are originally in Arabic and Persian, and later in Urdu, was immensely popular amongst the residents of Lucknow and Delhi for many centuries till the early modern era.

The ‘Dastango’ (one who performs) wears the old angrakha to combine the culture, civilisation, and heritage of India and presents it in a way that helps the audience see the future in the mirror of the past.

Pictures of the angrakha are also found in the manuscripts dating back in history, including the paintings of around 800 years ago, made in the time of Amir Khusro, also known as the father of Dastangoi in India.

It was a proud moment for the country when its forgotten history was displayed in front of the audience.

Agha was overjoyed over the display of his angrakha in the museum, which he wore in many performances in India and abroad.

Gunjan Jain, the exhibition’s assistant coordinator, said that the clothes made by her were imprinted by the Indian culture which was being preferred by the youth.

She said she was adapting to the old style to create new clothes.

Jain added that Indian cloth used to be exported to Bali, and people would send herbs in return, which indicated the command of the Indian textile industry all over the world.

She said that government cooperation and people’s endearment was all that was needed.




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