For now, this collection only includes a few pieces, and from two diverse places: Bhutan and India.
Bhutanese textiles are only rarely seen outside of the Himalayas, and old pieces like the ones we offer are even rarer.
The Banjara of India
Their name means ‘gypsy’, and though originally from the desert regions of Rajasthan, the Banjara people now live and move through 22 states in India. Primarily nomadic, they produce textiles for their own use from available resources. Natural dyes abound, as does handspun and handwoven cotton. Their use of embroidery is especially well-suited for a migratory people, as are the types of textile made. Surprisingly, given the ease of creating natural motifs with embroidery, their designs do not include plants or animals, but are more geometric. Various embroidery techniques are used and serve as a way of differentiating between certain groups and locales. The use of cowrie shells, mirrors, beads, buttons, and tassles is for protection and to deflect the ‘evil eye’, a concern shared with many other nomadic groups. We especially like their color sense and the freshness of their designs. The works resonate with the honesty of the maker’s vision and circumstances of their lifestyle.
The Textile Museum of Canada has a nice collection of similar Banjara pieces.