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Saturday, January 28, 2017


(Indian Handmade embroidered patchwork wall hanging)

The Phansi Museum kicks of the year with an intimate Pop Up Exhibition of a selection of Indian Textiles titled Other Routes.

Traditionally the textile industry in India, after agriculture, is one of the only industries that has generated immense opportunities for employment for both skilled and unskilled labour in textiles. The textile industry continues to be the second largest employment generating sector in India and offers direct employment to over 35 million people in the country.

According to the 2011 Crafts Economics and Impact Study (CEIS) by the Crafts Council of India around 200 million people are involved in the handicraft sector.  Similarly, to South Africa, traditional artisans are mainly rural based and often times belong to low socio-economic sectors of society. Their skills are learnt as youngsters or passed on by family members outside the mainstream educational system.

Cotton, silk, and wool are the three materials from which Indian textiles are woven. The cotton plant grows in many regions of India, each of which produces a different grade product. The artisan communities in India, very much like southern African crafters developed their crafts essentially from the use of natural resources readily available in their local environments, for example clay, wood, found objects, bone and grass.

India has always been exalted as the country of symbolic colours. The use of colour in Indian textiles has been a large part of the Indian consciousness.  The same can be said about the symbolic use of colour in South African beadwork where colour denotes feelings, beliefs, desires and power.

Textiles have a long and distinguished history in the Indian sub-continent. The technique of mordant dyeing, which gives intense colours that do not fade, has been used by Indian textile workers since the second millennium BC.  Similarly, Ilala basket weavers and potters from KwaZulu-Natal use natural dyes such as mud, plants, charcoal, bark and a variety of roots to colour the product.

Indian textile traditions are reputed all over the world and admired for their beauty, texture and durability.  The fabrics on display depict the extraordinary dexterity and illustrate the intricacy and beauty of Indian textiles. We would like to invited the public to view and carefully examine and scrutinise the magical make-up of the works on display. 

Other Routes will be on display until February 18. Phansi Museum is situated at 500 Esther Roberts Road, Glenwood, Durban. For more information contact 031 206 2889 or email: