The refreshing diversity of Indian handicrafts stands out in a sea of present-day global industries who churn out repetitious, mass-produced textiles. Being a country with a 5 millennia-old history of cotton cultivation, Indian handicrafts are at the core of Indian cultural and artistic tradition. Although it is believed that silk was invented by the Chinese in 2940 B.C., new archaeological discoveries inform us that silk was prevalent concurrently during the Indus Valley Civilization. Silk is mentioned in ancient Indian literature as in the Smritis, Puranas, Ramayana and the Mahabharata. The great Indian God Krishna is described as wearing Kasi Pitambra (Banaras silk). From the earliest times silk has been cultivated in India and woven into the finest fabrics. Indian silk is famous for its rich lustrous glow and fine quality. India’s silk fabric is still produced in small-scale communities as a traditional occupation. India, the largest consumer of silk in the world, also has the unique distinction of being the only country in the world producing all the commercially known varieties of silk - Mulberry, Tussar (both tropical and temperate), Eri and Muga. Muga, the golden silk and Eri are produced by silkworms that are only native to the Indian state of Assam.

Indian handicrafts are well-known not only for their eco-friendly process of production but also for their intricate artistic designs and lively, bright natural colors. The Indian handicraft sector has shown tremendous resilience in this era of industrialized production and global competition. Indian handicrafts with their inherently diverse and unique characteristics are fulfilling the demands of both the local and international markets. Internationally, Indian handicrafts are valued for their eco-friendly nature, oriental vividness, stimulating originality and infinitely refreshing color schemes. To experience Indian handicrafts is to experience the bright sunlight of the tropics woven with centuries-old artistic tradition where cloth is valued not merely for covering the flesh and bones but as a ritual for the graceful beautification of the human body and soul.

We have included handicrafts in our collection to represent an important sector of traditional Indian art in terms of its pristine symbols and collective color-sense of Indian consciousness. Indian handicrafts also represent the traditional art of printing on cloth. We are featuring fine Indian textiles from Madhya Pradesh, a central Indian state well-known for its unique varieties of hand-spun and hand-printed cotton and silk fabrics, such as Chanderi and Maheshwari and regional printing styles such as Bagh, Bhairavgarh, and Dabu.