Mystical Banjara Textiles

July 02, 2014

What does one get when the women of a social group have a strong intellect, happiness in their hearts and time on their hands? Art.

Art that is used to decorate their lives. Art that is infused into the objects of daily use.

A poignant example is the textile art of the Banjara group in India. The pieces shown below are all made for self-consumption.

Some examples:

1. Satchels

0 156 banjara satchel

antique banjara pouch2

0 159 banjara satchel2 - this tribe used to be very rich before the railways came, on account of the trade they facilitated

2. Spice Pouch0 162 banjara hanging spicepouch

3. Money Belt

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAbanjara1

4. Cradle Cloth

ANTIQUE BANJARA GYPSY TRIBAL GHODIYU CRADLE CLOTH

ANTIQUE BANJARA GYPSY TRIBAL GHODIYU CRADLE CLOTH

Within this group of textiles we see several motifs repeated across the textiles.

 

 

a. The Moutain Peaks

ANTIQUE BANJARA GYPSY TRIBAL GHODIYU CRADLE CLOTH

 

Banjara Embroidery Textile patch with Indhoni

And the Stepped Mountain PeaksOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Banjara Embroidery Textile patch with Indhoni

 

b. The Checkerboard

ANTIQUE BANJARA GYPSY TRIBAL GHODIYU CRADLE CLOTH

c. The Escher Arrowheads

(Just as it is in Escher’s drawings both the figure and the ground are arrowheads and one cannot tell which was meant to be the figure and which was meant to be the ground)

ANTIQUE BANJARA GYPSY TRIBAL GHODIYU CRADLE CLOTH

d. The Double Helix of DNA?

ANTIQUE BANJARA GYPSY TRIBAL GHODIYU CRADLE CLOTH

[I used to have a little Lilihan rug that “clearly” had the double-helix pattern – protein molecules included

smlil1– so the idea is not new to me – but I do agree that it may sound ridiculous!!)

e. Flow Chart or Chain Reaction?

ANTIQUE BANJARA GYPSY TRIBAL GHODIYU CRADLE CLOTH

 

f. A complex molecular structure? ANTIQUE BANJARA GYPSY TRIBAL GHODIYU CRADLE CLOTH

 

g. Diamonds

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

In the simpler motifs, the color combinations seem to have received special attention by the creators.

Maybe these textiles were created not only as visual art but also as mathematical art. Maybe they were created with motifs that meant something to them. Maybe we just do not have the cipher needed to understand them!

Or maybe I am just hoping for too much meaning where there is none…

jm

June 2014

ANTIQUE QASHQAI SHEKARLU PERSIAN RUG

 

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