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PostPosted: Fri Jul 14, 2017 10:07 am 
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Explore an amazing textile tradition of North East India with leading experts
and find out about the fashion for Gentleman’s Indian Gowns in the 18th century
Saturday 22nd July 10am – 4.30pm
The Drill Hall, Lower Church Street, Chepstow NP16 5HJ
To Book Places contact Chepstow Museum tel 01291 625981

For anyone interested in textiles, ancient and modern, and in the history of costume, as well as in Indian culture, Chepstow Museum has brought together leading experts in this field to explore an important strand of India’s rich woven tradition, in a day of talks on Saturday 22 July at the Drill Hall, Chepstow.

In the far north east of India, is the beautiful land of Assam. World famous for its tea, and also for the one-horned rhinoceros conserved from extinction here, it's also famous for its silk and woven textiles, and the distinctive red and white woven cotton 'gamusa' scarves which are almost a national symbol. But there was another rich and complex weaving technique that flourished in Assam centuries ago, but is now lost – and this produced the amazing vibrant figured textiles originally used in temples, a wonderful example of which survives in the lining of the Indian Gown now on display in Chepstow Museum.

The Museum is bringing together a group of experts to talk about this textile and the other survivors of this weaving tradition - there are about 20 pieces scattered around the world in various collections.
Rosemary Crill, until recently Senior Curator of South Asia at the Victoria &Albert Museum, brought to light this group of textiles in the 1990s. Known as Vrindavani Vastra, or the cloth of Vrindavan, the woven figures tell the stories of the young Krishna growing up in the forest of Vrindavan and his battles with demons. Rosemary Crill will be talking at the textile and costume dayschool at Chepstow along with three other experts. Steven Cohen of the Ashmolean will look at the weaving technique that produced this rich patterned fabric. Richard Blurton, Curator at the British Museum will focus on why and where these textiles were produced from the 16th to the 18th centuries.

While other survivals exist mostly as hangings, the example which has come to rest in Monmouthshire Museums was cut up and made into the lining of a gentleman's 'dressing gown' in the 18th century, probably in Calcutta. Dr Susan North, curator of Fashion at the V&A is going to talk about the fashion for these rather gorgeous silk gowns, known as banyans.

This is one of a series of events staged by Chepstow Museum in association with the exhibition “Hidden in the Lining, Krishna in the garden of Assam – the tales of two textiles” which is also part of the UK India Year of Culture 2017 in this special 70th year since independence. For more details (see the bottom of this e-mail) and to book a place at the Textile and Costume day contact Chepstow Museum on 01291 625981 (£12/£10 concessions)


JULY 22 10am- 4.30pm , The Drill Hall, Lower Church Street, Chepstow, NP16 5HJ
Textile & Costume Dayschool – talks by expert speakers about the Assamese textiles and the gentleman’s gown featuring in the Chepstow Museum exhibition:

Richard Blurton, senior curator South & South east Asian collections, British Museum;
The Krishna textiles from Assam: production, function and dispersal
The Vrindavani Vastra-type textiles in which are encoded narratives from the life of Krishna as well as depictions of the avataras of Vishnu were made in Assam in the 16th-18th centuries. In this lecture I will examine why they were produced and where; their function (possibly more than one) and their eventual dispersal from Assam. The route from the banks of the Brahmaputra to the banks of the Wye is certainly a fascinating one …

Richard Blurton, created and curated the exhibition about the Vrindavani Vastra textiles at the British Museum and has written an accompanying book, ‘Krishna in the Garden of Assam’. He is the Head of the South and Southeast Asia Section in the Department of Asia at the British Museum, and has a wide range of scholarly interests in the subcontinent. He has prepared exhibitions in the past on Hinduism, South India, and Bengal – the latter two regions zones where he has conducted fieldwork. His most recent research has been in northeastern India, especially Arunachal Pradesh and Assam. He has published extensively, both for public and academic audiences.

Rosemary Crill formerly Senior Curator South Asian textiles and dress V&A;
‘Trans-Himalayan Textiles: Indian silks in Tibet’
In spite of its Hindu imagery, the British Museum’s extraordinary silk hanging from Assam was used many miles away, in a monastery in Tibet. It was one of a great many Indian silk textiles that were traded to Tibet over centuries, some with Vaishnavite imagery, others very different in design. This talk explores the range of Indian textiles traded to Tibet, discusses where they originally came from, how they would have been used and how they might have travelled across the Himalayas to Tibet.
Rosemary Crill retired in 2016 as a Senior Curator for South Asia at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, where she is now an Honorary Senior Research Fellow. Over some 30 years she has published widely on Indian textiles and paintings. Her books include Indian Embroidery, Indian Ikat Textiles, Chintz: Indian Textiles for the West and most recently The Fabric of India, which accompanied the major exhibition of the same name at the V&A in 2015-16.

Steven Cohen, Ashmolean Museum,
“The Chepstow Lining: an outstanding example of Indian Lampas Weaving”.
Steven is speaking about the defining physical and iconographic features of the Chepstow woven lining and comparing those characteristics with other examples. The fact that the lining in Chepstow is in such wonderful condition is its first and most obvious attraction, but its use as the lining of a garment intended for use by a European gentlemen in the 18th century while displaying non-European Vaishnavite iconography is also almost as noteworthy.

Steven Cohen is an American-born London-based independent textile historian specialising in the carpets and textiles of the Indian subcontinent. Since April 2016 I have been The May Beattie Visiting Fellow in Carpet Studies at the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford and I write and give the annual lecture at SOAS and the V&A in London.

Dr Susan North, Curator of Fashion, V&A
'Bold and bright: banyans and their textiles.’
A short history of informal gowns for men and women; their styles, fabrics and uses from the 16th to the 19th century.
Susan North is the curator of fashion before 1800 at the V&A Museum and is currently completing a new V&A book: 18th-Century Fashion in Detail.”

Booking essential £12 full /£10 concession tel 01291 625981

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