50 iconic Indian heritage textiles by UNESCO

  • IASbaba
  • October 3, 2022
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History and Art and Culture
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In News: UNESCO released a list of 50 exclusive and iconic heritage textile crafts of India.

  • Handmade for the 21st Century: Safeguarding Traditional Indian Textile lists the histories and legends behind the textiles, describes the complicated and secret processes behind their making, mentions the causes for their dwindling popularity, and provides strategies for their preservation.
  • According to UNESCO, one of the major challenges to the safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage in the South Asia is lack of proper inventory and documentation. The publication aims to bridge this gap.
  • The publication also includes recommendations for the protection and revitalization of these textile crafts, that cover the broad-spectrum of issues extending from policy to grass-root based micro-interventions.

Some of the iconic handcrafted textiles documented

  • Khes from Panipat
    • These were woven in a double-cloth weave with cotton yarn in a chequered design.
    • The Khes was thick enough to be used more popularly as a bedding material, but also additionally as a shawl or a wrap.
  • Chamba Rumal from Himachal Pradesh
    • An embroidered handicraft that was once promoted under the patronage of the former rulers of the Chamba kingdom.
    • It is a common item of present during marriages with detailed patterns in bright colour schemes.
    • This product has been registered for protection under the Geographical indication of the Trade Related Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) agreement
  • Thigma or wool tie and dye from Ladakh
    • A resist tie-dye technique on wool – Thigma is similar to the technique of Bandhani.
    • Crafted mainly in Nubra Valley, Ladakh the term Thigma is a derived from the word “thitoo‟ or dot.
    • The cloth is pinched, without any tools and the part to be resisted is tied tightly with thread.
  • Awadh Jamdani from Varanasi
    • A cotton brocade characterised by floral patterns, jamdani is a light and translucent fabric.
  • Bandha tie and dye from Sambalpur in Odisha
    • A resist dyeing technique and a kind of ikat
    • Geographically tagged
    • It is made through a process of tie-dying the warp and weft threads to create the design on the loom prior to weaving.
    • Every colour used in the fabric reflects a symbolic concept of the Jagannath cult. These colours are said to denote the past, present, and future, to the Vedas and the Gods Garad-Koirial from West Bengal
  • Ilkal and Lambadi or Banjara embroidery from Karnataka
    • The Lambani embroidery is an amalgam of pattern darning, mirror work, cross stitch, and overlaid and quilting stitches with borders of “Kangura” patchwork appliqué, done on loosely woven dark blue or red handloom base fabric.
  • Sikalnayakanpet Kalamkari from Thanjavur
    • Thanjavur kalamkari features figurative drawings distinguished by black outlines and intricate borders.
    • Owing to its figurative motifs, it is also known as chithira paddam (chithira refers to “picture” and one of the meanings of paddam is “trace”).
    • Thanjavur kalamkari was first patronised by Sevappa Nayak, the first Nayaka ruler of Thanjavur.
  • Toda embroidery and Sungadi from Tamil Nadu
    • The Toda Embroidery, also locally known as “Pukhoor”, is an art work among the Toda pastoral people of Nilgiris, in Tamil Nadu, made exclusively by their women.
    • The embroidery, which has a fine finish, appears like a woven cloth but is made with the use of red and black threads with a white cotton cloth background.
    • The embroidery is usually made on their cloaks called “Pootkhuly” which is draped by both women and men.
  • Himroo from Maharashtra
    • Himroo is a fabric produced in Aurangabad from locally grown silk and cotton.
    • Himroo is a replica of Kum-Khwab, which was made for the royal families in ancient times from strands of gold and silver.
  • Kunbi weaves from Goa
    • A type of dyed sari.
    • It is a chequered saree prominently dyed in red and its variants.
  • Mashru weaves and Patola from Gujarat
    • Mashroo is a woven textile craft form with a purpose stemming from religion.
    • ‘Mashroo’ meaning ‘permitted’ in Arabic lends credibility to the textile since wearing pure silk was prohibited. The Mashroo method made it a fabric ‘permitted by the sacred law of Islam’.

Lists by UNESCO

  1. The Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity – Includes cultural practices and expressions that assist to highlight the variety of this heritage and raise awareness of its significance.
  2. The List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding – Is made up of cultural aspects that concerned groups and countries consider vulnerable and in need of immediate protection.

UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage

  • Aim: Ensuring the better protection of important intangible cultural heritages worldwide and creating awareness of their significance.
  • This list has been classified into five broad domains in which intangible cultural heritage is manifested:
    • Oral traditions and expressions, including language as a vehicle of the intangible cultural heritage
    • Performing arts
    • Social practices, rituals and festive events
    • Knowledge and practices concerning nature and the universe
    • Traditional craftsmanship

MUST READ: Textile in India

Source: The Hindu

Previous Year Question

Q.1) Consider the following pairs:

Crafts                                            Heritage of

  1. Puthukkuli shawls           Tamil Nadu
  2. Sujni embroidery             Maharashtra
  3. Uppada Jamdani saris    Karnataka

Which of the pairs given above is /are correct?   (2018)

  1. 1 only
  2. 1 and 2
  3. 3 only
  4. 2 and 3


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