Indian Textiles



Indian textiles are world famous. They are renowned for their superior quality, beautiful patterns and their sheer variety.

Geography and climate are a determining factor in the type and quality of natural fiber available. India is a vast country that encompasses diverse conditions, and its textile weavers are engaged in producing numerous kinds of fabric – both pure and blended.

In the hilly regions of North and North-east India, wool is the ubiquitous raw material available, and woolen Indian textiles from Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and the north-eastern states are known for their durability and comfort. Everyone has heard of pashmina and shahtoosh shawls.

In the south of India and in the coastal regions, where the weather is hot and humid, Indian textiles made of cotton are preferred. It is remarkable that there are 23 types of cotton found in India and there are 4 million handlooms that produce cotton fabric.

Khadi is a kind of cotton textile that is woven by hand. It uses handspun yarn. It is largely carried out in rural areas.

India is also famous for her silk textiles. Silk is woven in several parts of the country. Some important centers are Mysore, Assam, Banaras, Murshidabad, Surat, Kanchipuram, Paithan. Often, silk is woven with fine gold and silver thread. This exquisite work is called zari .

The mulberry silk of Assam is produced from mulberry silk worms, and is yellowish-brown in color.

Himroo and mushroo are Indian textiles that are a blend of cotton and silk. Himroo has a double weave of cotton and silk, and is very expensive. It is characterized by Persian designs. Mushroo is woven such that the cotton yarn is on the inside of the fabric, and the silk-satin is on the outside. Both these Indian fabrics are famous of the state of Maharashtra.

Brocades are fabrics woven of silk and gold strands. They are produced in various parts of the country.

The naqsshaband brocade fabric of Varanasi in India is a beautiful specimen of this type of Indian fabric.

Jamewar is a brocade woven of wool, cotton and silk.

The brocade of Aashaval in Gujarat is characterized by a certain inlay technique in which 4-5 colored silk threads are woven with gold thread. The popular designs are those of peacocks, parrots, lions, doves, trees and flowers. This textile has rich colors.

The Paithanai of Paithan, Maharashtra is a royal fabric. It takes months to weave. Parrots and flowers are the popular motifs.

Tanchoi was brought to India from China, by the Choi brothers. This Indian textile combines both Indian and Chinese styles. It is distinguished by its subtle colors and light drape.

Kanjeevaram silks have been woven for 400 years. They are vibrantly colored. Vertical and horizontal lines and checks are the most common patterns.

Baluchar in West Bengal produces the Baluchari fabric, which is characterized by motifs of animals, figures and vegetation that are outlined in white.

Gadhwal from the Deccan is a blend of silk and cotton. Gadhwal saris have intricate patterns and a border of contrasting colors.

Ikat Patola from Gujarat, Orissa and Andhra Pradesh is an Indian textile that is woven of dyed yarn. In single ikat, either the warp or the weft is dyed, and in double ikat, both are dyed. This colored yarn produces interesting patterns.

Bhagalpur from Bihar, Chanderi from the south of India and Maheshwari from Madhya Pradesh are also Indian textiles that are combinations of silk and cotton. Chanderi is made of super fine silk, and has a tissue-like appearance.

Indian textiles are also decorated with beautiful embroidery ( crewel embroidery from Kashmir, and Chikan from Lucknow are very famous), printing ( block printing of Andhra Pradesh, Rajasthan, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh is well-known), tie-dye work and appliqué (the Phulkari work of Punjab is an exquisite form of this art, as is the Kutchhi of Gujarat), among others.

Gone are the days of large cumbersome furniture that was ornate and elaborate. Modern furniture is minimalist, yet elegant; understated, yet attractive. The no-fuss modern furniture designs are what appeal to an increasingly large section of today's interior decorators.

Contemporary furniture emphasizes the marriage of comfort and style. As opposed to most traditional furniture that concentrates mainly on looks, furniture today is designed keeping several factors in mind: the shape of the human body, health issues, decreasing floor space, the need for storage space, comfort, in addition to aesthetic appeal. Modern furniture, then, is compact furniture; it is safe furniture that is stylish while being practical.

Such elegant lifestyle furniture includes chairs that are designed to match the curves of the human body, without compromising on health issues. They have backs that provide adequate support, and may have armrests and leg rests that are comfortable and flexible. There are added features such as levers to adjust height, recline the back etc. Indeed, one of the distinguishing features of a lot of contemporary furniture is that it is not rigid.

In design, though simple, modern furniture often has elaborate mechanical features. The need to optimize on space has led to the creation of collapsible furniture. This also lends the added advantage of portability. Portable collapsible tables, chairs, beds and other furniture items are convenient, practical and space efficient. This leads to another observation: for furniture to be easily transportable, it must be light. Portable furniture is then, lightweight furniture. Another way of making maximum use of space is to combine furniture items. It is not surprising then, that, modern furniture includes classroom chairs with an attached desk, trundle beds, sofa-cum-beds, bedside tables that double up as self-defense weapons, and other items. To improve portability, modern home décor furniture often has wheels and rollers. In most contemporary homes, a bed with wheels, or a table or chair with wheels, or even a cabinet with wheels is not an uncommon sight.

Modern furniture designers have experimented with various materials, shapes, colors and designs. Modern Indian furniture may be made of iron (wrought iron furniture is a very popular choice), metal, wood , cane, plastic, leather (link to article: Leather Furniture ), glass.

Home furnishing stores in India have a very large variety of both traditional as well as modern Indian furniture. A unique feature of contemporary Indian furniture is that it exudes the glory of the traditional designs of furniture from India , but in a subdued and more practical manner that is a characteristic of furniture today. The Indian furniture stores sell items of

  • Modern drawing room furniture
  • Contemporary dining room furniture
  • Modern bedroom furniture
  • Modern bathroom furniture
  • Modern outdoor furniture
  • Modern kitchen furniture

Under these heads, these modern furniture stores in India sell modern tables, contemporary chairs, beds, mattresses like the water bed mattress, swings, stools, dressers, mirrors, divans and other items.
Today, online contemporary furniture stores have also become very popular.

Handicrafts Trade
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