Location : Ahmedabad, Gujarat.
Constructed In : 1949 AD.
Significance : One Of The Finest Textile Museums In The World.
The museum in its present, new setting creates a charming atmosphere, with courtyards, gardens, fountains, quiet passages and evocative settings created with the textiles themselves to show how they were used: religious textiles, cloth is used in royal court etc. This introduction is very well presented and offers an insight into the genius of Indian weavers and the skills and traditions associated with the ancient art. Textiles can be broadly divided into those fabricated from cotton, wool and silk. Of these, cotton and wool appear to have been used throughout Indian history, beginning from the time of the Harappan Civilization. Indigenous silk was produced by the tribes of the north-eastern states like Assam, and of the Bihar and Orissa regions.
These tusser and muga silks are still available in natural hues of gold, and each with their own distinct textures. There is a legend that a Buddhist monk brought a mulberry tree to India from China, where silk production was a closely guarded secret. There are numerous references in literature to silk garments throughout the medieval period. On a more significant scale, silk was introduced into south India during the reign of Tipu Sultan of Mysore, in the 17th century, through his 'French connection'. Any material, including textiles, cam be studied according to the techniques involved in their production. For fabrics, the first stage is the preparation of the yarn for weaving: the twirling and twisting (spinning), which provides the initial element of texture to the cloth. Handspun yarn, like that used an khadi (handspun and handwoven cloth), lends a delightful uneven texture to the cloth. The colours and dyeing techniques for yarn used are equally important.
The best example of these is ikat, in which the yarn is tied and dyed in two, three or four colours, so that when it is woven the designs 'assemble themselves' on the fabrics. The museum has some outstanding samples of ikat from Gujarat, referred to there as patola, in which both the wrap and weft threads carry 'colour coding', to create intricate, slightly fuzzy-edged motifs of elephants, flowers and birds. This artistic techniques is still practised today in Orissa, Andhra Pradesh and Gujarat.