Yearly Archives: 2013

The Unassuming Indian Dhurrie

Dhurrie Weaver using Vertical Loom

Most Indians have dhurries at home – they are the default choice of floor covering readily available across the country in every size and colour possible. For this reason, other than making the distinction between a Shyam Ahuja dhurrie (these were very stylish and very expensive when I was young) and all others, I never really paid much attention to them. That is, until I saw some flat weaves in Morocco and it struck me that we make more interesting and high quality ones back home.

India has a rich tradition of floor decorations. Done to invoke blessings for the home using simple rice paste, and at times flower petals and bright colours, these have become an art form in their own right. There are regional differences such as Alpana in West Bengal, Mandana in Rajasthan, Muggu (or Muggulu) in Andhra Pradesh.

Equally interesting is the variety of floor covering …

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Is a Hand-tufted Rug for Me?

Jaipur Rugs Tufting Centre in Mirzapur

Hand-tufted rugs are a new phenomenon, as compared to the hand-knotted carpets and dhurries we are more accustomed to seeing. A hand-tufted carpet is woven by inserting and pulling back strands of wool into a mesh canvas that is stretched on a frame – think wool tapestry in needlework class! The weaving is done using a manually operated tufting gun. When the ‘tufting’ is complete, the rug is washed and cut (if it is a cut-pile rug) and a woven canvas backing applied to the back with latex glue to hold the tufts in place (i.e. no knotting).

Tufted rugs are gaining in popularity. They require much less skill from the weaver (typically one week of training is sufficient) and so are easier, faster and, importantly therefore, cheaper to make. The cost can be 2-4 times lower than the equivalent hand-knotted rug and this has fuelled a frenzy of supply …

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Jaipur Rugs: A Remarkable Social Enterprise

NK Chaudhary

The Jaipur Rugs story began in 1978 in a village called Churu in rural Rajasthan. After graduating from college, Mr Nand Kishore Chaudhary decided not to work with his father in his shoe business and instead took a loan of Rs.5,000/- to set up two looms in his backyard. He worked shoulder to shoulder with nine artisans, selling to exporters in Jaipur. From this humble beginning, JAIPUR has grown to over 40,000 artisans across 600 villages selling its branded high quality rugs in over 35 countries.

When you meet Mr Chaudhary you are immediately struck by his humbleness. Even more so when you begin to understand his remarkable vision and ability to implement it. Carpet weaving is an old craft in India and carpets have been exported for centuries. For all of that time weaving has been male centric and somewhat exploitative in nature. For Jaipur to adopt a social enterprise model …

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Win a Carpet!

Tibetan Style Carpet - Deep Rust

Buy anything at Arastan between now and the end of our fantastic Jaipur Rugs sale and you could win this wonderful carpet! Hand-knotted in Tibetan style with New Zealand wool and art silk accents for a particularly luscious feel, it is a convenient 3’6” x 5’6” that will fit in any home.

Any purchase either online at www.arastan.com or in our Nandi Durga Road, Bangalore store from now until 21 December 2013 will get you an entry into the draw for this carpet. Buy again during the promotional period and you will get one more card entered into the pool, so you have many chances to win. We will contact the winner before Christmas to give them the good news!

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Jaipur Rugs Sale at Arastan

Ivy Green & Brick Red Hand-knotted Carpet

We are pleased to announce that we are hosting an exhibition of new handmade rugs, in brilliant transitional and contemporary styles, from Jaipur Rugs Company. The collection will include hand knotted carpets, dhurries and hand tufted rugs designed by Jaipur’s in-house design team and through partnerships with renowned designers including Jenny Jones, Chayse Dacoda and Raymond Waites. Beautiful carpets – made from high quality New Zealand wool, silk, art silk, cotton, jute and hemp – available at never to be repeated prices!

Also on show will be select pieces from Jaipur’s Weavers Collection. The concept behind the collection is to have no pre-set design, no design map – just the imagination and colour choices of the best weavers from Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh. Each rug took more than 6 months to be created and is unique, not only because it bears the name of the weaver, but also because it …

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Arastan Exhibition @No10 – Bubbly, Brunch and Shop!

@no10

Come and see how this beautiful sprawling home in central Bangalore is transformed by a wide selection of products from Arastan and other complementary brands.

This Friday and Saturday, Arastan will be exhibiting some of our fine carpets and kilims, unique furniture and art and décor items alongside a great collection of clothes from Anu & Susan at Astara, fun and colourful kids clothing from Maya Loka, bags by Natashas, quilts from Keepsake Quilts, brilliant jewellery from Simla’s Jewels, nostalgic images from aPaulogy Gallery and more!

@No10 10 Magrath Road Bangalore 560025

Friday 25 and Saturday 26 October 2013 10:30-18:30

Tel: 99000 26956

Oh, and if you’re still not sure whether to come, maybe the fact that there will be bubbly and brunch on offer as well could be the last tempter you need…

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Flea by Night at Likethatonly

Flea by Night - Likethatonly

Arastan is coming to Whitefield this Sunday! We’ll be exhibiting at Flea by Night at Likethatonly restaurant from 6pm.

We’ll be bringing along lots of fine silver jewellery (including much that is not available in the Arastan store online!) and other handmade items that make great Diwali gifts. Not much room for carpets we’re afraid, but if there is anything specific from the complete Arastan collection that you would like to see and feel in person then let us know and we’ll bring it along for you.

view larger map

As well as us there will be some other great exhibitors showcasing clothes, bags, footwear, trinkets and home accessories. You can also get yourself a foot massage, Tarot reading, or just stick to the cocktails and bar snacks! Visit the Flea by Night Facebook event page for further details.

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Chyrpy: An Embroidered History of Turkmenistan

Tekke woman wearing a traditional chyrpy

That is exactly what a chyrpy from Turkmenistan is: a beautiful garment (a woman’s mantle) that embodies the fascinating culture of the tribal peoples of this ancient and mystic land.

Turkmenistan: at the crossroads of civilisation

Predominantly desert, Turkmenistan is one of the five former Soviet republics in Central Asia and is bordered by Afghanistan, Iran, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and the Caspian Sea. In the south, Merv was once one of the great cities of Islam, rivalling Damascus, Cairo and Baghdad, and today its spectacular ruins are one of three World Heritage sites in present-day Turkmenistan – the others being the ancient capital Konye-Urgench and Nisa, one of the first capitals of the Parthians.

The Turkmen people originated from the Mongolian Oghuz tribe and have a turbulent history. Feared throughout much of the region for their pillaging horseback raids on trade caravans of the historical Silk Road, they were known for taking slaves to be sold at markets in Khiva, Samarkand or …

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Hand-crafted Ceramic Art and Pottery by Pratima Vaidya

"Precious" Ceramic Art Wall Tile

“We create hand-crafted ceramic art for contemporary interiors,” says Pratima Vaidya of her pottery studio, Ishalgad Ceramics & Pottery, nestled in the lush green hills of the Western Ghats, 65-odd kilometres from Mumbai. “We do studio pottery, a concept where the products are hand-made and produced in small quantities.”

The concept has worked well for Pratima—in essence, it is responsible for the steady success of Pratima Vaidya’s exclusive collection of ceramics. As a sculptor, painter, and ceramist, she has acquired a well-deserved reputation for producing finely hand-crafted and exclusive ceramic art and pottery for the urban, contemporary interiors of today’s homes and offices. Now, in keeping with our dedication to presenting carefully curated selections, Arastan is proud to showcase a limited-edition line of products by Pratima.

A creative journey that began 30 years ago

In 1973, Pratima earned a Fine Arts diploma from the Sir J. J. School of Arts, Mumbai, …

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Pomegranate: Icon of the Silk Road

A pomegranate trinket on my desk

It was my ten-year-old daughter who first alerted me to the iconographic importance of the pomegranate. At Istanbul’s Grand Bazaar she pointed out the myriad trinkets—ashtrays, paper weights, ampules, candles, vases, key chains, pendants—in the shape of pomegranates. (She really wanted a ceramic pomegranate for her window sill, and I obliged her.) I wondered why the pomegranate was so favoured by souvenir makers, whereas there was no trace of any object in the shape of, say, a pear or a raspberry.

I also recalled that last year, when I travelled to Armenia on behalf of Arastan, I had found that in this tiny country locked away in the Caucasus, the pomegranate is a much-loved, ubiquitous symbol that augurs fertility, abundance, and prosperity. It was everywhere, from friezes carved in medieval khachkars, to tabletop ornaments, to cheap fridge magnets sold at the airport.

Without trying very hard I began to notice the …

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  • Welcome to Arastan

    Arastan was an online store that curated rare and handpicked treasures from exotic bazaars along the ancient silk route. Unfortunately we ceased trading in early 2014.

    You can read about the reasons for closure.

    You can still browse some of the products we used to have via the category links above, although none of these are available for purchase.

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