Tag Archives: ikats

Spotlight: Central Asia – Arastan returns to Mumbai

Tibetan Carpet

After the great welcome we received in Mumbai earlier this year, we are back with a new treasure chest of handpicked décor items from Central Asia. We will be exhibiting at ARTISANS’, Kala Ghoda from 20th to 22nd September between 11 am and 7 pm. Highlights include vintage carpets from East Turkestan (now the Xinjiang Uyghur Region of China) and Tibet, thangkas and jewellery from Nepal, miniatures and ikat from Uzbekistan and limited edition furniture incorporating striking Central Asian fabrics created especially for us by designer Pragati Toshniwal.

Rugs from the oasis city of Khotan (now Hotan) are particular favourites of Nishas. Khotan lies on a branch of the Silk Route that headed south from Kashgar to skirt the Taklamakan Desert. This remote region of western China, ringed by mountains and desert, vaunts a millennial tradition of tribal carpet weaving. Wool-on-cotton Khotan rugs are characterised by a blend of Persian and Chinese motifs, a testament to …

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Next Stop Burma (Myanmar)

Beautiful Uzbek Ikat

We are a bit like Aladdin’s Cave at the moment – Uzbek ikat, an eclectic mix of Indian tribal and ethnic silver jewellery (very different to the Rajasthani pendants) and Ajanta ceramic tiles have all arrived in the last two days.

I have wanted to travel to Burma/Myanmar for as long as I can remember and it is hard to believe I will be there in a couple of weeks. Unfortunately too much going on to add Southern China so that may have to wait. Alternatively, I could do a quick reconnaissance to tempt all those who may want to visit.  The Chinese ethnic tribes produce the most gorgeous craft as those of you who bought the batik and embroidered baby carrier pieces from us well know. How can I resist?!

Oh and yes, some great press coverage for Arastan and lots of responses to the Content Writer post we are looking to fill. …

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Fergana Valley: Ceramic, Ikat and Shavla

Rustam Usmanov and his wife

I travelled to Rishtan to see the ceramists who did the platters for me last year. It was bitterly cold and Rustam and his wife were very gracious, kept us warm (don’t miss their gorgeous home slippers!) and well fed while we worked on my order. The shavla – porridge version of plov – we had for lunch was delicious and Zahid and I tucked in. We couldn’t say no when Alisher invited us to lunch later so had to eat again! Tough job this!! I am amazed by how much time and effort Rustam and Alisher make for me. They are world renowned ceramists who earn very well doing exhibitions in the US, Europe and Japan and my orders pale in comparison.

The discussion at lunch moved to the size of the Indian market and the buying power of the middle class, all quite surprising to them and Alisher in …

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Day 4: In Margilon – the land of Ikats!

Women at work on their looms

Margilon (formerly known as Margilan) is the heart of the silk industry on the Silk Route. We made it to the town bright and early to see the entire process of weaving and to visit renowned weavers. While the town still maintains traditional methods of rearing, spinning, dyeing and hand weaving, mechanised looms have also emerged. As most of the fabric is exported out of the country, there is a growing emphasis on the revival of traditional patterns and use of only natural dyes.

We moved from a factory to a medressa and saw a lot of women involved in weaving ikats – and they were happy. They listened to upbeat Uzbek music on their tiny recorders, took their tea breaks and even played with their kids while they wove complex, intricate patterns.

As no-one was expecting “tourists” in the freezing winter, stock was all tucked away in storage. So Nisha pulled …

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