Contemporary Indian textile reveals a lot about the rich cultural past of India. Simplicity and variety have helped textile art from various pockets in India flourish to global acceptance.

Indian is known to be one of the oldest textile manufacturing countries of the world. The Indus valley is where it is said to have originated. Ancient literature makes detailed mention about the processes involved with textile manufacturing. Amongst these, the Rigveda provides details about the weaving processes of those times. Indian mythology also reveals a lot about textiles. The Ramayana and Mahabharata have documented the existence of fabrics in that era. The stylized clothing of the rich and aristocrats and the simple clothing of the ordinary find brief mention in the epics.

Apart from this, cotton material found in the Egyptian tombs was found to be made in Gujarat. Most of the ancient writings also talk about textile manufacturing thereby reinforcing the fact that this was indeed in existence in the past. Surplus garments were often exported to other countries. This has been clearly scripted in the historical musings of the famous vijayanagar empire (ad 1504). Textile manufacturing was referred to as an important trade of that era. One of the reasons that the textile industry picked up in India in the ancient times was because of the suitable climate, social customs and availability of raw materials required for the process.

From a trade perspective, India has had several ties with countries of the East and the West. The popularity of Indian silk helped it reach the Roman Empire in huge volumes. Research has revealed pieces of cotton garments originating from Gujarat, in the Egyptian tombs. This was found especially in the tombs at Fostat, of the 5th century A.D. At some point cotton textiles were also exported to verious regions of China. This happened primarily during the renowned times of the silk trade. Silk fabrics from south India also found a big market and preference in Indonesia. While this was happening, the European markets were not spared either.

The 'British East India Company' made a huge killing in the textile business mainly benefiting from different varieties of Indian made clothing, one of them being Dacca muslins. In this era muslins from Bengal, Orissa and Bihar also gained popularity. Muslin is a thin fabric made from cotton and usually has printed designs of flowers, etc. It has a shiny appearance. This style is still in vogue. A lot of the current designs and patterns are a continuation of that school of art and design. The motifs, designs, patterns, etc. and the old weaving techniques are still used by handloom weavers, although the textile weaving process has changed significantly with the advent of power-looms.

Indian textile has thus found a place in the global market, mainly due to its high quality. That apart the pricing is very affordable when compared to the competition.

One can find varieties to choose between Cushion covers, curtains, bed covers, linen, shoes, handmade paper, quilts, etc. And the best part is the price. These items are available at a fraction of the price one would pay in the western world. Some other aspects gaining popularity are the Bandhani and Batik printing techniques. Block printing has amazed the western buyers so much that they are exported in huge volumes. Contemporary Indian textile reveals a lot about the rich cultural past of India. Simplicity and variety have helped textile art from various pockets in India flourish to global acceptance. The historical revelation of this art has also helped in adding popularity to Indian textile art even today and will continue to popularize this art in the future as well.

About the Author:

Adam Peters is the journalist of consumer websites, who has written more articles on furniture for . A focused website that offers the best articles on tribal textiles and home decor.

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