"Woven Wonders: Indian Textiles from the Parpia Collection" to Showcase at MFAH This Summer

Style Magazine Newswire | 6/15/2023, 12:58 p.m.
An exquisite display of 80 textiles, spanning from the 14th to the early 20th century, will grace the Museum of …

An exquisite display of 80 textiles, spanning from the 14th to the early 20th century, will grace the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (MFAH) from June 10 to September 4, 2023. This remarkable exhibition, curated from the private collection of Banoo and Jeevak Parpia, presents a captivating glimpse into the preeminence of Indian textile arts developed over a span of 600 years.

Gary Tinterow, Director of MFAH and Margaret Alkek Williams Chair, expressed the institution's longstanding dedication to Indian arts, stating, "Banoo and Jeevak Parpia have generously shared their profound insight and expertise with our programs and our collection of Indian textiles. Through this exhibition, featuring their exceptional collection, we aim to deepen our representation of Houston's South Asian community's rich cultural heritage while exploring the captivating history of one of India's most treasured art forms."

Amy Poster, Consulting Curator at MFAH and co-curator of the exhibition, highlighted the comprehensive and expertly collected nature of the Parpia Collection, stating, "Rarely do we encounter Indian textile collections of such magnitude and breadth. The Parpia Collection, assembled to showcase a diverse range of regional traditions, features many extraordinary pieces that exemplify the aesthetic and technical diversity of Indian textiles, from folk weavings to sophisticated court textiles."

India has long been celebrated as a pioneer in fine cotton and silk textiles, fostering some of the world's most innovative textile traditions. The collection showcases a wide array of techniques, including painting, block printing, ikat, tie-dye, brocade, tapestry, and embroidery, thereby reflecting the diverse regional textile production within India. The rich ornamentation and designs mirror the varied social and cultural contexts for which these textiles were created, encompassing Hindu devotional practices, Islamic court textiles, and domestic use.

Moreover, the exhibition delves into the historical patterns and dynamics of 500 years of thriving maritime trade that facilitated the distribution of Indian textiles to Southeast Asia, Europe, and Japan. Initially driven by Arab, Persian, and Indian merchants, this trade later came under the control of Portuguese, Dutch, and British traders who exchanged Indian textiles for spices in Southeast Asia and expanded the market for Indian chintz and embroideries across Asia and Europe. Reflecting this evolving demand, early textiles showcased in the exhibition, crafted for trade with Indonesia during the 14th to 16th centuries, were highly valued and preserved as cherished heirlooms. Subsequent textiles created for specific markets in Thailand, Sri Lanka, and Europe demonstrate how designers and artisans tailored fabrics to cater to foreign tastes. The exhibition also presents luxury textiles commissioned by royal patrons between the 17th and 19th centuries, showcasing the finest weaving, dyeing, and embroidery designs executed with unparalleled sophistication.

The organization and funding for "Woven Wonders: Indian Textiles from the Parpia Collection" is made possible through collaboration between the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, and co-curators Amy Poster, Consulting Curator at MFAH, and Rosemary Crill, former Senior Curator at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London.

Lead Underwriters:

• The Sushila and Dr. Durga D. Agrawal Family

Generous Support Provided By:

• Sesh and Prabha Bala

• Milton D. Rosenau, Jr. and Dr. Ellen R. Gritz

• Chitra Kumar and Kumar Bashyam

• Paul and Manmeet Likhari

• Nidhika and Pershant Mehta

• Drs. Kumara and Usha Peddamatham

Special exhibition programming is made possible by The Medha and Shashank Karve Endowment Fund.

For more information, visit MFAH.org.