India contains multitudes.
Fresh after its 75th birthday, how do we celebrate a country that has emerged from several empires that expressed a widely different range of cultures, arts, and their motifs?
We cannot celebrate just one centre to the meaning of “India.” It is home to more than a billion people speaking more than a thousand dialects, each community with their own unique concepts of creativity. Instead, we should celebrate India’s many artistic plot points, each within its various histories.
Our 76th year can be a year to celebrate the diversity within the borders of nation and home. It can be a year when we celebrate the industriousness of the Indian spirit, supporting our many artists, weavers, and rug-knotters as a part of 'Atmanirbhar Bharat,' a system of self-reliance of Indians, by Indians, and for Indians.
In this post, we recommend 5 hand-knotted rugs that have unquestionably Indian themes.
Mumbai is known as the capital of finance and film in India, a port city steeped in centuries of trade. Accustomed to foreign patrons of the arts and commerce, it has assimilated several aspects of the visiting cultures, resulting in a unique blend of Indian and international styles.
One of the other notable aspects of its environment is the Art Deco architecture at its southern tip, marked by the Colonial and Indo-Saracenic design of its original educational and administrative institutions. Several of these Art Deco buildings are cinema houses and residential apartments.
‘Regal’ is a rug whose lines, motifs, and colours are derived from the famous 89-year-old cinema house of the same name at Colaba Causeway. It depicts glassed and fluted elements of its interiors, and the multi-paned rectangular windows of its exteriors. The hues are light golden, mild yellow, and blue, giving a sensation of the breezy and sunny areas near the Arabian Sea.
India’s suburban and rural sprawl is interspersed with thousands of bazaars and warrens and local markets, specializing in textile works of various origins. Given the diversity of styles, guilds, and art forms in the country, you often find “patchwork rugs” in these havens of tradition and thrift, integrating a pastiche of yarn and colour.
This phenomenon is represented in the ‘Art Musings’ collection, which keeps the sensation of that diversity alive. ‘Donna’ is typical patchwork, with a large number of horizontal weaves and a small section of vertical ones. It lends a delightful serendipity to your spaces, while reminding everyone of the distinct Indian rurality. The composition is unmistakably Indian in its revelation of the spirit of jugaad, a philosophy of thrifty sensibility that pervades most of the socioeconomic landscape of this nation.
Another strong addition to the Indian theme comes from Sari Exotica, a collection of hand-knotted rugs with designs inspired from traditional Indian saris. The ‘Monarch’ rug is a unique compilation of floral and foliate forms of maroon, yellow, red, and green —against a black background.
The forms resemble the monarch butterfly’s kaleidoscopic wings, written in forms that are fundamentally pastoral and life-affirming.
4) Park Royale
Kashmiri rugs were heavily influenced by the Central Asian and Middle Eastern rug-making traditions of clearly demarcated borders, fields, and medallions, albeit with a strong tendency to naturalistic themes. The beautiful, mountain-locked state has a special connection with nature, and the Kashmiri rug-makers preferred floral and foliate motifs to satisfy their naturalistic flourish.
The ‘Park Royale’ area rug is naturalistic: of a field with a rich, carmine background on which are scattered foliate and floral forms of gold. The white-backed borders engulf a continuation of those naturalistic gold forms. There is no medallion, which simplifies the composition, making it easier to pair on hearth and at home.
Make in India
As the nation moves into the 4th quarter of the century since its Independence, the time might be ripe for us to remind our friends and neighbours of initiatives such as ‘Make in India’, encouraging industry to manufacture and distribute products from within the country itself. Cocoon Fine Rugs believes in this process wholeheartedly, having supported indigenous rug-making arts for decades, and distributing them to the urban hubs of the country.
Should homeowners want to practise Indian pride, they can make a trip to the nearest rugs store in Mumbai, Bangalore, Kolkata, and Jaipur. Whenever you feel like you can make a difference by financially supporting the country’s many rug-making artisans, think of starting your search at one of the rug distributors that support the cottage industry right to its grassroots’ level.
Cocoon Fine Rugs is one such example!