News: Spring-cleaning India’s Most Magnificent Tent

For those of you who might have missed it, Asian textiles got into the news last month when a royal Rajasthani tent was cleaned for the first time in over three hundred years. A totally unique textile, made in imperial workshops from red silk velvet and gold, unfurled it stands four metres high – as high as a London double-decker bus. It’s known as the Lal Dera, or the Shahi Lal Dera – the Royal Red Tent, and is believed to have been the home of Shah Jahan, the Mughal emperor who built the Taj Mahal.

To read the article in full, visit the BBC website.

Events: Tales from the Road – Searching for the Vernacular Furniture of Rajasthan

Event date: Wednesday 28 June 2017, 6pm

SADACC (South Asian Decorative Arts & Crafts Collection) in Norwich has been collaborating with the Design Innovation and Craft Resource Center (DICRC), CEPT University, Ahmedabad, on the first ever survey of the vernacular furniture in Rajasthan. In this event, Ben Cartwright, Collection Curator for SADACC and Mansi Sathyanarayan, Project Team Leader, DICRC, CEPT University, will share their fieldwork experiences, their tales from the road in Rajasthan.

The fieldwork team have travelled to villages, towns and cities in a state that is over two and a half times the size of England. They have been invited into the homes of Rajasthani royalty and Adivasi farmers alike, walked through fields and deserts, and met with carpenters, potters and local mudwork makers. Wherever they have gone, they have been invited across the threshold to look at pieces of vernacular furniture and to chat about the lifestyles they enable – a study of vernacular furniture is very much a study of the people who use it. Every object contains the story of a craftsman, an individual or family, the community and the landscape.

Rajasthan, the state of kings, deserts, painted havelis and walled cities is famous for its textiles, music, landscape and architecture. But it is also home to an incredible variety of traditional furniture. There are public benches that have given their name to the debates village elders hold on them, chests with elaborate locking mechanisms shrouded in secrecy and handed down by the head of the house at the point of death, intricately painted pieces from palace collections through to the crude wooden mattress stands and mudwork grain stores found in poor rural homes.

It has been the job of the fieldwork team to try and discover these stories. Next week, they will be sharing their experiences – what it was like to stay with royalty in Shekhawati or visit the outlands close to Banswara. Join us for a behind the scenes introduction to the Vernacular Furniture of N.W. India project.

Entry is free and refreshments will be provided.

To find out more about SADACC, visit their website.

Please RSVP by Friday 23 June to info@sadacc.co.uk, or phone 01603 663890.