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Updated: September 5, 2009 11:10 IST

Accent on classic purity

PUSHPA CHARI
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Vibrant hues: A Kashmiri hand knotted carpet.
The Hindu Vibrant hues: A Kashmiri hand knotted carpet.

The splendidly mellow exquisite beauty of Kashmiri hand knotted carpets and period rosewood furniture classicism meet in an exhibition currently on at the Silk Route. Accessories to match come in the shape of the odd copper samovar-like vase, horse heads painted in harmonious colours, antique Kashmiri silver candle stands, vases and jewel boxes and marble bric-a-brac.

Exquisitely knotted Kashmiri carpets and rosewood furniture are on view at Silk Route till September 15.

The splendidly mellow exquisite beauty of Kashmiri hand knotted carpets and period rosewood furniture classicism meet in an exhibition currently on at the Silk Route. Accessories to match come in the shape of the odd copper samovar-like vase, horse heads painted in harmonious colours, antique Kashmiri silver candle stands, vases and jewel boxes and marble bric-a-brac.

Reproductions of Persia’s Qum, Bokhara, Nain, Artebil carpets lend a rich glow to the hall as do the valley’s 600-year tradition of the poetic ‘Tree of Life’ symbolism in carpets, royal hunting scenes, fields of flowers, frolicking deer, etc. The accent is on classic purity be it a fine Artebil woven in the magically muted and dark shades of brown, a classic maroon and black Bokhara with its impeccable medallions and geometrics or a red, black and off-white carpet which is a mixture of Qum and Kashan. This has been woven specially for the exhibition by master craftsperson Khalid Meer of Dras in the Kashmir Valley.

The lineage

“I belong to the third generation of carpet weavers in the family,” says Khalid. “Our whole family is involved in carpet making, divided between buying cotton yarn to set the loom and as a base for the carpet, buying the silk thread and dyeing it as per the design and colours conceptualised by the naquash and set forth in a secret code or talim, the actual knotting of the carpet done under the overall supervision of the master craftsperson who reads the talim or code to the weavers under him.”

The hand knotting, which can rival in delicacy the minute machine-made carpet, consists of knotting together the silk or wool threads tied on either side of the horizontal loom. After one line is hand knotted, interlocking is done and the craftsperson proceeds to do the line on top and so on. Slowly the lovely forms and shapes begin to appear and the master craftsperson’s talim drone gets a little more vibrant, a little musical. “We used only vegetable and mineral dyes earlier,” says Khalid Meer, “but today chemical dyes too are increasingly being used, though I still make vegetable dye carpets. After the carpets are finished we tie up the fringes and wash it.”

Antique look

The well finished reproductions — Raj Colonial, Chettinad and Edwardian furniture pieces on view — have been crafted by Venkatesh, a non-paramparic wood craftsperson who was trained under well known master craftspersons.

The drawing room three piece sets in rosewood are antique both in style and look and have been suitably upholstered.

Rosewood side boards, mirror frames, coffee tables and consoles are also on display.

Not to be missed are Srinagar’s framed silver work artefacts and beautifully woven scarves in gossamer thin silk. The exhibition is on view at the Silk Route (Basement), 10-B, 14TH Avenue, Harrington Road, Chetpet, till September 15.

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