In an era dominated by fashionable ready-made garments, a family in Goa meticulously preserved a 130-year-old saree symbolising the traditional embroidery art once prevalent in the state, which is on display at the state museum here.
The Munj family, hailing from Margao town, owns this maroon-colour saree, which was worn by family member Mathurabai Mahadeo Munj in 1880.
“This is an antique piece of hand embroidery which was an integral part of lifestyle then,” Director of Goa State Museum, Radha Bhave, said.
The government-run museum, as part of Museum Week, has collected such embroidered artefacts from across the state and put them on display at its gallery here.
The nine-yard saree reminds visitors about the rich clothing tradition Goa had, and which is now lost in the flood of ready-made outfits.
The Munj family seems to have passed on the art to the next generation as a 1945-made hand-embroidered saree belonging to Manorama, daughter-in-law of Mathurabai, is also on display.
Another family in the state matches the fascination of the Munjs for embroidery. The Shastris, living in the remote taluka of Canacona, are in possession of a 110-year-old saree.
The 1900-made ‘Chandrakala’ saree of Savitribai Raya Prabhu Shastri adorns the museum gallery.
Catholic families too had a penchant for embroidery. A 59-year-old embroidered table cloth of Ivette Pereira and a wedding cushion cover from 1968 belonging to the Furtado family are also attracting visitors at the exhibition.
Museum Director Bhave said the exhibition’s theme was conceived with an aim to make people aware about Goa’s rich embroidery culture.
“We have lost this art to the influx of ready-made garments. But there are many households who have still preserved it as a remembrance,” she said.
Ahead of the exhibition, the museum issued an advertisement in the local media inviting people to share their embroidery artefacts.
“Initially we were apprehensive but we got an overwhelming response. We received around 60 pieces of antique value, of which only 30 could be put on display due to space crunch,” Mr. Bhave said.
The exhibition also showcases modern embroidery works.
“Former Miss Gomantak Amita Talaulikar has given us her collection weaved in 1974,” a museum staff said.
The collection of cloth items has impressed local as well as foreign visitors.
“What a fine creativity through embroidery on display!” a tourist from Denmark, Clara Hojte has written in the visitors’ book.