The exhibition of dhurries and carpets is a tribute to India’s weaving traditions.

From Sufi poetry-inspired Persian kashan to rough-hewn dhurries, created by Gujjar nomads and other rural artisans, are displayed at the ‘Signature Carpet and Dhurrie Exhibition,’ which is a tribute to these weaving traditions of Kashmir and the other regions of Northern India.

Although the hand-knotted carpet-making craft came to the Valley in the 15th century under Badshah Zain-ul- Abadeen’s rule and was inspired by the Persian carpet tradition, the dhurrie probably has an older history, going back to the many ancient weaving centres of the country.

Today as the classic Kashmiri carpet becomes more expensive, many artisans have switched to dhurrie-making in silk, cotton, wool and jute, drawing inspiration from their inherited design sense as well as modern outputs to create classic, contemporary and even edgy dhurries.

The dhurries at the exhibition celebrate minimalistic geometric formats, fields of stylised flowers and birds, stripes, squares, wavy lines and triangles in a colour palette veering from engaging pastels to strong earthy colours and bright jewel tones.

But first, the three signature carpets. The lyrically named ‘Kashane Musnavi’ is a 10’x13’ Persian masterpiece that translates Sufi saint Maulana Rumi’s book of poems called ‘Masnavi’ into imagery on the carpet. Beautifully delineated flowers strewn in profusion over a red background bordered with black ‘bail’, is a celebration of both creator and inspiration. Another 10’x13’ kashan has curving chrysanthemums against a rich blue background and a medallion in the centre. While the third is a sensational black piece, dramatic with exquisitely woven white floral sprays. Also on view are red sickle leaf Kashmiri carpets, which is a reproduction of a 380 year old carpet auctioned at Sothebys for an astronomical price a few years ago.

The dhurries from Baramulla in Kashmir, Mirzapur and Jaipur tell extraordinary stories - traditional, contemporary and exotic in the language and processes of ‘panjah’, ‘sozni’, ‘kilim’ and ‘shuttle’ techniques.

Stunning piece

Yusuf from Srinagar, a carpet and dhurrie artisan, holds up a stunning panjah dhurrie in tones of burnt orange interspersed with woven beige stripes. He says, “The panjah is this wooden hand-like contraption with knife-like projections for fingers at the end. When the weft thread sits on the warp at the end of its downward journey, we slam it down with the panjah.” The panjah dhurries are traditionally made by Gujjar tribals, and include a range of dhurries in black and white stripes, silver grey checks and in symphonies of blue, green, mauve, and vibrant earth colours. The kilim-like dhurries come in jute-wool and cotton wool combinations, while the textured Sozni dhurries in silk, cotton-silk and wool have their own charm. The dhurrie repertoire is about rough hewn textures, contemporary-classic look and geometric configurations.

The ‘Signature Carpet and Dhurrie Exhibition’ is on at Tulsi’s Arteriors, No. 6, 4TH Street, Rutland Gate, till February 20. ( Ph :9791190718).