Dating Dhurries Back In Time
Flat-weave rugs are called dhurries in India. They have been woven for centuries, perhaps more than a millenium. Dhurrie was primarily a utilitarian textile, being used for purposes such as covering a wooden bed, or seating people on a bare floor, or as a prayer mat. The design of the dhurrie was simple, and typically featured stripes. It was always made of cotton, and was woven in households.
In the 16th century, Mughal kings brought carpet and it's weavers from Persia to India. Unlike a dhurrie, it was a decorative textile which had a pile, and was made of wool and silk. The design of a carpet influenced the dhurrie design, which the Indian artisans readily adopted and internalized. Indian motifs like lotus and peacock were added to the design portfolio. To cater to demands from Europe, pictorial and floral designs were woven in the dhurrie. During colonial rule in India, the British found a novel use of dhurrie by getting the prisoners to weave dhurries in Indian jails. To this day, the best vintage dhurries are the ones made in a jail.
The Rajasthan Maharajas were enamored by the Persian kilims, a flat-weave rug admired for its geometrical patterns and earthy hues . Made of wool, these kilims were unsuitable for the hot weather in Rajasthan. The local artisans were asked to make decorative cotton dhurries, a first in India. Unlike kilims, the Rajasthan cotton dhurries were made in bright colours, and used local motifs.
Natural traders, the British encouraged Indian artisans to make wool dhurries, primarily for export to the UK. After independence, the patronage of Maharajas diminished in Rajasthan and the British owners of wool dhurrie workshops left India. Since then, dhurries have made a comeback as a chic rug in the world of home textiles.
|Artisan working with Kalavilasa
| Hatwa Village
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