Colourful, vivid with hues that range from bright to subtle the textiles of Nepal are as varied as the land itself.
In the high Himalayas thick fabrics that keep out the cold are brightly and loosely woven. In the middle hills gentler shades manifest themselves with finer weaves. In the lowland abutting India, combating the heat are fine, brilliant reds. greens, blues……..
From wool to Dhaka from pashimna to cotton, the textiles of Nepal reflect climate, ethnic groups and tastes. Even the weaving changes from place, height and race to race.
Caroline Sengupta and Marina Shrestha capture Nepal’s colorful fabrics exploring how they are made and where. Techniques are shown and secrets revealed and the artisans who create what the county of Nepal wears, are introduced to you behind their looms creating timeless designs.
A story is told about a village women who was escorted from a remote place in Nepal by her husband’s colleagues to Delhi where the husband was going to received (war) medals.
When they come to fetch her she decided that the clothes she wore were not good enough and she and to have the best ones in the village. These were brought for her and the walk began. When the party reached the nearest roadhead there were clothes from nearby towns and she insisted upon getting a set.
And so it went
As the lady got nearer to civilization she went further and further away from her untouched ethnic beauty. By the time she reached Delhi, she desired to wear the Western outfits of the memsahibs and their narrow high –heeled shoes. Her husband refused to let her attend the ceremony.
Today, roads and small aircraft connect all of Nepal. Television tells Nepals what to wear and how to live; and the victim of improved communications is tradition.
All but gone are the textiles of yesterday and where they remain they are mainly displayed on festive occasions on are seen in areas so remote as to e untouched by the outside world.
Hope comes in the from f revivals of old techniques ironically brought by the demand of the West who sees the charm in long gone things.
So whereas the wool on the roof of the world has some times got acrylic in it, the designs still remain unchanged. In the middle hills and the plains too, traditions persist despite the all pervasiveness of western attire.
In Nepal as elsewhere, textiles are not an end themselves, they are created so people can wear them.
One of the most touching sights in Nepal is a western clad person who at festival time sheds her acquired apparel for ethnic cloths. And momentarily the world outside Nepal is totally forgotten.
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