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Threads of connection: South Asian textiles in British collections

Lectures by Richard Blurton, British Museum; Tony Eccles, RAMM

Above all else, prolonged commercial and eventually political connection between Britain and India began with trade in high value South Asian textiles. Indian-made silk and cotton cloth of high artistic and commercial value began to find its way into European markets from the seventeenth century, especially through the activities of the East India Company. A result of that history was the creation of significant personal and institutional collections of South Asian textiles, which have many tales to tell.

Event details

In this two-part lecture, Richard Blurton of the British Museum and Tony Eccles of the Royal Albert Memorial Museum, Exeter, will describe significant textiles and associated artefacts from their South Asian collections.

Richard Blurton will talk about the gorgeous 17th-century “Vrindavani Vastra” which is not just an example of intricately woven silk cloth displaying images of Hindu gods, but also a religious artefact, with many stories enfolded in its threads.

Tony Eccles will speak about a choga, or nobleman’s jacket/robe, which was probably seized by a British military officer during or after the violent mutiny of the East India Company’s soldiers in 1857 and prolonged civil rebellion. The talk will also describe other textile and non-textile South Asian artefacts in the RAMM’s collection, and the stories that may be told of them.

The lectures will describe significant textiles and associated artefacts from South Asia.

Vrindavani Vastra, an artefact from the British Museum


Institute of Arabic and Islamic Studies, LT 1