Practised from Guatemala to Okinawa, ikat is a heritage craft of incredible diversity. We travelled to Koyyalagudem in the Pochampally district of South India, an area that has been practicing this master craft for hundreds of years. Staying in the home of Srinath, our master ikat weaver who taught us the intricate ropes of ikat. Witnessing how every household is part and parcel of a wider cultural and economic ecosystem, we were moved to tell the story of its making and excited about exploring its many forms worldwide.
PRINT STORIES: 5 MOTIFS FROM CITIES ALONG THE SILK ROAD
In this edition we explore 5 motifs indigenous to 5 cities along this trade route: Bukhara | Uzbekistan, Leh | India, Byzantium | Istanbul, Hamadan | Persia and Dunhuang | China. Each of the prints carry a motif taken from archives of rugs and tapestries in that area.
The Indus Arrow print is an unwavering hunter’s symbol of courage and heroism. Inspired by Leh, the highland capital of the Himalayan kingdom which was an important confluence of trade routes in the Indus Valley, it is used often to signify bravery and fearlessness in the face of uncertainty.
The eyes are the window to the soul. Testament to that truth, this print is an age old powerful talisman used for the protection of good fortune and loved ones against the evil glance of others.A protective motif that has been translated widely across many Mediterranean and Asian cultures, it was widespread practice for explorers to carry charms or weaves of this motif especially on long voyages.
In nomadic tradition, standing with arms akimbo is the warrior’s way to face the world. Also known as elibelinde or hands-on-hips, the Akimbo print is a goddess-inspired motif first seen in an unearthed statuette over 5000 years ago. Evolved in various forms all over Anatolia, this pared down version is at once modern and nostalgic, representing life, birth, and the reminiscence of a child.
Composed entirely of straight lines, the simple elegance of this print derives from its namesake Cave 17, also known as the Library Cave.Discovered in 1900 after being walled up since the 11th century, it is part of a complex of 492 temples in the cultural crossroads of Dunhuang. Cave 17 is a treasure trove of ancient manuscripts now dispersed all over the world, including the earliest dated printed book, the Diamond Sutra.
Strong, symmetrical and significant, the modern day Raka print symbolises a comb and also the hand, one of the oldest and most powerful patterns for protection and good luck. This is especially the case for life’s significant milestones, partnership and birth. Traditionally known by the name tarak, the name Raka also means one unit of prayer in the Islamic tradition.