Few tapestries or wall hangings evoke such reactions of delight as the Beaded Sari Indian tapestry. Created by rural women folk in western and northwest India, these wall hangings are created through a selection of harmonious vintage textile patches that are arranged in a random or an ordered fashion. What results is a stunning piece of art with embellished textile patches bound together in a common theme.
While usual selection criteria such as size, shape and colors, apply to the beaded Indian tapestries too, there are a few subtle nuances that can be easily overlooked. These can make the difference between "great" and "spectacular". The purpose of this guide is to discuss factors that are over and beyond size, shape and color of the wall hanging.
a) Orientation of the pattern: Most Indian beaded tapestries have vintage textile patches arranged in a seemingly random fashion. For this reason, these tapestries are also known as "Crazy" sari tapestries or wall hangings. Most artisans however create every tapestry around a set of beaded necklines. These neckline patches are extensively beaded and stand out. In most cases, these necklines are from vintage beaded dresses. While hanging the beaded Indian tapestry, the orientation of these patches come into play and should be experimented with.
b) Weight of the tapestry: For a given size, the weight of the tapestry is a great indicator of the extent of mirror work, bead work and faux pearl ("moti") work A 60"x40" Indian beaded tapestry can range from under 3 lbs to over 6 lbs. Heavier tapestries are made using the best and most extensively beaded patches and are more expensive. Two wall hangings of similar size in the following pictures vastly differ in the quality of bead, mirror and faux pearl work on the patches. The wall hanging on the right weighs close to 8.2 lbs while the one of the left weighs 4.5 lbs.
c) Bead work material: Bead material could be plastic, glass, shells, metal (usually brass or copper) or wood. Wood bead wall hangings are usually the most expensive of the lot for a given size. Wood gives an extremely rustic, subdued and antique look to the tapestry - such tapestries are excellent for coordinating with vintage wood furniture in homes or work areas. Another material that enhances the vintage look of the Indian wall hangings is "Zari" (silk brocade). The zari thread is drawn from metals and turns steel gray or dark gray due to oxidization over time. In the following pictures, a 3" Zari border runs along the edges of the beaded tapestries. Gold and silver color beads lend plenty of glitter while white and light pink color beads and faux pearls create enough sparkle.
d) Light source orientation: Since most beads and sequins are great reflectors of light, a beaded tapestry can look very different when viewed from two different angles. In the following pictures, the same tapestry is viewed from two different positions in the room. Notice the glitter in the second picture that is largely missing in the first. The light source in both cases is a window on the right side of the picture. Beaded tapestry position in a room can be frequently dictated by the position of natural and artificial light sources in the room.
At Exotica Gallerie India, we bring you a wide range of Indian beaded tapestries and wall hangings that vary in size, color and extensiveness of bead work and mirror work. Each of these is handcrafted by artisans in India and are a source of seductive visual treat.