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Details about  50s HAND-WOVEN Banares Chiffon Silk OPERA STOLE Brocade w/ Gold Scarf_Odani

50s HAND-WOVEN Banares Chiffon Silk OPERA STOLE Brocade w/ Gold Scarf_Odani See original listing
50s-HAND-WOVEN-Banares-Chiffon-Silk-OPERA-STOLE-Brocade-w-Gold-Scarf-Odani
Item Sold
Item condition:
Used
Ended:
Feb 26, 2013 17:21:40 PST
Price:
US $33.00
Shipping:
$6.75 Expedited Shipping | See details
Item location:
Valley Center, Kansas, United States

Description

eBay item number:
250897035046
Seller assumes all responsibility for this listing.
Last updated on  Dec 01, 2011 10:25:25 PST  View all revisions

Item specifics

Condition:
Used: An item that has been used previously. See the seller’s listing for full details and description of ... Read moreabout the condition
 

Providence Valley Farm

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I attended the estate auction of a widow of an oil-executive who traveled the world exploring for oil beginning in the forties and fifties in Africa and the far east.  She traveled extensively with him to many exotic and even dangerous locations during and after WWII, and collected beautiful textiles in every location.  Most of these were kept in an airtight, cedar closet, wrapped well to protect the pieces.  I have acquired a large amount of these museum quality textiles.  These were all originally purchased in the 1940’s and ‘50’s, and some of them were vintage at that time, so I’m guessing they are antiques now.  Tonight will be the beginning of the listings that will include hand-woven silks-scarves, sarees and sarongs, embroidered pashmina scarves, Nepalese, Javanese, African, Central American, Japanese, Fulani , and Indonesian Fabrics; including double Ikats, hand stamped and hand painted batiks, and brocades from Benares.  It is an amazing collection, and if you like beautiful, luxury items, please be sure to check back in the next few weeks and months.  It will take a while to run out, I bought dozens of pieces and I’m still researching them.  I am trying to document every item with research at local libraries and Universities, and by consulting with an older (92 years young) textile collector and weaver who has traveled the world collecting similar pieces.  I will do my best to answer your questions as soon as I can, but please ask early to give me time to find out what you need to know, or go to your local museums and libraries and check them out yourself, it’s a wonderful hobby to get started, but it is addictive. 


IRIDESCENT SILK SCARF WITH TIGERS, PEACOCKS AND ELEPHANTS.

 

This auction is for a vintage iridescent, silk, brocaded, hand-woven Indian Odhani (?) I give you what provenance I know in the details below.  This scarf was very difficult to photograph, because each thread in the warp and weft is iridescent, changing from teal green to brilliant rose red with the slightest move or light change.  It is very much like the feathers of a peacock’s tail, and just as beautiful.  The densest portion of the pallu measures 2” on each end, and features peacocks facing each other, and elephants back to back.  These are surrounded by curvilinear vines and flowers.  There is a gold border (patta ?) along the length of each side, and three very narrow stripes on the bottom of the pallu.  The tigers or lions covering the body of the scarf, as well as the border, are probably naksha executed by naksha bandhas in Banaras India (in the early years following India’s independence), in workshops encouraged by Ghandi himself.  This scarf is the only one of the three that I am selling that has the Made in Banaras label.  This scarf has quite a bit of flaking, some areas are about ¼ inch each, and one section has several long areas.  I don’t believe this item should be used without some attempts at preservation.  (See below for more information.)


The last photo in this, the one with the "PURE SILK" at the beginning of the label is from the red scarf listed in another part of the store, I've just added it for more info.


I have three similar silk chiffon scarves from Benares, India (now called Varanasi); they were all originally purchased between 1950 & 1955.  I will attempt to document them all together here, following the individual description of each one in its own listing.  They each will sell separately.  I believe these are all thread jacquards (jala), based on my research, and the labels and workmanship on the pieces themselves.  The pieces all measure 22 inches by 70 inches, I’m not sure if this length makes them long enough to be called an odhani or not.  (An odhani is a long scarf worn by women over a skirt or a half saree.)  They are three distinct colors -iridescent, royal purple, and cherry red- and I think that all of them were probably woven in the same “shop”, because the patterns (nakshas) are the same, implying the same person or family probably tied them for the weavers.   The chiffon scarves are so fine that they only weigh 1.4 ounces each, and that weight includes their protective plastic bags!  The craftsmanship is absolutely amazing.  All the scarves are finished with hand rolled ends, or edges, depending on the pattern.

Unfortunately, Britain’s import/export laws, combined with unfair taxing practices forced many gifted weavers in India out of business, and many actually died from poverty and starvation, before India achieved her independence.  Some historians actually credit this tragedy with having a large impact on the Indian’s desire and struggle for independence. (Doesn’t that taxation/rebellion scenario sound vaguely familiar?)  Ghandi encouraged the Indian people to only wear fabrics woven in India, as a sign of their national support.  The government, through the All Indian Handicrafts Board, started encouraging artisans to begin their trade again shortly after they achieved their freedom in 1947.  I know that the original owner was in India over 50 years ago  (according to her son), so I’m assuming she was there shortly after 1947, and that these may be some of the first pieces woven in the new, state supported, textile businesses.  From my research, the practice of hand-weaving the intricate and delicate types of traditionally styled textiles has struggled to survive since that time.  According to one article about gold brocaded tanchoi, the government tried to revive the art “again” in 1969, but in spite of at least three attempts to revive the craft, only one loom was still in operation in 1989.

  As I stated in my other listings, the past owner traveled the world with her husband, and I believe he combined business with pleasure as he did oil exploration.  Anyone who knows if and when India looked into these oil reserves of wealth can probably date these textiles more closely than this five year range. 

          The scarves are all 22” by 70”, and they each have a distinct brocade pattern on them.  Based on their age I am guessing that these were worked by families of naksha bandhas of Banaras.  The naksha bandha is a gifted weaver who weaves the jala or thread jacquard in a particular style or pattern, called a naksha. This is interspersed with the kheva threads.  Simply described, Naksha tying is a very intricate method of tying the warp threads to lift them up so the weaver can get his bobbin of gold thread around the warp threads to make the brocade pattern or picture.  (Get the bookHandwoven Fabrics of India” Ed. By Jasleen Dhamija and Jyotindra Jain for a wonderful description on many of the textiles I’m selling, and see pages 47-51 to read more about “Naksha Bandhas of Banaras”by Papul Jaykar- a reprint of an article from the Journal of India Textile History of the Calico Museum of Textiles, Ahmedagad.  In some parts of this book the gold brocade is called kim khab or kinkhab and the actual threads used in Banares to make the thread jacquard are kheva or nathai depending on their position and use in the piece. The individual motifs on the body of the scarves themselves are discontinuous, meaning that the gold threads don’t travel across the un-worked areas, so the scarf becomes reversible, although the pattern does look clearer on one side than the other.  The threads are not cut, but “fold” back on themselves.  This locks the brocade in place, so the pattern won’t come unraveled with use.  I believe that with more access to articles and books on the revival of the textile industry in India, and the fact that most naksha bandhas come from families in the region who keep records of their nakshas and how they tie them, you may be able to trace these pieces to the exact weaver or weaving family in Varanasi today. 

On pages 129, 130 and 131 of the above mentioned text, you can see the exact shades and patterns, nakshas, which are in these scarves and shawls.  I find the similarity is really amazing.  The pictures of the Vaishnav brocade  from the 19th century has the same leaves and flowers, and the contemporary Shikargah brocade has identical tigers, deer, elephants, peacocks and vines with flowers, as those on all of “my” pieces.  The rose red and purple colors pictured on these pages perfectly match my pieces as well, except for the iridescent scarf, which tells me the dye recipe is probably one that has been kept in the area for over 100 years.  I know in some regions, like India and Indonesia, the dye recipes are closely guarded secrets, so I don’t find this a coincidence at all.  I wasn’t able to get as good a color match on my photos, so if you are concerned about the colors it would be good to get a copy of this book. 

Because the mastery of a naksha bandha is seen in the manner in which he disguises the repeat, I am assuming that the simplicity of the repeating animal/paisley motif on the chiffon scarves is because these were woven by students of a naksha bandha weaving house/family; and were probably made specially for sale to the new influx of tourists, and possibly for use by the Indian people themselves, though the fineness of the silk puts them out of the price range of most Indians

These pieces I am selling are very simple brocades with scattered patterns in the body of the scarf and a band of brocade on each end, the cross border or pallu.  The simplicity allows them to be used for elegant wear, or for an additional accessory to a dressy day-time event or even to the office.  I would caution you to have them professionally preserved or cleaned before use though, they still have the raw silk scent to them and I don’t know if the dye is stable to sun & body. 

These were woven from hand-dyed and hand-spun fibers and the amount of mordant (probably tin) needed to achieve the deep colors is causing some flaking or shattering to start.  That is tiny holes where the chemical is dissolving the yarn.  A professional textile conservationist can tell you the best method to halt this problem, and if necessary repair the damage.  The holes are too small to show up on these photos, and I didn’t even notice them at first, but there are a few on each piece.  Most people will probably buy these to add to an existing textile collection, but I’m mentioning it so you won’t feel that I’m hiding any imperfections from you.  For their age, and based on what I’ve seen in the books, most textiles from the early-mid 20th century are in similar conditions.  I did have another, more experienced textile dater-collector check them out, she immediately saw the areas (I had missed them), and her first reaction was “look here where the tin is causing flaking on the purple piece”.  The original owner kept all her textiles and clothing (she wore mainly silks), stored in a professional manner; in air-tight climate controlled cedar closets, so I know insects couldn’t have gotten to them.  These scarves were probably never worn, they all still have the stiffening/starching agent present that adds strength to the fibers for weaving, and there is no fading of the colors that would result from use or washing.  Also, the “Banaras” label is a “stick” on type that would have been removed, or would have fallen off with use.  The owner was a collector of special textiles, and she seemed to almost exclusively collect wedding related pieces or those that would be associated with wealth and prestige.  Possibly this is because she was a newlywed herself and quite wealthy as well, so she could afford this indulgence. 

These scarves can all ship together, for the same price as shipping one, but I will need to add extra to raise the insured value.  I know that these vintage pieces are almost non-existent in India today, and I would love to send these home where they belong.  I feel these are for the true collector and are unique for their age and condition.  I would enjoy hearing from any collectors out there, and please check back over the next few months, I have so many pieces it will take a while to choose what I’m keeping and what I’m selling, so I won’t be listing them all at once.  I have hand-stamped kalamkari, palampores, silk sarees, as well as brocaded and embroidered wedding sarees that were never worn; they still have the tags on, as well as textiles from Java, Suva, Mali, and Guatemala and Panama.



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