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Lifestyle Fashion

Collector’s Choice

A rug from Southwest Persia featuring patterns reminiscent of the Bauhaus school of architecture, a carpet from Northwest Iran with rows of diamonds are among the eye-catching pieces showcased at the unveiling of the most recent personal collection of David Housego of textile brand Shades of India. Titled Nomad, the line rugs, gelims, horse blankets and saddlebags from across Central Asia.

The 19th- and 20th-century textiles that can be viewed by appointment at brand’s headquarters in Noida, are a result of cultural practices such as gathering wool from the nomadic tribes from the region that stretches across eastern Turkey, through the Caucasus into Iran, and across to Turkestan.

They traverse with their herds of sheep, camels and goats from lowlands in winter to the lofty mountain pastures in summer. “From this wool, they weave beautiful textiles, but the amazing part is the beauty of the design they managed to develop despite living such a hard life. Their aesthetic sense was evident in their use of colours, forms and stylised motifs featuring birds, animals, flowers and other common figures from daily life, reminiscent of many contemporary paintings. The use of reds, indigo blue, green, yellow and black derived through a lengthy process of preparing natural dyes, was common. Each of the tribes—Shasavan from North-West Iran, Qashgai from the South-West, Turkmen from the East—had their own language and distinctive style,” says the octogenarian founder.

Diversity and similarities interlace to manifest a range of patterns and approaches. The rug from Iran, for example, has a black background, and features two vertical rows of large diamonds and three smaller ones in the centre. There is a little star at the top alluding to a religious symbol.

“The Shahsavan horse blanket is a powerful piece. This would have been made for ceremonial purposes. Stylised peacocks dominate the field while other animals fill the upper and lower bands,” says Housego, whose life continues to remain entwined with textiles as his company specialises in transforming them through innovation. He now has only one wish: more museums to house these beautiful textiles.

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