Dovecot Studios, Edinburgh
Heirlooms: Indian and Indonesian textile exchanges
Heirlooms celebrates the rich heritage of Indian and Javanese textile traditions and their continuing influence on innovative contemporary craft practice.
The project is the first to feature historic Asian textiles at the Dovecot, and consists of two separate, but related, exhibitions. The exhibition in the North Gallery focuses on the historic links between India and Java, whilst the exhibition in the South Gallery focuses on new work by three Scottish textile artists who have been inspired by the Indian textile traditions they have encountered during visits to India.
The historical exhibition, in the North Gallery, explores the centuries-long trade and interaction between Indian textile and Javanese batik designs. The focus of this aspect of Heirlooms is a selection of Indian trade cloths and Javanese batiks from the extensive private collection of Jonathan Hope. Fine historic textiles spanning the range of Javanese batik epitomise the exquisite control and mastery of the tjanting [wax pen] and the complex natural dyeing processes associated with this ancient wax resist technique, synonymous with Java. The textiles also embody the history of influence of India, one of the most sophisticated textile producing centres in the world. Select Indian cloths involved in the trade with Indonesia demonstrate that the influence was indeed two-way; Indian cloths were created to suit the tastes of the important Southeast Asian markets, whilst locally produced Javanese cloths were influenced by prestigious imports from India.