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From Kashmir, with creativity

Carpets and kilims, furniture and artefacts comprise the exhibition-cum-sale organised to mark the opening of Alison's on Kasturi Rangan Road in the city. On till July 28.


FOR CONNOISSEURS of kilims and carpets, the exhibition-cum-sale, organised to mark the opening of "Alison's", is like entering into an Aladdin's cave of woven treasures! Or into a medieval tent strewn with silk and woollen carpets and exquisite kilims, with woven saddle bags and "jawal" adorning the walls. Welcome to the world of genuine Persian Bokharas, Kashans, Hamdaans, Kums and Nains, many of which are rare and ancient pieces, as well as Kashmiri silk and woollen carpets that celebrate Persian motifs and formats. Alison's kilim and carpet collection, put together by Ghulam Mohammed Meer and his son Saymee, traditional carpet makers from Kashmir, is among the best in the city, and offers glimpses of craft excellence and rare beauty that have defined the art of hand knotted and woven carpet making from the first known fifth Century B.C. Pazyryk carpet to the superb Kashmiri carpet of today.

Many masterpieces dot the exhibition such as an old Persian Hamdaan, with enormous shaded pink roses scattered on an ink blue background, and a newly-woven Persian art carpet featuring a near Impressionistic painting. The Persian carpets, both old and new, are breathtaking, as are the kilims from places as far off as Turkmenistan, Baluchistan, Afghanistan, Persia and Russia.

Kilims are non-pile woven rugs, which have a rough textured feel and are often embroidered with distinctive tribal motifs. Among the pick of the kilims is a Caucasian piece, resplendent with geometric tribal motifs. There are Iranian blaze cut kilims with bright blue and red motifs, a spectacular striped yellow, black and beige one from Bokhara, embroidered Baluch rugs as well as jawals.

The Kashmiri carpet section has superb examples of Kum, Tabriz, Hamdaan, Bokhara, and Kashan varieties, with birds and animals frolicking among flowers and foliage. The Tree of Life imagery is often seen on silk and cotton. Apart from being carpet and rug collectors, Ghulam Mohammed Meer and Saymee are adept at restoring damaged Persian and Kashmiri carpets. They also undertake reproduction of rare designs in carpets and rugs at the family carpet-making unit in Srinagar.


For the cotton lover, Alison's exhibition has a choice of fascinating cloth carpets as well. These lovely creations feature a profusion of embroidered roses, flowers, foliage and birds of bright plumage, all worked in chain stitch. Not to be missed are exquisitely hand crafted papier mache artefacts created by National Award winner, Fayaz Ahmad.

Carved Indonesian furniture pieces, which combine Dutch solidity with the delicate craftwork of Indonesia form part of the display. A three-piece sofa, with inlay work and typical slatting, is particularly eye-catching, while well-crafted chairs could make for interesting accent pieces.

Fascinating painted wooden artefacts from the Far East are also available. Alison's inaugural Sale of Kilims, Carpets, Rugs and Handcrafted Furniture concludes on July 28. Alison's is situated at 10/50, Kasturi Rangan Road, Alwarpet, ph: 52030302.

PUSHPA CHARI

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