Page 20 - Science India August 2022
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Swatantrata ka Amrut Mahotsava
puram, Tribhuvanam, Arni, Tiruppark- kadal, Virinchipuram, Woraiyur, Tiru- pati, Kalahasti, Gugai, Salem, Sulur, Venkatagiri, Dharmavaram, Kumba- konam, Thanjavur and Vridhachalam speak of the glory of ancient Indian textiles.
Image Courtesy: gandhimemorialcenter
The growth of Indian textiles con-
tinued in the Gupta and Vardhan reigns.
largest industry during the Mughal re- The revered poet Kalidas and Chinese
gime with a huge European market. The traveller Hiuen Tsang have given vivid
muslin produced at Dacca (present-day accounts of the artistry and finesse of
Dhaka, in Bangladesh) reached its pin- Indian textiles.
nacle and was considered the best by the rulers and the nobility.
During the rule of the Rashtrakutas The medieval period witnessed the Per-
(6th-10th centuries), Gujarat became a sian influence in the technique, motif
major production centre for cotton and and technology used in making textiles
silk, zari work, brocade and embroi- and fabrics in India. Court patronage
dery. The development and enhance- led to increased production and trade
ment of advanced weaving techniques of textiles. Skill of weavers reached the
took place; these included pato- next level during medieval times. Amir
la, kinkhab and tanchoi, which were Khusro once described Indian muslin as:
assimilated from China. Later, the de- ‘A hundred yards of it can pass the eye of
mand for other craft fabrication, like a needle, so fine is its texture, and yet the
textile printing, also rose, especially point of the needle can pierce through it
among the Europeans. White calicos with difficulty. It is so transparent and
were being exported to Persia, Arabia, Poland, Turkey, and Cairo.
light that it looks as if one is in no dress
at all but has only smeared the body
In southern India, the Vijayanagara with pure water.’
empire (1336-1646 AD) saw a time of dramatic increase in the scale of tex- The textile industry became the
During the Pala rule (c. 750-1161
Cotton Green mills, c. 1910, in front of the Taj Mahal Hotel, Colaba, Bombay
Image Courtesy: Public Domain
Above: Mahatma Gandhi on the spinning wheel weaving Khadi (place unknown); Left: A young Indian woman spinning silk in the 1880s
The textile industry became the largest industry during the Mughal regime with a huge European market
tile production to meet the demands of both external trade and an expanding elite within the empire. The organisa- tion of textile production grew in scale and complexity. A new group of ‘mas- ter weavers’ emerged who controlled large numbers of looms and acted as merchants in the distribution of their products. By the late 15th century, in- dividuals owned as many as 100 looms.

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