O.k.  So technically, these aren’t embroideries.  But they are still textiles.

Among the various indulgent purchases we made on our Agra-Delhi vacation was this Kashmiri rug, bought after much hard bargaining from a traditional Smiling Rug Merchant:


The bargaining is part of the theater. I don’t believe for a minute the merchant’s protestations that we were taking bread out of the mouths of his children (their graduation photos from US universities were behind his desk), but the play of price, offer, counter offer, reticence and commitment must be played out for any large purchase.  It’s like high school dating, but for merchandise.

This piece is a runner, for use in the long hall outside our library.  It’s an heirloom quality, all-wool warp hand knotted rug, with long, luxuriant fringes, and dyed with traditional vegetable colors.  It’s hard to say how such muted reds and tumerics glow, but they do.  We’ll probably leave it out for a couple of days to admire, then roll it back up in its muslin bag to await shipment home with the rest of the household goods, come June.

The next day we bought some woven pieces at Dilli Haat as gifts and souvenirs.


The small woven bags and coasters are cotton and straw.  The four larger hobo-style soft tote bags are cotton with inset hand-woven bands. If my notes are correct, these are  backstrap-loom produced pieces from Nagaland, near Assam.

[UPDATE]  I’ve done some research on the  small  woven straw clutches.  I didn’t write down the region of origin when I bought them, but I’ve now pegged them to the c0astal region of Orissa.  They are made of sabai grass and cotton, and are part of an economic initiative that assists families in flood-ravaged areas reclaim economic self-sufficiency.

These smaller items we did not bargain for, other than putting together a group and asking for a price for the larger purchase, rather than toting up each item individually.  All were quite reasonably priced, and sold as they were by the village or guild co-ops, we were happy to provide fair recompense directly to the crafting artisans themselves.

I’m not done yet.  There are more pix of textiles to come.  And if you want to see the larger sights of our trip, the husband has posted an excellent two-parter on our trip to the Taj Mahal.

2 responses

  1. The rug destined to be a runner will, indeed, look wonderful on your hardwood floor. I look forward, someday, to your describing, blow by blow, the bargaining process!


    1. Fernando’s in charge of rug bargaining. I’m too soft.

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