UNESCO Has Documented 50 Heritage Textile Crafts From India

Himroo weaves to Toda embroidery, here's a look at some of the crafts that made it to the list of heritage crafts in India listed by UNESCO
Safeguarding intangible cultural heritage is difficult due to a lack of proper inventories and documentation
Safeguarding intangible cultural heritage is difficult due to a lack of proper inventories and documentation

India's textile traditions have a significant social and cultural footprint on communities, many of which even have their identities tied up with the textiles they weave. Each region in the country has its own textile tradition which is unique. This living legacy has been passed down through generations, and includes the vocabulary and knowledge used to describe both the style and the end result.

In order to raise awareness about this intangible heritage, UNESCO released a publication that documents 50 iconic and exclusive heritage textile crafts of India.

Among the 50 are the following Toda embroidery and Sungadi from Tamil Nadu, Himroo weaves from Hyderabad, Bandha tie and dye weaving from Sambalpur in Odisha, Khes from Panipat, Ilkal embroidery from Karnataka, Lambadi or Banjara embroidery from Thanjavur, Kunbi weaves from Goa, Mashru weaves from Gujarat, Patola from Gujarat, Himroo from Maharashtra, and Garad-Koirial from West Bengal.

According to UNESCO, one of the major challenges to safeguarding intangible cultural heritage in South Asia is the lack of proper inventory and documentation. With Handmade for the 21st Century Safeguarding Traditional Indian Textiles, UNESCO hopes to bridge the gap in documentation. The book also looks at the reasons for the dwindling popularity of the textile traditions. Apart from highlighting these&nbspendangered textile crafts, the publication also recommends ways&nbspto revitalise them - from policy to grassroots micro-interventions.

&ldquoTextile crafts represent a very significant share of the Indian cultural heritage and have dazzled the world for centuries. Despite the pressures of industrial mass production and competition from new countries, it is essential that these iconic heritage crafts are taken stock of and promoted as contemporary treasures," says&nbspUNESCO New Delhi Director, Eric Falt. &ldquoIt is my hope that India will consider expanding its register of elements inscribed in the UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by nominating one of the textile crafts featured in this publication. No textile practices from India have been included in the list so far and an inscription in the list would be due recognition of the talent and diversity of the country&rsquos extraordinary weaving traditions."

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