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India has a history of a spectacular textile art, which can be traced back 5000 years. From the earliest records, it was evident that European, Asian and Middle Eastern civilizations looked to India for her rich textiles. Indian textiles were treasured not only by courtiers and royalty in India, but in markets spanning the globe, from south east Asia to Europe.

The TAPI Collection consists of textiles of historic value, comprising court textiles used by the Mughal and provincial rulers, trade textiles of the 15-19th centuries, produced for export markets, regional embroideries, tie dyed textiles and religious textiles. The collection represents the Indian sensibilities expressed in a very wide spectrum of textile techniques.

The strength of the collection as it currently stands can be broadly divided into :

In terms of technique, the collection can be segregated into:

  • The wovens - jamdanis, balucharis, brocades, Mughal velvets
  • Tie and Dye technique which includes the ikats, patolas, and telia rumals, all of which have the threads resist-dyed before weaving, and the bandhani technique which involves tying the fabric and dyeing.
  • The chintz have block prints from Sanganer, kalamkaris and the Trade Cloths both to the eastern and western markets.
  • Embroidery section has textiles and garments from the Deccan, Gujarat, Kashmir, Punjab, Lucknow, kantha from Bengal and Bihar, zari work from Benaras (today's Varanasi), Surat, Lucknow and the south, and the distinctive Parsee gara.
  • The pigment section includes the pichwais, cloth paintings, Jain scrolls, pata chitras, and tinsel work.

Modern day traditional textiles are also on the list of collection priorities. Traditional textiles or innovative modern creations of today of exemplary and unique quality are being continuously added to the collection.