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PASSAGE TO INDIA: London’s Victoria & Albert Museum is putting Indian textiles under the spotlight with an exhibition that opens Saturday, part of the museum’s extensive 2015 India Festival.

The Fabric of India showcases more than 200 decorative and functional handmade objects, ranging from third-century textile fragments to contemporary clothing by designers Manish Arora, Sabyasachi Mukherjee and Rajesh Pratap.

Using illustrated maps and archival footage, curators Divia Patel and Rosemary Crill guide their audience through a history of traditional manufacturing processes. They outline the cultural, religious and royal aspects of the textiles and their use by contemporary designers.

“In Britain, a lot of people know something about Indian textiles, they’ve probably got some. Everyone has a tie-dye scarf or a pashmina shawl, so I think people are aware of Indian textiles,” said Crill.

“What we really want to do is expand their awareness and (know) that bandanna handkerchiefs or the paisley motif came from India.”

The museum also highlights the ongoing sustainability of the country’s raw material production and textile manufacturing.

“We’re talking about hand skills and we also show that they survive in India in a very contemporary way. It’s not just a quaint, old-fashioned thing but it’s something that has been taken up by contemporary designers both in terms of the hand making and weaving but also the use of natural dyes and fewer chemicals,” said Crill.

The exhibition runs from Oct. 3 to Jan. 10.

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