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Behind the Scenes in Conservation: Hey Gorgeous!

by Obie Linn, Associate Conservator of Textiles


CAMConservation , textile conservation , embroidery , indian textiles

This week, grab a sneak peek at “coming attractions” with this Indian floor spread! She’ll be the “star of the show” in our Anu and Shekhar Gallery of South Asian Art when installed at the end of June. First, though, this diva is making a stop in textile conservation to get ready for her closeup: I am resecuring short sections of the metal braid and fringed trim by stitching with super-fine thread called Skala© and a thin, curved needle (which you can just barely see in my hand in the photo!)

All this color comes from dense embroidery using silk floss (a shiny, lightly spun yarn) which was sewn by Indian artisans mostly with satin stitch to produce smooth, dense colors. Some embroidery has been lost at the corners, and you can see the cotton base fabric underneath, otherwise completely hidden by the surface embroidery.  Nonetheless, she’s in pretty good shape for her … ahem … seniority. A lady never tells her age, but we guess this flashy showstopper dates between 1750 and 1800. Come see her debut at the Cincinnati Art Museum later this summer!