Carpet Stories

Posted on 22/12/2015 By

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A unique exhibition of rare tribal carpets from various weaving regions outside India; mysterious stories expressed through rustic weaves and magical tribal icons.

Two weeks from now, the capital city will witness its potentially first-ever exhibition of rare tribal carpets from Persia (Iran), Anatolia (Turkey), the Caucasus (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Dagestan), Central Asia (Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan) and various Kurdish enclaves at Main Gallery, India International Centre, New Delhi from December 18-28.

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Aptly titled Carpet Stories, this exhibition comes from the private collection of Danny Mehra, a passionate collector who prefers to see himself as an “accidental” collector and attributes his 20+ years of madness to an “honest mid-life crisis.”  Explaining this, he muses: “…at the age at which most middle aged men buy a red sports car to make them feel younger, I started to buy old carpets as my cure for aging…!”

Danny’s collection includes tribal carpets dating from the mid-19thto mid-20thcentury and includes works by many ethnic groups including the Qashqai, Luri, Bakhtiari, Khamseh, Afshar, Shahsavan, Turkic, Baluch, Turkmen, Christians and Kurds. 

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What makes this collection so special is the fact that every tribal carpet is a visual story, full of icons and expressions. Flowers.  Plants. Birds. Animals. Human figures. Mythical objects. Shamanistic symbols. You will find many things that will put a smile on your face through an art form that you may not have explored before!

Danny and his wife Renuka currently live in Bangalore. Dwelling on his obsessive attraction to rare tribal weavings, he states pithily:  “The single common theme that runs through each carpet reflects my search for “perfect imperfection”; I  look for visually striking features that set each of my carpets apart from those made for purely commercial purposes…”

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“Danny Mehra’s ‘Carpet Stories’ exhibition at the India International Centre is an excellent tribute to the rich weaving traditions of prominent tribal groups from various regions outside India.  Danny’s collection includes material that is rarely encountered in India and covers many exceptional examples of weavings from a century ago that are both culturally relevant and visually stunning!” says Jasleen Dhamija, veteran Indian textile art historian, crafts expert and former UN advisor

“Danny Mehra’s collection of tribal weaves is a unique exhibition…it is based on textiles very different from the sophisticated floor covers woven in Iran and Kashmir for royalty and the nobility, which may be more familiar to an Indian audience.  The ethnic groups wove these generally for their own use rather than to serve the ends of commerce,” says Lotika Varadarajan, well known author and ethno-historian, Tagore Fellow, National Museum, Delhi

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