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Threads of Cotton, Threads of Brass: Arts of Eastern India and Bangladesh from the Kramrisch Collection

July 7, 1998–June 13, 1999

Art in the Indian subcontinent was and is by no means limited to temples and palaces. Objects created for domestic use and for use in the rural village setting are often of great beauty and aesthetic power. This exhibition will explore the art and ritual of the varied spheres of life domestic, village, and temple through works made in the regions of eastern India and neighboring Bangladesh.

A range of objects created for domestic and village use are displayed, including votive sculptures and ritual implements of metal (many using the "wax/resin-thread" technique); quilted and embroidered textiles (kanthas); and painted narrative scrolls. Most date from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. These objects are supplemented by a small selection of terra cotta and stone sculpture from temples, to explore the interrelationship of the public and private spheres in ritual life. The works in the exhibition come from the collection of the eminent scholar and former Philadelphia Museum of Art curator Dr. Stella Kramrisch (1896–1993), and many form part of her bequest to the Museum. The majority were collected during the years between 1922 and 1950, when she lived and taught in Calcutta. Most have not been exhibited in thirty years or are exhibited here for the first time.

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Dilys Blum • Curator of Costumes and Textiles
Pika Ghosh • Staff Lecturer
Darielle Mason • Stella Kramrisch Curator of Indian and Himalayan Art

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