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Cotsen Textile Traces Study Collection and Center Hosts Virtual Cotsen Textile Traces Global Roundtable
Panel fragment, painted and resist dyed, India, c. 1770, 95.5 x 46 cm. CotsenTextile Traces Study Collection T-2021, courtesy of The George Washington University Museum and The Textile Museum. Photo by Bruce M. White Photography.



WASHINGTON,DC.- More than 200 textiles from India form a cornerstone of the Cotsen Textile Traces Study Collection at The George Washington University Museum and the Textile Museum in Washington, D.C. They testify to cross-cultural exchanges, offer a rich resource for artistic inspiration and cross-disciplinary research, and serve as the inspiration for the Center's second annual Cotsen Textile Traces Global Roundtable. On November 17, the theme is Embroidered Textiles; on November 18, Painted and Printed Textiles.

Register early to reserve your space. Registered participants will get a full program with a detailed schedule, including links for joining each day.


Kantha, embroidered textile, (detail), Bengal, India, late-19th/early 20th century, 29 x 29 cm. Cotsen Textile Traces Study Collection T-1907, courtesy of The George Washington University Museum and The Textile Museum. Photo by Bruce M. White Photography.

The Cotsen Textile Traces Study Collection represents a lifetime of collecting by business leader and philanthropist Lloyd Cotsen (1929–2017). Comprised of nearly 4,000 fragments from all over the world, the collection offers insights into human creativity from antiquity to the present. The Roundtable commemorates the donation of the collection to the George Washington University in 2018.

Some 26 international scholars, artists, and designers from around the world will discuss recent findings and explore multiple dimensions of the rich traditions, dynamics, and influences across time and cultures. Presentations will be followed by discussions with panelists.

The Roundtable will start with opening remarks from John Wetenhall, director, The George Washington University Museum and The Textile Museum. Both days of presentations, panels, and discussions with attendees will be opened by Lori Kartchner, curator of education at the museum.

Marie-Eve Celio-Scheurer, academic coordinator, Cotsen Textile Traces Study Center, will begin each day with "The Indian Textile Collection within the Cotsen Textile Traces Study Collection: A Resource for Artistic Inspiration and Cross-Disciplinary Research" in two parts. Other presenters and panelists are as follows:

November 17: Embroidered Textiles

On Wednesday, Ghiora Aharoni, artist and Cotsen Studio artist-in-residence 2021-2022, New York, and Mayank Mansingh Kaul, independent curator and writer, New Delhi, will be in a keynote conversation about "Indian Textiles: Conversing with the Transcendent."

Panel 1. Chikankari and Today’s Inspiration for Fashion
Introduction and Moderation, Shalini Sethi, creative head, Good Earth, New Delhi

The Memory of Chikankari, Paola Manfredi, independent researcher and consultant, Milan
Innovation Grounded in Heritage of Chikankari, Jaspal Kalra, social entrepreneur, design educator, executive director, Kalhath Institute, Lucknow

Panel 2. Kantha, Then and Now
Introduction and Moderation, Ruchira Ghose, former director, National Crafts Museum, New Delhi
The Kantha: From Functionality to Fine Art and Beyond, Niaz Zaman, advisor, Department of English and Modern Languages, Independent University, Bangladesh
Bengali Kantha Embroidery and the Maritime Trade in Colcha, Pika Ghosh, visiting associate professor, Haverford College, PA

Panel 3. Embroidered Traditions from Kashmir and Beyond
Introduction and Moderation, Marie-Eve Celio-Scheurer, Cotsen Textile Traces Study Center

The Kashmir Shawl: Nomadic Livelihoods, Trade and Craftsmanship, Monisha Ahmed, independent anthropologist, Mumbai, and Asaf Ali, co-founder of the Kashmir Loom Company, New Delhi, Srinagar

Reflections on Day One, Maximiliano Modesti, craft and fashion entrepreneur, Paris, Mumbai, and Attiya Ahmad associate professor of anthropology and international affairs, George Washington University, Washington, D.C.


Shawl fragment, Kashmir, India, late-18th century, 30 x 11.5 cm. Cotsen Textile Traces Study Collection T-1930, courtesy of The George Washington University Museum and The Textile Museum. Photo by Bruce M. White Photography.

November 18: Painted and Printed Textiles

On Thursday, Rosemary Crill, former senior curator, Victoria and Albert Museum, London, will present "Indian Printed and Painted Textiles: A Global Phenomenon," and then have a conversation with Ben Evans, editor, Hali Publications, London.

Panel 1. Hand Painted and Printed Textiles in India Today
Introduction and Moderation, Brigitte Singh, artist, artisan and designer, Jaipur

Exploring how Chintz was Made: From Buffalo Milk to Sheep Dung and all the Magic in-between, Renuka Reddy, artist, Red Tree Textile Studio, Bangalore

The Craftsmanship of Ajrak: Hand Block-Print and Natural-Dyed Textiles from Kutch, Sufiyan Ismail Khatri, Ajrak craftsman, Kutch, Gujarat

Panel 2. From India to the World (Asia and Africa)
Introduction and Moderation, Lee Talbot, curator, The Textile Museum Collection, The George Washington University Museum and The Textile Museum, Washington, D.C.

Indian Chintzes in the Japanese Hikone Sarasa Collection, Sae Ogasawara, professor emeritus, Japan Women's University, Tokyo

Indian Textiles and the Early Red Sea Trade, Ruth Barnes, curator, Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, CT

Traces of India in the Printed Cotton Fashions of Eastern Africa, Sarah Fee, senior curator, global fashion and textiles, Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto

Panel 3. From India to the World (Europe and America)
Introduction and Moderation, Marie-Eve Celio-Scheurer, Cotsen Textile Traces Study Center

Chinoiserie in Music and Fabrics, Helen Bieri Thomson, director, Musée national suisse, Château de Prangins, Switzerland

From Cotton Chintz to Crewel Work: Translations Across Cloths c. 1650-1700, Sylvia W. Houghteling, assistant professor, department of history of art, Bryn Mawr College, PA

The Mystery of Blue Resist, Amelia Peck, Marica F. Vilcek curator of American decorative arts and supervising curator of the Antonio Ratti Textile Center, The Metropolitan Museum, New York


Panel fragment, painted and resist dyed, India, c. 1770, 95.5 x 46 cm. CotsenTextile Traces Study Collection T-2021, courtesy of The George Washington University Museum and The Textile Museum. Photo by Bruce M. White Photography.

The program is made possible through funding from the Cotsen Textile Traces Study Collection Endowment, as well as support from Barbara Tober in honor of Dr. Young Yang Chung.

Visit cotsentextiles.gwu.edu to learn more about the collection and donation, and to view the collection online. Stay up to date on research about items in the collection, as well as Center events, on Instagram @cotsentextiles.










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