Chamba Rumal: Life to a Dying Art

In collaboration with Delhi Crafts Council

DEC 19, 2015 - FEB 20, 2016

Special Project Space

A unique traditional art form, the Chamba Rumal is an embroidered square cloth from Chamba in the state of Himachal Pradesh. The exhibition presents recreated Chamba Rumals which are a skillful blend of miniature painting tradition and embroidery.

In the 18th and 19th Centuries, one of the important schools of miniature painting that developed was the Pahari School which heavily influenced the compositions for the embroidery on the Chamba Rumal. The subject matter of the Pahari paintings was drawn from Hindu mythology and Indian literary texts. In the words of the renowned scholar Dr. B.N. Goswamy- “visually the connection between the work of the Pahari painters and therumalsis so close…that in so many ways it can be seen as sahodara (born of the same womb)”.

Chamba Rumals are like paintings in embroidery. They were used for covering platters, as gifts for auspicious occasions and for offerings to deities. These rumalsare still used as coverings for ceremonial dishes and auspicious gifts. During weddings in Chamba, rumals continue to be exchanged between families of the bride and groom as a token of goodwill.

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The Delhi Crafts Council has taken up the challenge of reviving this near extinct art. A core collection selected rumals from various museums across the country and abroad has been recreated by artisans from Chamba.