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30th September 2022 (7 Topics)

UNESCO lists 50 iconic Indian Textiles


UNESCO recently released a list of 50 exclusive and iconic heritage textile crafts of the country.


  • According to UNESCO, one of the major challenges to the safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage in the South Asia is lack of proper inventory and documentation.
  • The publication, which aims to bridge this gap, brings together years of research on the 50 selected textiles.
  • Some of the textile are mentioned in the below given table



Toda embroidery and Sungadi

Tamil Nadu

Himroo weaves


Bandha tie and dye weaving

Sambalpur in Odisha


Panipat, Haryana

Chamba rumals

Himachal Pradesh

Thigma or wool tie and dye


Awadh Jamdani


Ilkal and Lambadi or Banjara embroidery


Sikalnayakanpet Kalamkari


Kunbi weaves


Mashru weaves and Patola





West Bengal

Textile in India:

  • The manufacture and use of various forms of fine textile varieties can be traced back to the Indus Valley period.
  • Due to the short life of the textiles, the only evidences are the paintings, sculptures and inscriptions if any.
  • The images in the paintings and sculptures are seen draped in fine transparent muslin. In fact, in most paintings the fineness of the cloth is stressed by highlighting only the hem and folds of the dress.
  • There are clear evidences of the variety of textiles and embroidery in the Ajanta murals and miniature paintings, temple murals.
  • The art of weaving and dyeing cotton had been well developed, but silk weaving came later. The art was practised from 1st century and by the 4th and 5th century, woven silk formed a major portion of exports.
  • Textiles were the major attraction that formed the bulk of the trade with Western and Eastern countries.
  • Roman documents mention the export of silk from India to Europe around the sixth century A.D.
  • Masulipatnam on the western coast was an important port, with traders coming in from China, Arabia and European countries like Portugal, France and England.
  • Textile trade was carried on in the North, with caravan loads of woven textiles reaching Moscow.
  • The Mughal Emperors with their flair for beauty and luxury brought in new skills which mingled with the existing art, resulting in fine artworks.

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