Threads of History: Resurrection of a Textile

Madhusmita Bora

2017
$60,000

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Madhusmita Bora. Photo by Anup Baruah.

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The Dancing Monks of Assam performing Kaliya Daman in Gauhati, India. Photo by Fabrice Nicos.

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Cloth of Vrindavan at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, depicting scenes from the life of Krishna and Vishnu with Assamese inscriptions. Photoby Saurav Pathak.

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The Dancing Monks of Assam performing Satraranga at the Guimet Museum, Paris. Photo by Mathias Coulange.

Dance artist Madhusmita Bora’s Threads of History: Resurrection of a Textile will bring to life the stories embedded in the “Cloth of Vrindavan.” Bora will collaborate with monk, choreographer, and scholar Bhabananda Barbayan to curate a program that draws its movement material from Sattriya, a classical Indian dance form that has a shared history with the cloth, while creating new dance vocabularies and themes. The 17th-century textile from Assam, India, held in the collection of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, depicts stories of Hindu mythology that touch on themes of love, peace, beauty, and the triumph of good over evil. The Dancing Monks of Assam will perform the work at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, where they will present dances characterized by intricate footwork, as well as ritual practices of the monastery, including devotional hymns and yoga postures. The museum’s curator of Indian and Himalayan art, Darielle Mason, and senior curator of costume and textiles, Dilys Blum, will lend curatorial insights in interpreting the cloth and illuminating its history.