The coach was good, the weather and traffic awful. Still, good things about coach travel - a 'green' way to travel; you can look over hedges; you can have a doze on the way home. Bad things - a coach trip seems to take forever. Answer - go into Indian travel mode. Loose the desire to rush around - sit back and relax - look out of the window, daydream - you will get there eventually.
The V&A is such a treasure trove. First call, The Neru Gallery. Indian artifacts from the Harappan period up to The Raj. I haven't had a good look around for years, so it was interesting to 'see' with fresh eyes, and a little more knowledge. The mochi embroidered cloth from Gujarat was exquisite - the stitching almost too fine to see. Painted cloths, palampores and chintz, delicious.
Next stop the Fashion Gallery - oh, the Mariano Fortuny black pleated evening dress with printed moss green velvet jacket! I could happily wear that outfit (if I could add a few more inches to my height).
Well, I had to go into the shop. Fortunately for my wallet, the shop was in disarray - stocking up with Christmas goodies. Did manage to bag one book - Woven Cargoes by John Guy. Researching on the East Indian Company of London the textiles mentioned are coming to the west, in this one they are going to the east either for barter or high status goods. That's going to be an interesting read.
Mochi embroidery from Kutch, Gujarat. The embroidery is done with an ari hook (tambour).
Very fine stitching. Why mochi? It is thought this form of embroidery developed from the
cobbler's awl used to decorated leather shoes. Mochi - cobbler.
Love and Valour in India's Great Epic
Made time to get to this exhibition, before it closes in a couple of weeks time. Truely fantastic - over one hundred paintings from Udaipur, illustrated in the 17th century. The tale of Rama and Sita as main players. A caste of thousands - Hanuman the Monkey God had a good few followers for starters. Bright bright colours, fine highlights in gold. Exquisitely fine painting. So much going on. Had to buy the book!
Also in the gallery a large painted cloth of the battle of Hanuman and his 'monkey army' with Ravenna the ten (?) headed god. Whilst admiring this you had the option of listening to gamalan music as well - what a treat. Then there was the hugh papier mache model of Ravenna towering over us all. I left with my head in a whirl.