From Mean Streets of New York to V&A

This is from the i of 6 Feb 2015

“An extraordinary length of handwoven Indian fabric is to go on show to the public for the first time, two decades after it was tossed out on to a New York pavement.

The 17-metre wall hanging was only saved from the scrap heap after it was spotted by an art appraiser. It then made its way to the V&A, where it will form a key part i a major forthcoming exhibitin of Indian fabrics.

The story of how the “rescued” fabric travelled from a small Indian village to the US and why it was dumped remain shrouded in mystery.

Rosemary Crill, the co-curator of the V&A exhibition which opens in October, said that the US art appriaser Jerome Burns had approached her in 1994 about taking the textile “as he said it was too big for him to do anything with”. The wall hanging was found on a pavement in Brooklyn’s East Side.

After he sgned over the ownership, he told Ms Crill that he had found it “literaly heaped up a pavement. He thught: “They can’t just put this in a skip.”

With the help of a friend and a van he rescued the wall hanging.

The fabric is for a Hindu community, described as a “rural folk piece” with representations of the gods Ganesh and Hanuman.

The exhibition will tell the story of how Indian textiles travelled the world from as far back as the 3rd century to the present day. It willshow items from “everyday fabrics to unseen treasures” from sacred flags to 19th century bandanna handkerchiefs, said Ms Crilll, a senior curator at the museum’s Asian department.

“The Fabric of India” forms part of the gallery’s festival celebrating Indian culture and will include 200 items made by hand.

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