The Museum of Living Textiles by Vimor documents ancient weaves, motifs and weaving techniques

Located in Austin town, it is spread across 1,300 square feet

Rashmi Rajagopal Lobo Published :  19th July 2019 12:00 AM   |   Published :   |  19th July 2019 12:00 AM

The loom at the museum

On a quiet and narrow lane in the heart of Austin Town sits a two-storey house, whose top floor was recently converted into a museum for Indian textiles. The owner of the house and the museum, Pavithra Muddaya, is the lady behind the handloom sari label Vimor, which has been the go-to for Bengaluru’s swish set for over four decades. Called the Museum of Living Textiles, it is an extension of Vimor, which was founded by Pavithra’s mother Chimmy Nanjappa in 1974.

Saris displayed at the museum
Saris displayed at the museum

Personal touch
“It’s been a long-held dream of mine to set up something like this. And I’m now happy that I’ve finally been able to turn it into reality,” shares Pavithra, adding that while most textile museums have historic significance, the pieces displayed in her space are a lot more personal. “These are saris I have collected over the years from clients of mine. So they belong to someone’s grandmother, mother, aunt and so on,” she explains.

Spread across 1,300 square feet, the space is divided into four rooms. The main room, the one you step into when you enter, holds a handloom, and saris displayed in glass cases. The other rooms too bear framed saris on their walls, with a brief description and the history behind each piece. “The saris were curated based on their novelty and uniqueness. For instance, the ‘sari with 20th century motifs’, a deep pink silk number, has zari work depicting cars, biplanes and gramophones, which was quite unusual for the period in which it was woven,” reveals Pavithra, who has been researching and documenting various weaves, motifs, techniques and sari traditions for years. Other pieces that caught our eye were  Subamma Vastra and the Annam Jarithari sari.

The Sari with 20th Century Motifs
The Sari with 20th Century Motifs

Bird watching
The former is a head scarf that belonged to Pavithra’s grandmother Subamma, who got it custom made from a Benarasi weaver. The vastra was woven based on the hand-drawn design given to him by Subamma. The body features a peacock on a branch, holding a necklace in its beak. The corners are finished with konia or mango motifs and the centre is designed with a circular butta. The latter, a sari woven in Tamil Nadu is made from pure silk in four-ply warp. It bears gold-encircled ‘annams’ or bird motifs. The pallu is detailed with gandaberunda, flowers arranged in a diamond shape and a zari rekh (horizontal temple-shaped design).

Besides documenting old saris, the museum will also host talks and workshops by weavers and experts in a bid to create more awareness about India’s forgotten weaves.

At Anjaneya Temple Road, Austin Town