Silk Cloth (Patolu)
Gujarat, India, early 20th Century,
115.5 x 434 cm (45 1/2 x 171 in.),
Silk double-ikat

Roger S. Pratt Collection (Far Hills NJ)Central Asian ikats have only the longitudinal threads (warp) subject to the multi-stage dyeing process. This Indian cloth is more complex, having both the warp and the weft threads selectively dyed, which calls for great care and attention to detail both in the dyeing and weaving processes, and gives the final product a jewel-like quality. These patola, as they are known, are highly valued both in India and abroad, especially in some societies in Indonesia, where they are considered to be sacred. This particular pattern is associated with the Bohras (or Vohras), a Muslim merchant community strong in Pakistan and India, whose women use it at weddings and pregnancy celebrations.