23 Jan 2014

Art in Interiors: A Tradition of Textile Art

Textile art has a glorious tradition and adds refinement and elegance to home interiors, 
writes art consultant Nalini S Malaviya

Artworks made of fabric and textiles are extremely versatile and add a unique flavor to interior decor. Textile art is a popular art form that is desired not only for decorating walls but also to create panels to divide space, lampshades and other objects of décor. Textile art has a rich history and incidentally was also of great significance in commerce and trade in the early days. The art form refers to textiles which are embellished and decorated through various techniques such as weaving, embroidery, dyeing, printing and painting. For instance, the Tibetan Thangka which has religious connotations is a traditional painting on silk which depicts scenes from Buddhist scriptures. Thangkas are beautifully detailed in their narrative and are extremely sought after. These intricately detailed paintings are magnificent when displayed on walls, bringing in historicity and fine symbolism.

Art in Interiors: A Tradition of Textile ArtArt in Interiors: A Tradition of Textile Art

Silk Paintings

Similarly, Chinese and Japanese silk paintings have a rich history and these portray oriental themes in an elegant style. Dragons, flora and fauna are commonly depicted themes, and these are rendered so delicately that they always add serenity and calm to the environment. Paintings on silk look simply stunning and should be displayed as standalone pieces in a minimalist décor. They would perfectly augment a décor theme which borrows from oriental concepts.


Tapestry is yet another form of textile art which has been popular for many centuries and is used to portray scenes, symbols and icons from mythological and religious text through vivid colours and imagery. During the Renaissance period, these were also used as symbols of opulence and wealth by the affluent and the ruling class. Bold vibrant colours characterize such artworks and they can enhance the ambience of any décor adding unmatched luxury to its surroundings.

In the contemporary context, several mainstream artists too choose to have their paintings woven as tapestries by master craftsmen. Such artworks follow the same signature style of the particular artist but in a totally different medium, which often makes it more interesting and novel.

There are several forms of textile art, each of which creates a unique impact and therefore depending on individual preferences these can be used effectively to complement the space.

Published in Times of India - The Address on Dec 29th, 2013

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