“A Persian kalamkari wall hanging that dates back to the late 17th Century or early 18th Century is my starting point. A closer look at the fabric reveals a royal personage seated in a pavilion surrounded by crocodiles and an elephant-like figure beside which stand seven disciples in courtly attire. The scene is perhaps set in a garden. Boasting the kalamkari technique of hand painting and block printing that involves resist dyeing, the fabric is a welcome mix of red, maroon and indigo, outlined with black.
A single click away, connected to the former by an artery, is a carpet adorned with flower motifs that originated between 1750 and 1850, possibly in Armenia or Dagestan. Aided by more informative arteries, a rich textile history reveals itself on screen. Thanks to AI (Artificial Intelligence) and machine learning powered by Microsoft, Interwoven, a vast collection of South Asian textiles that the Museum of Art & Photography (MAP) prides itself on, has just become globally accessible.”