Block Prints from the Indus Valley

Block Prints from the Indus Valley - Textiles Collected by Lisette Kampmann in the 1980s

From November 15, 2013 to August 31, 2014

The David Collection has acquired a group of block-printed textiles from the Danish painter, textile artist, and textile printer Lisette Kampmann, who collected them during her travels in Pakistan in the 1980s. A selection of these block prints is presented in a special display that lets the visitor experience the textiles’ colorful, warm character at close range.

Photos taken by Lisette Kampmann during the time she spent among block printers in the Thar Desert are shown in the lecture hall next to the special display.

Block printing is an ancient technique on the Indian subcontinent, used for thousands of years along the Indus River and its many tributaries in present-day Pakistan and India. Colorful textiles in a wealth of patterns have been bought and sold on local markets throughout the ages. For centuries, textiles were exported from the subcontinent to the Far and Middle East, Africa, and Europe. Because block-printed textiles required great technical insight and the process was so time-consuming and costly, it was a status symbol to own a beautifully printed fabric intended for an article of clothing.

Woodblocks used to make these textiles are also on display. Their beautifully hand-carved, engraved decorations make them works of art in their own right.

The special display is curated by Peter Wandel and Anne-Marie Keblow Bernsted.