Textile Heirlooms from the Indus Valley

Dowry Cloth, Sindh Province, Pakistan, first half of 20th century, cotton embroidered with silk, cotton and metal wrapped threads, mirrors, 25 x 24 in., on loan from the collection of Ambassador and Mrs. Thomas Simons, Jr.

September 14, 2007 - May 11, 2008

The women of diverse, often nomadic, ethnic and cultural groups living near the Indus River lifeline (in present-day Pakistan, western India and southeastern Afghanistan) have traditionally infused heart and soul into their elaborately embroidered garments and functional textile objects. Such vibrant textile heirlooms celebrated important family events, formed dowries and added color to daily domestic life. The exhibited works, dating from the late 19th to the second half of the 20th century, were assembled by the former American Ambassador to Pakistan and his wife, Tom and Peggy Simons, collectors who care about conserving and honoring this folk art tradition. Such handcrafted textiles are now rare, vanishing due to modernization and the use of factory-made, machine stitched garments and synthetic threads.

See the Gallery Guide to learn more about the exhibition.

This exhibition is generously supported by a fund established by Esther Taft Quinn at The Boston Foundation, Unum, The Clayton F. & Ruth L. Hawkridge Foundation, and The Honorable and Mrs. Barry D. Hoffman.

Dowry Cloth, detail

Related Events

Tales from the Indus Valley
Sunday, September 16, 2PM
Join Ambassador Thomas W. Simons in a discussion recalling the years he and his wife Peggy spent collecting many of the treasures found in the exhibition Textile Heirlooms from the Indus Valley. Having lived there as a boy and again as the U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan in the 1990s, Dr. Simons' experience will lend a unique vision to this important and rare art. Free with Museum admission.