Sacred Tibetan Textiles

Sacred Tibetan Textiles

Handwoven Vestments and Altar Cloths

Artistic, religious and cultural traditions unite in the handwoven fabrics of our Sacred Tibetan Textiles. For centuries, Muslim families in Varanasi, India, have practised the art of handweaving silks to create cloths and vestments for sacred rituals. The city lies just twelve kilometres from the Buddhist pilgrimage site Sarnath, where the Buddha first gave his sermon upon becoming enlightened, and so Islamic, Buddhist and even Hindu practices have become woven together in the area.

In Varanasi, the Kasim family has been practising this meditative tradition for generations, passing down the knowledge and reverence of their ancestors. The fabrics reproduced on our covers come straight from the Kasim Silk Emporium and are an authentic expression of their cultural heritage. In these designs, created for Buddhist monasteries and the Dalai Lama, the weavers have portrayed the path to enlightenment, both in the Eight Auspicious Symbols of Buddhism represented by the pattern and in the brightness of the colours chosen.

An expression of faith and spirituality, these brocade fabrics are both beautiful and highly symbolic, and the care that goes into each individual stitch is a visual example of the weaver's adherence to a sacred ritual. With our Sacred Tibetan Textiles series, we pay tribute to the rich heritage of Indian handweaving and to the craftspeople who continue this devotional practice today.