Textiles in India

  • Vijaya Ramaswamy
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4020-4425-0_9792

India may be described as one of the ancient centers of the cotton textile industry, since early evidence of cloth has been found in prehistoric archaeological sites. The spinning and weaving of cloth was very much a part of everyday life in ancient India. The loom is used as poetic imagery in several ancient texts. The Atharvaveda says that day and night spread light and darkness over the earth as the weavers throw a shuttle over the loom. The Hindu God Vishnu is called tantuvardhan or “weaver” because he is said to have woven the rays of the sun into a garment for himself.

It is interesting to note that in the third or second century BCE, when the cotton industry in India was in a flourishing state, in Europe cotton was still virtually unknown. The Greek scholar Herodotus thought that cotton was a kind of animal hair like sheep's hair. At the beginning of the Christian era, Indian textiles figure prominently in the trade with Rome. Arrian, the Roman historian, testifies to the export...

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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg New York 2008

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  • Vijaya Ramaswamy

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