Accepted Paper:

Strategic production in response to value orientations: dyed and printed textiles for goddess rituals in Gujarat State, Western India  


Yoko Ueba

Paper short abstract:

This report clarifies changes in production techniques and sales methods used for dyed and printed textiles produced in western India, which are traditionally used for goddess rituals. It identifies how they are strategically produced to fit value orientations in both local and global markets.

Paper long abstract:

  This report concerns dyed and printed textiles used in goddess rituals, which are produced in Ahmedabad in Gujarat State in western India. While in the local cultural context, these fabrics have been traditionally produced for the ritual use, they have been altered to be more appealing to global markets. Changes in production technology and strategic choice of sales methods are examined from the perspective of dyeing techniques. This report examines whether the nostalgia evoked by these textiles in global markets becomes the standard to influences to local market.

  Textiles used in goddess rituals have been produced using printing and dyeing techniques to tell stories through pictures of goddesses or events described in Hindu myths. Traditionally these textiles are used to demarcate outdoor sacred spaces for rituals dedicated to female deities by members of untouchable castes, who are forbidden to enter Hindu temples, and this continues to be an important role in the local culture. In contrast, the same images of goddesses and their religious significance evoke a nostalgic gaze in consumers both inside and outside of India, spreading their presence as souvenirs beyond in the local area in which they are produced.

  Producers of these textiles carefully consider how they would be used, either in the orthodox traditional manner by local buyers or for other purposes by tourists from different places with different values. Both production techniques and sales methods are strategically adjusted to fit these separate markets.

Panel WIM-CHAT05
Fashionable tradition: innovation and continuity in the production and consumption of handmade textiles and crafts