India at its Finest

In September, 2018, Margit from Archeo accompanied Dorthe Thure from our sister store, Grace, to India on a buying trip. Although Archeo doesn’t sell anything from India, we specialize in “ancient art,” and ancient art (if you haven’t been to India) practically defines India. As we wandered side streets and artisan marketplaces searching for treasures, it seemed that at every turn, someone was busily handcrafting something. Tailors worked at tiny tables in the open-air, cutting shirts and suits from paper templates and sewing them with old-school machines or by hand. In a village outside Jaipur, craftsmen practiced wood-block printing on hand-woven cotton fabrics using hand-carved wooden printing blocks. We watched sculptors chisel marble into vessels and devotional figurines, like Buddhas. We watched gemstone experts cut and polish topazes, rubies, and sapphires, and metalworkers detail filigree for wedding jewels straight out of a fairytale. Ancient art forms all, these skills descend down the family chains, and are as integral to everyday life as eating, sleeping, and breathing.  Of course, like anywhere, the range of quality varied. Much is mass-produced in India, even if by hand, and much feeds the market for good-enough that tourists seek. What we looked for, and found, were the finest of the finest-made. Cashmere as light as a breath. Earrings as sculpted as seashells made of precious stones. Flawless marble lotuses,  precisely-pleated garments. Curious to see for yourself? Stop by and visit Grace. Tell them big-sister, Archeo, sent you.