Sar: The Essence of Indian Design


  • By Swapnaa Tamhane (Author), Rashmi Varma   (Author)
  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Phaidon Press (23 May 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780714870502
  • ISBN-13: 9780714870502
  • Product Dimensions: 20.8 x 2.5 x 26.9 cm

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An exploration of the timeless beauty of Indian design through 200 classic objects.

The Indian subcontinent is an amalgamation of peoples, cultures, languages and philosophies. Throughout history Indian culture has been subject to myriad different influences, from the Mughal empire to the British Raj to the now globalized nation in transition. Similar to ‘Wa: Essence of Japanese Design’, this book will trace continuity through the history of Indian design from antiquity to the present day.

The book explores the elements that make Indian design so special, including the varied manufacturing and decorating techniques of the country’s incredibly skilled craftsmen, highly specialized object designs that have been refined over centuries, and ongoing responses to nature, technology, and necessity. The objects were chosen for their enduring quality and beauty, and their integral connection to Indian culture.

Rather than following a chronological order or concentrating on the (often anonymous) designers, this book separates the objects into abstract categories anchored by Hindi words chosen to illuminate how each object fits into the lives of Indians.

About the Author

Swapnaa Tamhane (b. 1976) is an artist and curator, based in Mumbai and Toronto. She is currently a Fellow with Kulturstiftung des Bundes (2013–14) and co-curator of “In Order to Join”, Museum Abteiberg, Mönchengladbach. She has exhibited widely, including at Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art; CONTACT Photography Festival, Toronto; and Gallery Seven, Delhi.

Rashmi Varma (b. 1974) is a costume and fashion designer, based in Delhi. She has exhibited at the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art, Toronto and has received numerous awards. She has worked as costume designer with noted filmmakers such as Deepa Mehta.