Book Review: ‘Of Indian Carpets and Carpetwallahs’ by Jon Westborg

Unravelling the Threads of Tradition: Of Indian Carpets and Carpetwallahs


Book Title: Of Indian Carpets and Carpetwallahs: An Appreciation
Author: Jon Westborg
Publisher: Aleph Book Company
Number of Pages: 162
ISBN: 978-9395853491
Date Published: Dec. 5, 2023
Price: INR 794

Of Indian Carpets and Carpetwallahs by Jon Westborg

Book Review

Of Indian Carpets and Carpetwallahs: An Appreciation” invites readers to embark on a fascinating journey through the intricate world of Indian carpets, transforming these functional floor coverings into captivating works of art. The book, penned by Norwegian diplomat Jon Westborg, unfolds in five richly woven chapters, each contributing to a comprehensive exploration of the history, craftsmanship, and cultural significance of Indian carpets.

The opening chapter, titled “Fascination with Carpets,” delves into the author’s deep admiration for carpets and the enchanting allure they possess. Starting on page 8, this section unveils the personal connection that fueled the exploration of Indian carpets, highlighting the aesthetic and tactile qualities that elevate them beyond mere utilitarian items. Readers are taken on the author’s journey of discovery, laying the foundation for an appreciation of the intricate narratives intricately woven into the fabric of each carpet.

Chapter 2, “Carpetwallahs, Other Traders, and a Bit of Advice,” shifts the focus to the dynamic world of carpet commerce. Providing insights into the various players in the carpet industry, the section sheds light on the enigmatic figure of the Carpetwallah and explores the market dynamics. Offering valuable advice for navigating the intricate world of carpet buying, this chapter sets the stage for a more profound exploration of Indian carpets in subsequent chapters.

Through Westborg’s discerning eyes, the third chapter introduces readers to carpets that transcend time and space, each with its own compelling story. Meticulously documenting the technical and aesthetic qualities that define the value of these carpets, the chapter provides insights into the intricacies of their creation. It serves as a bridge between the tangible beauty of the carpets and the intangible stories that breathe life into them, fostering an appreciation that extends beyond the surface into the heart of a vibrant tradition. The pages inside the book include colorful carpets that enhance the aesthetic value of the story.

As the journey unfolds, readers traverse the length and breadth of India, discovering the multifaceted qualities that make carpets more than mere floor coverings. The fourth chapter sheds light on the widespread presence of carpets in Indian living spaces, appreciated not only for their visual appeal but also for the unspoken histories they carry. The diverse stories embedded in the carpets – tales of craftsmanship, cultural heritage, and the journeys these carpets have undertaken – come to life, creating a mosaic of Indian carpet artistry.

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In the concluding chapter, the book serves as a poignant reminder to cherish and preserve the legacy of Indian carpets. Reflecting on the unique carpets collected by Jon Westborg over a lifetime, the conclusion intricately weaves together the diverse stories embedded in the carpets. It is not just an endpoint but a call to continue exploring the world of carpets, seeking out the narratives interwoven into the fabric, and recognizing the profound cultural and historical value that each carpet holds. “Of Indian Carpets and Carpetwallahs: An Appreciation” is an enlightening ode to the artistry, history, and cultural richness woven into the fibers of Indian carpets.

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