The Boteh, a classic design of Indian crafts to discover at the Museum of Provencal Costume and Jewelery in Grasse

The Fragonard house offers three temporary exhibitions between painting, photography and Provencal costumes in Grasse. The Jean-Honoré Fragonard museum hosts, from June 4, the work of the painter from Grasse Jean-Baptiste Mallet and the photographs of Denis Dailleux in the flower markets of India. The Provencal Costume and Jewelry Museum now offers the discovery of the Boteh motif, a classic design of Indian crafts.

Throughout her life, Hélène Costa has collected an impressive amount of Provençal clothing, as well as jewelery typical of this region. This collection led to the opening in 1997 of the Provençal Costume and Jewelery Museum in Grasse in a mansion, former residence of the Marquise de Cabris, Mirabeau’s sister. It houses clothing and jewelery from the 18th to the end of the 19th century: skirts, shells, corsets, crosses, earrings… It is one of the few establishments dedicated to traditional Provençal clothing and finery of yesteryear. .

We met Clément Trouche, one of the two curators of the exhibition cashmere/boteh beauties, to discover until October 2, 2022.

The exhibition Boteh/Beauties of Kashmir follow the path of this pattern born in the Himalayan mountains and became rooted in the heart of the Provençals to form part of their heritage and their identity in 21st century. “The objective of this exhibition is to see how a textile made in the north of India, in the Kashmir region in the Himalayan region -and which bears the name of the fiber that it is made of- gradually becomes the name of a now much broader design and typology of textiles”, highlighted the curator of the exhibition. These shawls, originally from northern India, were recognizable by their patterns called Boat. “VSis the Indian word that defines this drop-shaped pattern for the East. When it arrives in France, it becomes westernized and already at the end of the 18th century and under the Empire, it is called palme or palmette”. says Clement Trouche.

This wool fiber comes from down a goat raised in Kashmir. It is the finest grammage wool among the wools that are woven in the world. your fit is extremely light and resistant it is of a amazing sweetness“In India, shawls were woven with this cashmere fiber since the 15th and 16th centuries. In Asia, sultans, heads of countries, princes, emperors… who owned these shawls exhibited them as a sign of wealth. It is an extremely valuable item because it sometimes takes two years of weaving by two or three workers on a loom,” precise, again the curator of the exhibition.

At the end of the 18th century, thanks to the Compagnie des Indes with its trade routes, cashmere shawls and stoles reached Europe, initially in Great Britain.“Boteh/Beauties Cashmere” exhibition at the Provençal Costume and Jewelry Museum in Grasse: cotton dress printed on an orange background with palmette motifs, a high, ruffled collar and balloon sleeves. Wool and silk stole with paisley motifs. France, around 1815-1820 (Eva Lorenzini)

Shawls and stoles were very quickly adopted by women of good society who at that time wore light and transparent muslin dresses in the style of antiquity. “The Europeans had their eyes on everything that came from the East, especially from the Indies.. againstThe very fine and warm cashmere shawls are a sign of knowledge and adherence to an imaginary and very distant East. They adorn themselves with it because the taste of the East is then very strong”, says Clement Trouche. before adding : “In France, the first representation we have of a woman with this type of shawl is the Marquise de Sorcy de Thelusson painted by Jacques Louis David in 1786. From then on, all elegant women want to look like her.”

This accessory became a must-have for elegant ladies from the early 19th century to the early 21st century.

The enthusiasm is such that the textile industry is launched. “Westerners are going to start weaving and imitating Kashmiri shawls. They are first imitated as they come from India and then adapted with Western fabrics. We are going to start weaving with silk because it is a raw material that we grow in France. mix it with merino wool from Arles, which is one of the finest wools in the world after cashmere to maintain the light look of the stole,” says the curator of the exhibition.

Thanks to this overcrowding, created by the fabric factories of Paris, Lyon and Nîmes, all social classes could access it and the shawl became an indispensable element in the representation of women in the 19th century. “So much so that it will be an integral part of wedding baskets. We keep it and pass it on from mother to daughter.” add clement trouche.“The interesting thing is to show that the taste of Western women for these Eastern motifs will have no limit. Industrial designers, manufacturers and couturiers will allow this oriental motif to spread on a large scale through printing. Originally, shawls were expensive. because it was a fabric that required a lot of raw material and technicality. As the pattern desired, the designers will diversify it, multiply it and “print it on the textiles. The women will then adorn themselves with these oriental motifs from head to toe”.The paisley pattern will then become a fabric. “Before him, we only used flowers or geometric patterns. It becomes a new classical motif in the Western repertoire. is in particular Jouy-en-Josas and Alsace that will decline it in scarves sold at fairs by street vendors. This will integrate the daily cleanliness of the French”, highlighted Again Clement Trouche.Since the beginning of the 19th century, Provençal fashion has been passionate about fabrics with oriental motifs and the women of Grasse, Marseille, Avignon and Arles adorned themselves with these fabrics, as the curator explains: “In Provence, as everywhere, families wore these outfits that the Court adored. This spread of fashion has affected all classes of society.”The exhibition shows againstHow since the 19th century Provence over-consumed this pattern with bright colors and how this region appropriated it when it was readjusted in France to make it completely intrinsic to its DNA. “To the point that today it gives all the Provençal identity that people will continue to wear through brands like Fragonard or Soleidado, representative of this art of living in the south of France”, Clément Trouche concludes.This exhibition allows you to discover a set chosen for its diversity of around a hundred pieces, including several dozen scarves, dresses, skirts, men’s printed cotton vests and shawls, stoles and knitted or knitted interior or maternity dresses. wool prints.

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