The forever fibre

This beautiful linen portrait of a woman, which is currently housed at the Cleveland Museum of Art, is thought to be from Egypt and goes as far back as c.138. It’s a funeral portrait, also known as a mummy portrait. Such portraits were drawn and hung up on walls while the subjects were still alive. When someone passed away, their portrait was taken down, cut out of the frame, and trimmed to fit the deceased’s mummy. This particular one was drawn on linen using the encaustic painting method and gives us a glimpse of what ordinary folk art may have been like all those centuries ago. We find it truly beautiful. But, what impresses us about this is the durability of the material; how, long after the people, their faces, names, bodily remains, and even memories have vanished from the face of the Earth, this incredible material continues to live on. This is the magic of linen.

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Raw beauty

The beautiful colour of the natural linen yarn puts us in the mind of long fields ending with beautiful blue skies, and a poem by Jarred Carter;

Scattered among bundles of flax in the rain,
pinned under the water by smooth stones, broken,
spun, wound, and gathered in the bright skeins,

of blond thread—like bronze or silk, I gained
knowledge of the old ways still unspoken,
scattered among bundles of flax. …”

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Linen love

Linen is one of those fabrics that embody the Rithihi view of beauty so perfectly. The beauty of linen is something that runs through and through, going beyond the experience on your skin and eyes, to one that brings a lesson of strength and resilience; of prevailing against adversity, and growing graceful with the stains and scars that life leaves you with. That’s why our love for linen runs deep.

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Blessing blue

Every now and then, comes a time of special significance—when you want to gather all the goodness in the world and project it to someone; when you want to direct a river of peace; when you want to look, feel, and channel trust, and courage; when you want to assure loyalty with the certainty of the sky and the ocean, there’s only one colour. Only blue.

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That feeling

Deep joy, hope, and a heart’s greatest blessings; these are the moods we find this gorgeous Raw Mango saree exuding. With its intense red, delightful magenta pink fall, and gold zari border, it is a beautiful embodiment of moods and sentiments that are perfect for intimate celebrations, lifetime events, and ceremonies where loved ones come together—no matter far or near.

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Home is all you need

Ranee never thought she’d host her only daughter’s wedding with no formal ritual, no impressive hotel, and no guests. But, here she is, on the eve of a humble home wedding adhering to the latest health guidelines issued by the PHI, cutting long-stemmed pink flowers from her much prided rose garden to make a simple bridal bouquet. She made sure that the evening cool had settled upon the city before she cut the flowers; this is so they wouldn’t wilt before the auspicious time to sign in front of the marriage registrar—the most significant photo of the nuptial procedures that she wanted to Whatsapp her oldest and closest sister in Australia. Ranee admired her roses as she placed them in a tall vase. She felt her heart well up at the thought of her treasured roses making her precious girl’s bridal bouquet. Ranee had spent a good part of the day perfecting the spice mix for her son-in-law’s favourite yellow rice—it’ll be the first meal of the newlyweds tomorrow; She smiled at the thought of his sweetly exaggerated compliments on her cooking.

Ranee took out the lovely silk saree that her daughter had gifted for the occasion; not showy, nor extravagant, yet an absolutely beautiful celebration of her favourite colour blue. She hung it under the fan to be aired out overnight.

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Let it rain


Blows the thaw-wind pleasantly,
Drips the soaking rain,
By fits looks down the waking sun:
Young grass springs on the plain;
Young leaves clothe early hedgerow trees;
Seeds, and roots, and stones of fruits,
Swollen with sap put forth their shoots;
Curled-headed ferns sprout in the lane;
Birds sing and pair again.

There is no time like Spring,
When life’s alive in everything,
Before new nestlings sing,
Before cleft swallows speed their journey back
Along the trackless track –

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Flourish

When we were curating a capsule from the Anavila ‘Bloom’ collection to be housed here at Rithihi, we fell in love with this floral saree. What we really adore are those hand-painted roses that have then been digitally transferred onto the handwoven linen. They are absolutely lovely—don’t you think? It’s a saree that puts us in the mind of blossoming—the courageous act of becoming against all odds.

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Feeling spring

“You can cut all the flowers. But, you can’t keep the spring from coming”, said the ever so brilliant writer Pablo Neruda; And, we couldn’t agree more.

No matter how bleak things look, we trust in the light and the beauty that our inner sun holds. Just like the inevitable spring that comes, we know that at the end of the day, life will always find a way. This wonderfully optimistic yellow saree by Anavila captures the mood perfectly.

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Necessary beauty

We think it’s never too soon to talk about why it’s important to sustain the wisdom and beauty that the arts and the crafts bring to the world, especially in the face of crisis. To Rithihi, the crafts are a warmly human response to life— one rooted in our creative courage. Each craft is a reservoir of knowledge that involves cultures and communities with distinctly beautiful histories. To us, the call to craft signifies hope and optimism; two very necessary perspectives that the world needs. To craft is to believe; To want to better things. The practitioners of crafts are living embodiments of this calling.

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