The Fiji Museum - Virtual Museum

Indian Art

Indian Art was traditionally used to spread religious teachings, mythology and philosophy. Ornamental designs embellish textiles and crafts as well as architecture of homes, personal shrines and temples. Kalpalata, or the arabesque, is an elaborate scrolling design of intertwined leaves and flowers. It symbolizes the ever-growing vine of prosperity, a bounty of treasures desired by mortals. In Hindu temples, kalpalata is found on doorways, walls and perforated windows. In mosques they trace the façade or front of the building, the archways and the mihrabs (alcoves inside a mosque).

In creating fabric wall art, like those shown here, textile artisans provide rich colour and detail in their craft. The stories they tell in these hand-painted fabric murals range from historical wars and religious epics to wedding processions and cultural lifestyles. This form of Indian art dates back at least 6000 years and is still found in some Indo Fijian homes.