one of my history profs was telling a story about when she was in Azerbaijan and her host family (muslim) was going on a trip to a shrine or something of some guy who's considered a saint and asked her to go along and she was like "well, why not." so they get to the shrine and it was built where this guy used to live and supposedly he was born without bones (???) and could heal people so people go on pilgrimages to venerate him and he was called, I shit you not, "the Meat Lord." Supposedly he was miraculously saved from Stalin when the cars of all the people who were coming to imprison him broke down
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I do appreciate what Cathy Hay has been doing of late. Her last video made me really emotional.
She has been trying to recreate the Peacock dress, designed by Worth and worn by Mary Curzon in 1903. It's a 10 pound chiffon dress of woven silver and gold thread.
Frankly, the embroidery is far more beautiful than its design.
But she's found it difficult to recreate, to say the least. The embroidery was done in colonised India, when The British Empire controlled and took credit for everything. And let me tell you, some of these Indian ateliers had a lot of people working on a single piece, because the designs are so intricate and elaborate.
And so, recently she's been more outspoken of the fact that British colonisation really enables these wealthy western Europeans to wear gowns that almost look impossibly beautiful, but rightful credit was of course never given to the people who made it. Cathy started talking about this during the height of media coverage of the ongoing Black Lives Matter protest. She said she was reflecting on her position in the world and the lens through which she saw the Peacock dress.
So Cathy Hay has been researching it's history. And she eventually found out the name of the man who owned the work shop that made it. Kishan Shand from Delhi. It was a firm owned by Manick Chand. And more importantly, she found a sketch of the men that worked there, around the period the embroidery probably would have been done. It was most likely those very same men.
And I just felt this lump in my throat. I always wonder about the craftsmen behind so much of history's most beautiful art. They're never named because the one who commissions the work, the patron, is usually given all the undue credit. We still don't know the individual names, but we have a sketch of their faces.
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