May 11, 2011

George's Odhni | Cora Ginsburg

The lessons I've learned from my godfather George continue, even two years after his death. This lovely textile of his recently sold at Cora Ginsburg—the notable New York City dealer of antique textiles + historic clothing. My godfather highly regarded the shop and [now] owner Titi Halle, lugging many pieces he collected over the years to Titi for her expert knowledge of textiles from all over the globe. This particular piece is an Odhni, a woman's veil-cloth or head covering. The intricately embroidered silk from India [Banni, Kutch region, Gujarat, circa 1900] was made perhaps, as part of a dowry. At the center of the design is a large diamond-shaped medallion of mitered stripes of branching triangles, worked in running stitch. Each corner is finished in a geometric embroidery studded with shimmering mirrors, and the entire textile is covered in minute, embroidered eyelets. The embroiderer limited the scheme to just four colors of silk thread: garnet red, dull gold, cream, and black. According to Halle, a similar example is in the Victoria & Albert Museum collection. A serious art collector, my godfather volunteered at the Metropolitan Museum in the European Sculpture and Decorative Arts Library from 1992 until months before his death at age 88, in 2009. He was a life-long scholar of the arts and luckily for me... a teacher, too.


  1. love these intimate posts of yours -- wonderful stories and memories. appreciate the insight into your godfather. and i really like knowing about his volunteer spirit in his golden years. have a great day! ;)

  2. Hi Jg., Yes... he volunteered on Wednesdays at the MET right up until just months before he died. Thank you for stopping by! ; )

  3. Beautiful!! Clearly a special man. How lucky for you to have had such an incredible and generous person in your life!

  4. Hi Q, He was as eccentric as can be.... just my type! My parents made a brilliant decision when they asked him to be my godfather!! ox

  5. Barbara --

    This is wild. I was just admiring your godfather's textile in a CG catalogue! I love the mitered stripes and mirror-work. How lucky you were to have such a fascinating godparent. I, too, admire my godmother and feel fortunate my parents chose her :)


  6. Hi Courtney, That is wild! Isn't that a great catalogue! I would love to see the two Textile Pattern Books w/swatches! And, what about Frank Lloyd Wright for Schumacher and Roller-printed cotton summer day dress?! I might need to post. ; )

  7. Your life just gets more & more intriguing and quite honestly, amazing! What another marvelous influence in your life. I absolutely adore the photo of George and friends.

    How did I miss this great post?!


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