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— Jasmeen Dugal

''Tradition is not the worship of ashes but the preservation of fire'' — Gustav Mahler


Royal Fables — the only authentic platform founded by Anshu Khanna to preserve India's regal and cultural heritage — presents its milestone edition at The Mansion, Hyatt Regency, New Delhi on 20, 21 September. The two-day exposition is vital in the ongoing process to transform languishing royal heritage and culture to living heritage. Before I go further, I'd like to explain that 'Living Heritage' is characterised by the concept of 'continuity'. It approaches heritage as 'alive' i.e. constantly evolving and hence the enormity of the bespoke exposition where royal families come together to showcase art, textile craft, jewellery and royal kitchen recipes unique to their state, which goes a long way in preserving it for future generations.


And here lies the importance of Royal Fables. We all know that in royal hands lie hundreds, often thousands, of years of knowledge. We know that their skills, culture and heritage are part of living history. But what we don't know is it's in danger of anonymity and extinction; we don't know where royal craftsmen are and how they can be supported. There's no 'endangered' list for royal crafts. At least not until team Royal Fables made it its mission to touch base with royal families, learn about their way of life, culture and heritage craft, and convince them to showcase it in an exposition, to make it relevant to our generation. To us, Royal Fables is about triggering little moments of time travel as we marvel at the beauty of ancient textile craft, miniature art and crafts from Palace karkhanas and whisper to friends about the life of a maharani or yuvrani a decade ago. It's not just about how each object on display look, it's about faithfully recreating how they were made, with the same materials, the same methods. No cutting corners.


Here's a glimpse of what you can expect in Season 10 — Princess Vaishnavi Kumari of Kishangarh has Pop Art that pays homage to miniatures from Kishangarh School of Art; Tikarani Shailja Katoch of Lambragaon-Kangra has pictorial art of Kangra; Princess Vidita Singh of Barwani is exhibiting automative art; Princess Nandini Singh of Jhabua has Tribal Art from Madhya Pradesh; Kunwarani Bharti Singh Sahanpur has modern art inspired by the Panchatantra series; H.H Maharani Radhika Raje Gaekwad of Baroda is textile conservationist of Laxmi Vilas Palace; Princess Diya Kumari of Jaipur is custodian of craft karkhanas in City Palace, Jaipur; Princess Vaishnavi Kumari of Kishangarh has textile art; Ambika Raje Ghorpade of Sandur will exhibit silk sarees unique to her region; Princess Richa Rajya Lakshmi of Danta has handblock-printed home linen; Princess Manjari Mishara of Ayodhya has potlis with royal motifs; Princess Nandini Singh of Jhabua has embroidered evening bags; Rajkumari Alka Rani of Pratapgarh will showcase French hand painted sarees; Rajkumari Veena Singh of Padrauna will exhibit chikankari and mukaish; look out for hand-block velvets by Rani Jaykirti Singh of Baria; Rani Sandhya Kumari of Khajurgaon will appeal to millennials with hand-painted stoles, skirts, shararas; Thakurani Darshana Kumari of Mandawa has gold-spun weaves ideal for millennial brides; Thakurani Madhulika Singh of Koela has hand embroidered heirloom shawls; Kanwarani Meghna Singh Deo Bolangir from Patna has royal jewellery; Kanwarani Ritu Sinhji Wankaner revives traditional silhouettes native to her region with modern sensibilities; Kanwarani Geetanjali Shekhawat Jassowala has Poshaks from Rajasthan; Yaduveer Singh Bera has quilted blankets handcrafted from his region; Baisa Pushpita Singh Kharwa has pearls, beads, bracelets and buttons… and that's just the tip of the iceberg!!


But surely, when we talk about royal heritage crafts, you think, we are not talking about life and death. Or are we? Heritage skills are vulnerable and it will be tragic if we lose them and may not even know the value of what we lost. The importance of Royal Fables lies is to ensure the royal craft skills in every part of the country remain in active use. This gives young apprentices the opportunity to learn from masters and subsequently gives us the opportunity to purchase rare royal art, craft, textile and fine jewellery. See you on 20, 21 September!!

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