Project Description

Toran is the Sanskrit name of a sacred or honorific gateway. Torans are used both personally, in homes, and sacredly in Buddhist and Hindu architecture. Its typical form is not fabric, as is shown here, but a wood or stone. Especially in Temple entrance ways, torans are sculptural post and lintel systems.This fabric toran was more likely used to decorate the main entrance of the home. The idea behind decorating the homes is to please and attract the goddess of wealth Lakshmi. Torans made of flowers and mango leaves are also strung at festivals and weddings. The six flags hanging from bottom edge of the main body are made to look like mango leaves to reflect those organic Torans. The beautiful hangings hold special significance over many occasions and places within Hindu culture. Torans are traditionally shades of yellow, green, or red like the one shown here. The rectangular ecru canvas on the top of the Toran is embroidered with red, yellow, blue, and black threads. Small mirrors designed to reflect light are dispersed throughout the fabric. This technique is called Shisha, and originated in India in the 17th century.

Object Details

Indian, 20th Century
27" x 47"
Gift of August Marx