Book Reviews


Agile Hands and Creative Minds

A Bibliography of Textile traditions in South Asia

by Donald Clay Johnson
2000. 277 pp., 3,500 entries, author index, geographic index, museum Index, subject index.

ISBN-10: 974-8304-84-1 (HC) $39.50, in India 800 rupees.
ISBN-13: 978-974-8304-84-7

Agile Hands and Creative Minds

Book review by J. M. Hurd,

University of Illinois at Chicago (Choice, May 2001)

Compiled in response to the Textile Society of America’s interest in a reference publication on South Asian textiles, this classified bibliography draws on Johnson’s personal collection and travels, and on research libraries, librarians, and textile scholars to identify references that span several centuries of publishing. Johnson’s extensive compilation of citations on the handcrafted textile traditions of South Asia includes reference sources; comprehensive and historical studies; publications on textile types, techniques, materials, and fibers; a section on religious textiles; and others on influential individuals and ethnic groups. A section on district gazetteers is organized geographically and cites pages or chapters where textile-related information may be found. The table of contents outlines the classification, and there are indexes by subject, author, museum, and geographic locale. The author excluded works on carpets because he believes the topic deserves a separate guide. This unique publication will enhance textile research collections and aid scholars in locating original sources. Although many of the sources are unlikely to be widely held, Johnson’s careful citations will support interlibrary loan efforts to obtain them.—J. M. Hurd, University of Illinois at Chicago.

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