Gajendra Shanane© - By Royal Appointment, restores the finest of India’s pre-colonial arts to the nation’s connoisseurs. On the eve of colonial rule, India’s fine and decorative arts rivaled the best in the world. From its perfumes, lacquer, paper, stone carving and jewelry to its staggering range of textiles famed the world over, India’s courtly arts depended on secret, labor intensive, ingenious processes that took generations to invent and perfect. The colonial era saw the demise of many of these arts as industrialization taught India’s buyers to settle for cheaper products that only shabbily resembled what its elite had once cultivated and prized. Few now understand the nuances that distinguish the finest hand-loomed pashmina shawls, for example, from lesser-quality jacquard loomed substitutes, or can appreciate the level of thewa that India’s elite patrons and artisans once collaborated to sustain. A few Indian buyers still have an eye for true luxury that few others in the world can rival, but India’s luxury arts and the connoisseurs who sustained them are now rare. Gajendra Shanane brings this luxury back to the world’s most discerning buyers. India’s first true luxury brand, Gajendra Shanane is dedicated to reintroducing South Asia’s finest decorative and wearable art to global connoisseurs. Gajendra Shanane’s secret lies in a historically and technically deep knowledge of India’s artisanal processes, the fostering of respectful, informed, lasting relationships with a selection of India’s few remaining top-level artisanal masters, and a dedication to educating its clientele in the connoisseurship and acquisition of India’s most lavish and rare arts.
From the Pallava and Chola to the Chandella, Chouhan and Mughal courts, India’s nobles have understood loyal patronage relations with skilled artists and artisans to be essential to a healthy and prosperous society. In this society, beauty was a virtue in which all shared, not a commercial frivolity for the wealthy few. Fostered by a sophisticated patronage system, India’s royal karkhanas (workshops) developed hundreds of processes to work wonders with silk, cotton, pashmina, wood, precious metals, gemstones, glass, terracotta, fragrant oils, leather, hard stone, paper, lacquer, and mineral/vegetable based dyes. Families invented world famous proprietary methods to ensure each generation would continue to thrive and progress unchallenged. But with the tragic loss of patronage in the 19th and 20th centuries, many artisanal secrets went to the grave with masters who saw no point in encouraging their sons to learn arts that were no longer understood. Gajendra Shanane is dedicated to reversing this decline to remind the world why Indian beauty was once celebrated as the apex of human achievement. They seek out traditional techniques and processes that have been lost, and natural raw materials that can be responsibly and sustainably sourced. The aspiration is to turn buyers away from brands buoyed by a rhetoric of luxury towards a brand, Gajendra Shanane, that is socially and environmentally sustaining, that preaches and practices the high-quality materials and workmanship, which are the essence of true luxury, and that, in so doing, returns aesthetics to material culture.