Pandemic silver-linings.


Virtual talks with textile experts, academicians, and art historians to keep you connected to your favourite destinations. Free or cost-recovery. 

The response has been enthusiastic! 

"Wow. Yet another wonderful lecture. I have a soft spot for well spoken people, no verbal tics, a broad vocabulary, a witty streak, and passion. How come you know them all? Enjoying myself way too much." -- Susanne Staer

"Clear, well-organized, with enthusiasm and expertise" -- Mary Littrell

Up Next

Mulberry Trees of Uzbekistan

REPEAT - Due to tech difficulties, the last talk failed to run smoothly. Many of you were disappointed. Here's your chance to catch Dana Davies' fascinating take on mulberry trees' importance to the extraordinary material culture of Uzbekistan. From sericulture to gorgeous ikats and finest silk hand-made paper, Dana takes us behind the scenes to learn how this one tree has shaped the Silk Route. She'll take your questions afterwards. 

FREE with registration, limited space

Thursday June 3, 2021 at 7.30pm Eastern

Dana Davies is E.Y.H.O.'s trip leader to Uzbekistan. In her words: "A life long fascination with fabrics, and especially ikats, led to textile-focused trips to Central Asia, and a full-fledged obsession with its people, culture, landscape, and legends. First traveled to UZ in 2013 and have since returned several times. Full disclosure: 80% enthusiast; 10% scholar of textiles and UZ history; 10% penchant for oddities and oxymorons with a tendency to romanticize." Dana is far too modest -- her deep knowledge is offset only by her passion for all things Uzbekistan.

Textiles for the Head Part II

Symbolism and Perceived Power of Animal Headdresses 

Textiles are worn on the head for many reasons. In March, we learnt of purposes for which textiles are placed on the head, including desire of a chief or high-ranking individual to project power and authority. These often incorporated body parts of actual animals to imbue wearer with desired attribute of the animal. Part II will look at headdresses made to look like mammals, birds, butterflies and reptiles, but which are made of cloth rather than body parts.

USD 10 with registration, limited space

Thursday June 10, 2021 at 7.30pm Eastern

Christine Brown, an anthropologist, has served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in West Africa, and spent a career working on international development projects in Africa and Asia funded by the U.S.A.I.D. She has an enduring interest in the material culture of traditional societies around the world. Christine has co-curated three exhibitions of ethnic jewelry at the former Bead Museum in Washington, D.C.; lectured on textile-related topics at the Textile Museum in Washington, D.C., the Mingei International Museum and the Asian Arts Council in San Diego, California, and to textile collecting groups in Los Angeles, California, and Washington, D.C.

Tie-dyed Head Coverings of Kutch: 
Identity, Utility, and Inter-religious Relations

In traditional societies of Kutch, tie-dyed head coverings play an important role in every aspect of a woman’s life. They provide protection from the elements, create identity, signify status, express joy or sorrow, and denote inter-religious relations. Many generations of Kutchi Muslim and Hindu communities have shared a common culture in this harsh desert land. Through the ubiquitous odhani this talk will provide a new perspective for understanding both intra- and inter-social relations of these distinct communities.

Hosted by Zay Initiative - Donation 

Tuesday June 15 at 12 pm Eastern

Shila Desai is owner and founder of E.Y.H.O. Tours, specialising in travels centred around material cultures, and in particular handmade textiles, of the world’s traditional societies. Of Indian ancestry and born and brought up in Kenya, Shila has lived, worked, and studied on four continents. She detoured from professional accounting and running a multinational technical clothing business to writing creative non-fiction, voluntourism, and leading textile-based travels. 

A World Heritage site, the spectacular rock-cut caves of Ajanta have fascinated travellers and historians for centuries. A cross between monumental architecture and massive sculptures, this 30-cave complex of Buddhist monasteries and temples was excavated from a cliff face starting 2nd BCE. The site is notable not just for its antiquity and religious significance, but also for spectacular artwork and the ingeniously sophisticated techniques used in its creation. This talk will explore the history and significance of Ajanta, how the caves were made, and what was (and is) required to maintain them.

USD 10 with registration, limited space

Thursday July 1, 2021 at 7.30pm Eastern

Robert DeCaroli is a Professor of South and Southeast Asian art history at George Mason University. He is a specialist in the early history of Buddhism and has conducted fieldwork in India, Sri Lanka, and Southeast Asia. He co-curated Encountering the Buddha: Art and Practice across Asia exhibition at the Sackler Gallery of the Smithsonian Institution, and has been was awarded a Getty Research Institute Fellowship as well as currently a Robert N.H. Ho Family Foundation Research Fellow. His books include Haunting the Buddha: Indian Popular Religions and the Formation of Buddhism and Image Problems: The Origin and Development of the Buddha’s Image in Early South Asia, as well as several articles and book chapters. 

Phulkari, literally, is hand embroidered dupatta worn by the women of Punjab. Its significance, deeply rooted in the Punjabi culture, is in a special bond between mother and daughter. From birth, through adolescence, marriage, childbirth and death, Phulkari is a constant companion in women's lives. It managed to survive even as families fled during the India-Pakistan partition but then lost much to commercialisation and machine copies. This talented mother-daughter duo overcame challenges to document and revive the original designs, motifs, and lexicon of Phulkari embroidery. 

Date: TBA 

Limited space. Registration: USD 10

Preeti Sidhu/Mannat Sidhu
Preeti is a fashion textile enthusiast who took the initiative to preserve Phulkari which had become redundant and lost its elegance. For the last 10 years, she has worked with several women from villages across Punjab, providing them employment opportunities and a chance of expression. Her daughter Mannat grew up amongst Phulkari and recently teamed up with her mother to document and preserve Phulkari to bring it to Millennials and Gen X-ers. Mannat is currently studying at FIT, New York to preserve the legacy of Phulkari. 

Mumbai has the world’s second-largest collection of Art Deco buildings, second only to Miami and now a Unesco World Heritage site. This virtual tour highlights the finest stretch of 35 Art Deco buildings along Marine Drive, also known as the Queen’s necklace. Built in the early 20th C, they showcase nautical features and architectural elements that correspond to the city’s tropical climate. Explore the history of this cosmopolitan neighbourhood, and how it emerged as a symbol of Mumbai's modern identity.

Date: TBA 

Limited space. Registration: USD 10

Nonprofit Art Deco Mumbai was set up in 2016 to raise awareness of Mumbai's Art Deco buildings on social media, as well as to document them in an online repository. Principal Atulkumar and team have listed more than 375 buildings, including residences, palaces, hotels and cinemas, all built between 1930 and 1950. Art Deco Mumbai conducts award-winning onsite tours and during the lockdown, they have agreed to host a virtual one for E.Y.H.O. 

Coming in July

Past Events 


April 1, 2021

Hereditary Chettiar bankers built uniquely designed mansions of the finest from all over the world.  Learn about this fast disappearing microcosm, its fascinating culture, arts and crafts, and distinctive cuisine. Read more here

Preview of upcoming tour of South India. 

Meena Suppiah

Esteemed member, Chettiar community

March 16, 2021

Visually splendid and often extremely costly, Mexican festivals feature dances with richly embellished costumes and masks. Most important on the festival calendar is Days of the Dead. Celebrate the passion that is Mexico!

Chloë Sayer


Read about Chloe

February 23, 2021

Ready to travel? Here's what you need to know

A frank assessment of the travel scene ahead, including what to look for in cancellation and rebooking policies. Why E.Y.H.O.? Why small group, owner-led? Plus upcoming tours beginning mid Oct 2021. Watch here

Shila Desai

Owner and founder, E.Y.H.O. Tours, and C.A. by training

Kohl on woman.jpg

January 12, 2021

Paint it, Black - history and culture of kohl containers

Since earliest times, kohl has been used to beautify men and women, ward off evil, confer status, accompany rituals and feasts. Explore its remarkable history from Early Bronze Age to the present. 

Jolanda Bos

Archeologist and dress anthropologist at the Univ of Leiden, The Netherlands


December 3, 2020

Frida and Diego - Mexico's Golden Age of Art

Colourful and turbulent art and lives of Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera continue to capture the world's imagination. Discover why Frida's intimate self-portraits and Diego's panoramic murals have given the pair iconic status.

Chloë Sayer

About Chloë


Oct 7, 2020

Vanishing Stepwells of India

India's least-known edifices are magnificent subterranean stepwells. Unique marvels of architecture, engineering, and art, they proliferated throughout the subcontinent for over a millennium. Watch here

Victoria Lautman

Kailash Woman, Pakistan.jpg

March 30, 2021

When placed on the head, textiles serve very specific purposes, ranging from identifying the wearer’s ethnicity, geographical location, or life achievements; age, marital, or economic status; and religious affiliation.   

Read more here

Christine Brown

Anthropologist, Peace Corps worker

March 11, 2021

Mulberry Trees of Uzbekistan

Learn about the importance of the mulberry tree to the extraordinary material culture of Uzbekistan with an emphasis on its glorious ikats.

Due to a technical glitch, we couldn't record Dana's talk. But you can watch the tour preview here

Dana Davies and Shila Desai


Read about Dana

February 9, 2021

Medieval India: Religion, Warfare, and Two Strong Queens

Indian medieval warrior queens' contributions to religious harmony, the anti-colonial movement, art, and architecture. Clues to modern India through two strong queens - Sultana Razia and Abbakka Chowta. Read more

Dr Joyce Salisbury

Professor Emerita, PhD Medieval History, Rutgers NJ

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January 5, 2021

Stories in Silver : reading North African jewellery 

Messenger, protector and bank account are roles traditional jewellery plays Travel from the steppes of Central Asia to the Maghreb to decipher the language of silver. 

Sigrid van Roode

Sigrid is Jewellery Historian at the University of Leiden in The Netherlands


November 19, 2020

Geeta's Diwali Kitchen

Chef Geeta invites you into her kitchen to explore myths and traditions of Diwali while focusing on the food that brings us together. Cook along or just watch. FREE - Catch the recorded session here

Geeta Maini

About Geeta

March 18, 2021

Moroccan zellige is as intricate as jewellery. Yet Morocco's royal cities are lavishly adorned with zellige. Go inside enchanting zellige interiors, learn how it's made, and why it's a prized but dying art. Includes Oct 2021 tour preview. Watch

Shila Desai

Owner and Founder, E.Y.H.O. Tours and zellige enthusiast

March 9, 2021

¡Viva México! Celebrate Popular Art

Few countries offer such a rich and varied cultural heritage as Mexico. The arts and crafts of Mexico are a living force, not a nostalgic evocation. Dazzling colour and design combine Aztec, Maya and Spanish traditions. Read more here

Chloë Sayer


Read about Chloë


January 19, 2021

Silver and Frankincense

Journey into the evanescent world of traditional Arab scent. Scent features in religious, personal, and social context through silver perfume containers, sumptuously scented paste beads, and fragrant clove necklaces. 

Sigrid van Roode

Sigrid is Jewellery Historian at the University of Leiden in The Netherlands


December 10, 2020

Frida Kahlo and Traditional Mexican Dress

Frida Kahlo's iconic status lies in her flamboyant and courageous dressing style, an homage to Mexican indigenous cultures and an inspiration for designers and fashionistas the world over. Reading list here

Chloë Sayer

About Chloë

taj mahal.jpg

November 2, 2020

Behind the Marble Veil

Royal intrigues, power grabs, and the real reason why the world's most beautiful building was built. A synthesis of latest scholarship on northern India's "exposed zone" and the Timurid connection

Dr Justin Jacobs

More great speakers and workshops coming soon!

Explore material cultures and architecture of traditional and contemporary societies

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