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Hand cloth

Hand cloth

  • Place of origin:

    Bhutan (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1900 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Embroidered cotton in silk and cotton

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Sir C. A. Bell KCIE, CMG

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

This multi-purpose ceremonial cloth is of a type called ‘chaksi pangkheb’ in Bhutan. It was often used in the past to dry the hands of important visitors and its name literally means ‘hand wash lap cover’. The diplomat Sir Charles Bell was given this piece by the first king of Bhutan, Urgyen Wangchuck, with whom he became acquainted during the expedition to Tibet by the British explorer Sir Francis Edward Younghusband in 1903–1904.

Physical description

Ceremonial hand drying cloth (Chaksi pangkheb) for the Bhutanese nobility from Central Bhutan. Woven cotton embroidered in red silk with indigo blue cotton in darn stitch. Heavy woven cloth with central and border patterning, and fringes on the ends. Strong white cotton cloth, bordered by two narrower strips of blue and maroon parallel lines. The main pattern is embroidered entirely in red silk and indigo blue cotton in darn stitch. The cloth resembles a sari and is in three lengths sewn together. The main pattern is formed by horizontal broad and narrow bands of large and small diamond-shaped motives, treated in a great variety of combinations. The interspaces of the side borders have zigzag ornament. At each end the warps are twisted into a string fringe.

Place of Origin

Bhutan (made)


ca. 1900 (made)



Materials and Techniques

Embroidered cotton in silk and cotton


Width: 96 cm, Length: 146 cm excluding fringe, Length: 104 in excluding fringe, Width: 38.5 in

Object history note

Given by Sir A.C.Bell, K.C.I.E., C.M.G., in 1933. It had been given to the donor by the Maharaja of Bhutan in about 1910.

Descriptive line

Textile, hand drying cloth (Chaksi pangkheb) of embroidered cotton, Bhutan, ca. 1900.

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Myers D.K., From the Land of the Thunder Dragon, Textile Arts of Bhutan, London, 1994, pp. 75, 226.


Cotton; Silk


Weaving; Embroidering


Textiles; Embroidery; Ceremonial objects


South & South East Asia Collection

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