Not currently on display at the V&A

Hand Cloth

ca. 1900 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

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.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Embroidered cotton in silk and cotton
Brief Description
Textile, hand drying cloth (Chaksi pangkheb) of embroidered cotton, Bhutan, ca. 1900.
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.
Dimensions
  • Width: 96cm
  • Excluding fringe length: 146cm
  • Excluding fringe length: 104in
  • Width: 38.5in
Credit line
Given by Sir C. A. Bell KCIE, CMG
Object history
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.
Summary
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.
Bibliographic Reference
Myers D.K., From the Land of the Thunder Dragon, Textile Arts of Bhutan, London, 1994, pp. 75, 226.
Collection
Accession Number
IM.20-1933

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record createdSeptember 22, 2004
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