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Rumal

  • Place of origin:

    Punjab Hills (made)

  • Date:

    18th century (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Embroidered cotton with silk

  • Museum number:

    IS.23-1983

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Embroidered covers of this type were made in several centres of the Punjab Hills in North India, although they are often named 'Chamba rumals' (coverlets from Chamba) after one of these centres. The style of drawing of the figures in this piece corresponds to painting styles at Basohli in the same region of today's state of Himachal Pradesh, and it was probably embroidered there. The ground fabric is very fine muslin (woven cotton), and the embroidery is done in floss silk in a type of double darning stitch. As is usual with these rumals, the piece is double-sided, that is, the embroidery is equally well-finished on both sides.
Rumals from the hills are often used to cover wedding gifts, and for that reason they often have scenes of weddings, or other auspicious subjects, embroidered onto them. This one shows the Hindu god Krishna in a variety of poses - playing his flute or talking to the female cow-herds (gopis) who were his constant companions. The delicacy of the drawing suggests that the design was drawn by one of the court painters at Basohli before being embroidered.

Physical description

Square rumal or coverlet of embroidered white cotton with silk. The coverlet is divided into 16 compartments containing scenes of Krishna playing the flute or conversing with gopis (cowherd girls). With floral border. Embroidery in red, orange, black, blue, green, yellow and silver.

Place of Origin

Punjab Hills (made)

Date

18th century (made)

Artist/maker

Unknown

Materials and Techniques

Embroidered cotton with silk

Marks and inscriptions

Dimensions

Height: 82.5 cm, Width: 89 cm

Object history note

A fine example of a Punjab Hills coverlet.

Descriptive line

Square rumal or coverlet of embroidered cotton with silk, Punjab Hills, 18th century

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

p.54, cat. no. 40
Indian embroidery / Rosemary Crill ; photography by Richard Davis. London: V&A Publications, 1999 Number: 185177310X, 1851772944 (pbk.)
p. 124, cat. no. 107
Swallow, D., Stronge, S., Crill, R., Koezuka, T., editor and translator, "The Art of the Indian Courts. Miniature Painting and Decorative Arts", Victoria & Albert Museum and NHK Kinki Media Plan, 1993.

Subjects depicted

Costume; Flowers; Goat

Categories

Textiles; Embroidery; Hinduism

Collection

South & South East Asia Collection

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