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Ceremonial cloth

Ceremonial cloth

  • Place of origin:

    Gujarat (made)

  • Date:

    late 19th century (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Resist-dyed double ikat silk, cotton

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    South Asia, Room 41, case 15

This ceremonial cloth with an elephant-and-tiger design was woven in India for the Indonesian market. Known as a ‘patolu’ (pl. ‘patola’), this type of woven silk was a speciality of Gujarati weavers and involved a highly sophisticated technique. They had to tie and dye the warp and weft threads in patterns and then weave them together to create a pattern on both sides of the cloth.

In Indonesia ‘patola’ were intended for use by the elite. They were worn by members of the nobility, and at times subject to court sumptuary laws prohibiting their use by commoners.

Physical description

Ceremonial cloth (patola) of resist-dyed double ikat silk with striped cotton borders. With a repeating design of rows alternating with tigers and elephants within a grid. The ends have a row of diamond shapes, and another with triangular tumpals. Loose and open weave.

Place of Origin

Gujarat (made)


late 19th century (made)



Materials and Techniques

Resist-dyed double ikat silk, cotton


Length: 392 cm, Width: 100 cm

Descriptive line

Ceremonial cloth (patola) of resist-dyed double ikat silk with striped cotton borders, Gujarat, late 19th century

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

John Guy, Woven Cargoes. Indian Textiles in the East, Thames and Hudson, 1998, pl. 108.

Guy, J., and Swallow, D., (eds). ‘Arts of India: 1550-1900’. London : Victoria and Albert Museum, 1990. ISBN 1851770224.p 26. no.14..
p.56, pl. 43
Indian ikat textiles / Rosemary Crill. London: V&A Publications, 1998 Number: 1851772421

Labels and date

Silk, resist-dyed in the warp and weft (double ikat)
Gujarat, for the Indonesian market

These cloths (patola) were, and still are, highly prized in India because of the time-consuming and precise technique of double ikat in which they are made.
Patola with designs of tigers and elephants were made mainly for export to South-East Asia, especially Indonesia. There they were used as hangings and canopies in rituals and ceremonies, and were preserved as precious heirlooms. [27/9/2013]

Production Note

Made for the Indonesian market.



Subjects depicted

Elephant; Tiger (animal)


Clothing; Textiles


South & South East Asia Collection

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