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Prayer mats

  • Place of origin:

    Machilipatnam (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1881 - 1882 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Woven cotton, resist-dyed, mordant-dyed and block printed

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Physical description

Three cotton prayer mats on one length of textile, mordant-dyed and resist-dyed, and block printed, the field is composed of a niche surrounded by floral designs and borders, the field within the niche has floral sprigs on a red ground, a row of finials at the top. Complete pieces, comprised of individual prayer mats to be made up.

Place of Origin

Machilipatnam (made)


ca. 1881 - 1882 (made)



Materials and Techniques

Woven cotton, resist-dyed, mordant-dyed and block printed


Width: 1695 mm Top edge, Width: 1699 mm Bottom edge, Length: 946 mm Proper right, Length: 924 mm Proper left, Weight: 10.5 kg Weighed on roller

Object history note

Acquired by Caspar Purdon Clarke on his purchasing trip to India in 1881 to 1882.

Historical context note

Intended for use as prayer mats when made up.

Descriptive line

Textile, three prayer mats, block printed, resist-dyed and mordant-dyed cotton, glazed, Machilipatnam, ca. 1881-1882

Labels and date


Islamic prayer involves kneeling and touching the forehead to the floor. Prayer mats are used to provide a clean surface for worshippers. At home or when travelling, Muslims use their own individual prayer mats. In mosques, large textiles are often divided into sections indicating the space for one person to kneel in. This piece originally had ten joined compartments.

Cotton, block-printed and dyed
Machilipatnam (Masulipatam), Andhra Pradesh, 1881-2
V&A: IS.1761A-1883 [03/10/2015-10/01/2016]




Woven; Block printed; Resist dyed; Mordant dyed

Subjects depicted

Prayer; Finials; Niches


Textiles; Religion; Islam; Parasol Foundation Trust Indian Textiles Cataloguing Project


South & South East Asia Collection

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