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  • Place of origin:

    Gujarat (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1700 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Embroidered cotton with silk yarn

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Fine chain stitch embroidery of this type was made by professional male embroiderers of the Mochi community in Gujarat in western India. It was worked with both a hook, called an ari, and a needle. Originally developed for embroidering on leather, for items such as belts, floor-coverings and shoes, the ari-work was adapted for use on cloth, and soon attracted the attention of western travellers to Gujarat. The East India Company exported these embroideries from the port of Cambay (modern Khambat), and they were known as 'Cambay embroideries'.
This piece is an early example of the type, and was used at Ashburnham House in Sussex, along with chintz hangings of very similar design. The deep blue is produced by indigo dyeing, and the pink of the flowers by the use of lac, a dye secreted by the insect Kerria lacca kerr.

Physical description

Wall hanging of embroidered cotton with silk yarn in chain stitch. Cream cotton ground with silk chain stitch embroidery pattern of blue leaves, red-and-yellow flowers and multi-coloured birds and animals. Made of two panels stitched together vertically. Possibly also for a bed, but traces of nail holes at the sides suggest it was used as a wall-hanging at some stage.

Place of Origin

Gujarat (made)


ca. 1700 (made)



Materials and Techniques

Embroidered cotton with silk yarn


Length: 199 cm whole, Width: 178 cm whole

Object history note

Part of a set of hangings from Ashburnham House, Sussex.

Descriptive line

Wall hanging of embroidered cotton with silks, Gujarat, ca. 1700.

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

p. 23, cat. no. 1
Indian embroidery / Rosemary Crill ; photography by Richard Davis. London: V&A Publications, 1999 Number: 185177310X, 1851772944 (pbk.)
Irwin, John. Commercial Embroidery of Gujarat in the Seventeen Century. Journal of the Indian Society of Oriental Art, Vol XVII, 1949. 51-56p Plate IX
Crill, Rosemary, Arts of Asia, vol. 45, no. 5, September - October 2015, "The Fabric of India" Exhibition, p.70, pl. 9.

Labels and date

Cotton embroidered with silk thread
Gujarat, Western India
c. 1700

This panel was part of a set of chintz and embroidered bed- and wall-hangings formerly in Ashburnham House in Sussex. The embroideries copy the designs of the chintzes in simplified form. The intense colours of the silk embroidery thread were produced by repeated dyeing with indigo (blue) and the insect dye
lac for red. [27/9/2013]

Gujaratis 'embroider the best of any people in India, and perhaps in the world', said one 18th-century English scholar. Gujarati embroidery was in huge demand in Europe in the 17th and 18th centuries. Men from Gujarat embroidered this hanging in chainstitch, using both a hook (ari) and needle. The cloth has nail-holes along its edges, suggesting that it was attached to a bed or wall-panel.

Cotton, embroidered with silk
Gujarat, 1680-1700
V&A: IS.155-1953 [03/10/2015-10/01/2016]

Production Note

Embroidery made in Gujurat for the English Market


Cotton (textile); Silk (fiber)



Subjects depicted

Animals; Flowers; Birds


Textiles; Embroidery; Wall coverings; Interiors


South & South East Asia Collection

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