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Not currently on display at the V&A

Palampore

1700-1720 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

This magnificent bed-cover or wall-hanging, called a palampore, is entirely embroidered in very fine silk chain-stitch on cotton. The stitches are so fine that the hanging appears to be printed unless it is closely examined. This type of fine chain-stitch is done with a combination of a needle and a leather-worker's hooked awl called an ari, a technique particularly associated with the professional embroiderers of the Mochi community from Kutch in Gujarat, western India.

This type of exotic tree pattern was immensely popular in Britain and Holland for furnishings and bed-hangings during the 17th and 18th centuries. While many of them were made of painted and dyed cotton (known as chintz), some also used the same designs in embroidery, as in this piece.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Cotton, embroidered in silk thread in chain stitch
Brief Description
Embroidered palampore (not worsted as on the classification data below); Textile, worsted
Physical Description
The main design is of an exotic flowering tree growing out of a rocky mound. It bears many flowers of different shapes, sizes and colours, as well as multi-coloured leaves. There is a wide embroidered border integral to the piece, in a meandering floral design with a similar range of colourful leaves and flowers, and an outer border of a smaller floral meander. The design is embroidered in silk thread in chain stitch, on a cotton ground.
Dimensions
  • Top edge width: 2562mm
  • Bottom edge width: 2551mm
  • Proper right length: 3659mm
  • Proper left length: 3667mm
  • Weighed on roller weight: 16kg
Object history
Historical significance: This textile is a fine example of the embroidery produced in Gujarat for the European market during the 18th century.
Historical context
Painted cotton chintz bedcovers and hangings ('palampores') with tree designs were widely used in Britain and Holland in the 18th century, and they were also made in embroidered versions, like this one. Embroidered palampores were particularly popular in Holland.
Subject depicted
Summary
This magnificent bed-cover or wall-hanging, called a palampore, is entirely embroidered in very fine silk chain-stitch on cotton. The stitches are so fine that the hanging appears to be printed unless it is closely examined. This type of fine chain-stitch is done with a combination of a needle and a leather-worker's hooked awl called an ari, a technique particularly associated with the professional embroiderers of the Mochi community from Kutch in Gujarat, western India.



This type of exotic tree pattern was immensely popular in Britain and Holland for furnishings and bed-hangings during the 17th and 18th centuries. While many of them were made of painted and dyed cotton (known as chintz), some also used the same designs in embroidery, as in this piece.
Bibliographic References
  • Indian embroidery / Rosemary Crill ; photography by Richard Davis. London: V&A Publications, 1999 Number: 185177310X, 1851772944 (pbk.)p.27, pl.5.
  • The art of India and Pakistan, a commemorative catalogue of the exhibition held at the Royal Academy of Arts, London, 1947-8. Edited by Sir Leigh Ashton. London: Faber and Faber, [1950]p. 216, cat. no. 1029, pl. 71
  • Irwin, John C., Indian Art, Victoria and Albert Museum, London: H. M. Stationery Office, 1968pl. 57
  • Irwin; John, Indian Embroidery (large picture book, no. 7) London: H. M. Stationery Office, Victoria & Albert Museum, 1951pl. 14
  • Irwin, John, C., A Brief Guide to Indian Art, H.M.S.O. 1962fig. 23
  • Irwin, John; Indian Art: Victoria & Albert Museum departmental guide, H.M.S.O. ISBN 0 905209117, 1978fig. 27, p. 18
Collection
Accession Number
IS.29-1889

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record createdNovember 2, 2001
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