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  • Place of origin:

    Lahore (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1930 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Block-printed cotton

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Hyla Stuntz Converse

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    British Galleries, Room 125c, case 1

Object Type
Block-printed cotton textiles like this hanging were made in many centres in northern India and Pakistan. They were mainly used as furnishings such as bed covers, hangings and floor-spreads. This long, narrow piece would have been used as a curtain or decorative hanging.

Materials & Making
The designs on this cotton cloth were achieved by a combination of printing with wooden blocks and hand-painting with a tool called a kalam (Persian for 'pen'), giving this type of textile the generic name of kalamkari ('pen work'). The blue would be the product of immersion in an indigo vat, but it is likely that by the early 20th century when this piece was made, the other colours would have been chemical dyes.

This hanging was probably made for local use rather than export, but it includes elements of kalamkaris made for external markets: both the stylised cypress tree in the centre and the scrolling floral design in the borders are typical of textiles made around Masulipatam in South-East India for the Iranian market. However, we have first-hand evidence from the donor that that this piece was made in Lahore, in today's Pakistan, and the colour palette is typical of that region's block-prints rather than the strong reds and blues of South-East India.

Physical description

Hanging of block-printed cotton. Central motif of a tall, stylised cypress tree, with a floral design on the borders, and with a colour range of ochre and pale blue.

Place of Origin

Lahore (made)


ca. 1930 (made)



Materials and Techniques

Block-printed cotton


Length: 224 cm, Width: 87 cm

Object history note

Block-printed cotton hangings like this were used as wall decoration. The floral design of the borders of this piece, and its color range of ochre and pale blue, are typical of Lahore block-prints of the late 19th and early 20th century.

Descriptive line

Hanging of block-printed cotton, Lahore, Punjab, ca. 1930.

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

p.110, pl. 170
Colours of the Indus : costume and textiles of Pakistan / Nasreen Askari and Rosemary Crill. London: Merrell Holberton in association with the Victoria and Albert Museum, 1997 Number: 1858940443




Block printing


Textiles; Wall coverings


South & South East Asia Collection

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