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  • Place of origin:

    Coromandel Coast (made)

  • Date:

    ca.1710-1720 (made)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Mordant and resist dyed cotton (chintz)

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    South Asia, Room 41, case 6B

Handkerchiefs like this one with small scenes (vignettes) in the centre were popular in France in the 18th century. This one shows a scene from la Fontaine's fable 'The Lion, the Monkey and the Two Asses'. The lion sits on a high-backed chair at the left of the scene, with the monkey on the ground before him and the two asses to the right. The corner elements and the border, some of which is missing on all four sides, are also in a French style.

Physical description

A square handkerchief of painted and dyed cotton (chintz). The central octagon contains a depiction of a scene from La Fontaine's fable 'The Lion, the Monkey and the Two Asses'. The lion sits, crowned, upon a throne under two trees; in front of him is the monkey; the two asses are on the right.

Outside the central compartment are scattered a number of floral sprigs; in the corners are vases of flower, on stands with feet terminating in scroll-like foliations.

The borders have large scrolling designs of fleurs-de-lis floral devices and foliage, on the last of which small owls are perched.

Place of Origin

Coromandel Coast (made)


ca.1710-1720 (made)

Materials and Techniques

Mordant and resist dyed cotton (chintz)


Height: 115.5 cm, Width: 117 cm, Length: 45 in, Width: 45 in

Descriptive line

Handkerchief of painted and dyed cotton (chintz), made on the Coromandel Coast, c. 1710-1720; Textiles; Accessories

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

p. 108, cat. no. 110, pl. 94
Irwin, John and Katherine Brett, Origins of Chintz, London, 1970. With a catalogue of Indo-European cotton-paintings in the Victoria & Albert Museum, London, and the Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto. ISBN 112900534.
Plate 49, p. 98
Crill, Rosemary, Chintz: Indian Textiles for the West, London, 2008.

Labels and date

Cotton, mordant- and resist-dyed
Coromandel Coast for the French market
c. 1720

Coromandel Coast chintz was produced through a process of drawing and dyeing by hand. The adaptability of this technique meant European designs and motifs could be easily imitated. The central scene on this fragment is from Jean de La Fontaine’s fable of ‘The Lion, the Monkey and the Two Asses’. The border motifs are in the style of engravings by French designer Jean Berain (1640-1711). [01/08/2017]
Handkerchief or centre of a palampore
Painted and dyed cotton
Coromandel Coast, under French patronage
First half of 18th century
The central vignette is a scene by an unidentified artist illustrating La Fontaine's fable 'The Lion, the Monkey and the two Asses'. The border, now cropped and incomplete, is in the style of engravings by Jean Berain (1638-1711). The textile retains traces of quilting and its original function is uncertain.
T 173-1921 [26/11/1990-25/11/2002]




Mordant dyed; Resist dyed

Subjects depicted

Lion; Monkey


Accessories; Textiles


South & South East Asia Collection

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