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Wall Hanging

ca. 1650-1700 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

Much of the decoration in Mughal and other Indian courts was provided by patterned textiles, both on the floor and the walls, as well as in the colourful dress of the courtiers. This elegant embroidered panel would have been hung on a wall or perhaps used as a curtain over a window. The design, of a flowering plant placed within an arched niche, is typical of Mughal production in the seventeenth century, and variations of it can be seen in all media from architecture to manuscript painting.

This hanging was made by professional male embroiderers from Gujarat in western India, an area famed even today for its fine embroidery. The craftsmen were of the Mochi community, originally workers in leather, who adapted the chain-stitch they used to decorate shoes and horse-trappings to embroidery on cloth. Their work was so fine that it was sought after by the Mughal court and also traded to Europe through the East India Company in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. The fineness of the work on this piece, and the beautifully dyed silk threads, using indigo and expensive lac dye, indicate that it was almost certainly used at the Mughal court.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Embroidered cotton with silks
Brief Description
Wall hanging of embroidered cotton with silks, India, ca. 1650-1700
Physical Description
Wall hanging of embroidered cotton with silks in chain stitch, and with a floral pattern in red and green. Flowering plant motive within an arched compartment with acanthus edging. The spandrels and outer border are filled with continuous floral stems. Colours are red, blue, yellow and green on a white ground. Possibly a prayer mat.
Dimensions
  • Length: 243cm
  • Width: 56cm
Style
Credit line
Given by Miss F. J. Lefroy
Subject depicted
Summary
Much of the decoration in Mughal and other Indian courts was provided by patterned textiles, both on the floor and the walls, as well as in the colourful dress of the courtiers. This elegant embroidered panel would have been hung on a wall or perhaps used as a curtain over a window. The design, of a flowering plant placed within an arched niche, is typical of Mughal production in the seventeenth century, and variations of it can be seen in all media from architecture to manuscript painting.



This hanging was made by professional male embroiderers from Gujarat in western India, an area famed even today for its fine embroidery. The craftsmen were of the Mochi community, originally workers in leather, who adapted the chain-stitch they used to decorate shoes and horse-trappings to embroidery on cloth. Their work was so fine that it was sought after by the Mughal court and also traded to Europe through the East India Company in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. The fineness of the work on this piece, and the beautifully dyed silk threads, using indigo and expensive lac dye, indicate that it was almost certainly used at the Mughal court.
Bibliographic References
  • Swallow, Deborah and John Guy eds. Arts of India: 1550-1900. text by Rosemary Crill, John Guy, Veronica Murphy, Susan Stronge and Deborah Swallow. London : V&A Publications, 1990. 240 p., ill. ISBN 1851770224, p.91, no.66.
  • The Indian Heritage. Court life and Arts under Mughal Rule London: The Victoria and Albert Museum, 1982 Number: ISBN 0 906969 26 3p. 90, cat. no. 232. Veronica Murphy
  • Jackson, Anna and Ji Wei (eds.) with Rosemary Crill, Ainsley M. Cameron and Nicholas Barnard, compiled by the Palace Museum, translated by Yuan Hong, Qi Yue and Liu Ran. The Splendour of India' Royal Courts : Collection of the Victoria and Albert Museum. Beijing: the Forbidden City Publishing House, 2013. Text in English and Chinese. ISBN 9787513403917.pps.76-77
  • Luxury goods from India : the art of the Indian cabinet maker / Amin Jaffer. London: V&A Publications, 2002 Number: 1851773819p.61, ill.
  • Indian embroidery / Rosemary Crill ; photography by Richard Davis. London: V&A Publications, 1999 Number: 185177310X, 1851772944 (pbk.)p.43, pl. 25
  • Irwin; John, Indian Embroidery (large picture book, no. 7) London: H. M. Stationery Office, Victoria & Albert Museum, 1951pl. 6
Collection
Accession Number
IS.168-1950

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record createdDecember 15, 1999
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