FLOOR-SPREAD OR COVERLET WITH FLORAL EMBROIDERY

18th century, probably Deccan, India

204cm high, 130cm wide

Provenance: from the collection of Henry-Rene d'Allemagne

Stock no.: A5388

 

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Full Description

FLOOR-SPREAD OR COVERLET WITH FLORAL EMBROIDERY

This rectangular floor-spread or coverlet with elaborate floral designs is embroidered with long floats of coloured floss silk, with the entire ground hidden by crouched metal-wrapped thread to create a shimmering effect. The outer band of the spread is made up of undulating foliage of inward and outward facing flower heads, followed by a thin border of smaller floral motifs in a similar manner. The central lozenge-shaped cartouche as well as the four corner spandrels contain large carnation compositions, with further floral motifs densely applied throughout the background. The red and blue flower outlines strike a balancing contrast against the golden background, creating a refined overall composition.

This type of embroidery was made in the Deccan in the 18th century for both the local courts and export to Europe. They are noticeably different in terms of style and technique from their Mughal counterparts, which are predominantly in fine chain stitch done with tightly twisted silk thread on a cotton ground. Our piece contains distinctively Deccani elements, including the satin stitch in floss silk and the background completely covered with metal-wrapped thread embroidery. It is likely that our piece was made for the local courts, as it is in a format ultimately derived from Islamic book covers, with a central medallion and corner motifs (Crill:2015). A slightly larger embroidered textile of identical composition at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, is said to have belonged to Tipu Sultan of Mysore, who died at the battle of Seringapatam in 1799. 



Comparative materials:

Victoria and Albert Museum, London (784-1864IM.2-1912); The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (05.25.2); The Textile Museum of Canada, Toronto (T94.0829); Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond (95.79)

Reference:

Crill, Rosemay, ed. The Fabric of India. London: V&A Publishing, 2015. p. 123 & Illus 134, p. 129

 

FLOOR-SPREAD OR COVERLET WITH FLORAL EMBROIDERY


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