Chintz palampore (textile panel) - ROM2009_10551_1


Chintz palampore (textile panel)

Medium:Painted and resist-dyed cotton tabby with gold leaf
Geography: Made on the Coromandel Coast (northern region) of India for the European market
Date: 1700-1749
365.6 × 256.4 cm
Object number: 934.4.13
Credit Line: Harry Wearne Collection, Gift of Mrs. Harry Wearne
Not on view
DescriptionThis elaborate floral textile, known as a chintz palampore, was produced on the Coromandel Coast in southeast India specifically for the European market. Indo-European palampores constitute one of the most articulate expressions of hybrid design in the early modern period. The colors of red, violet, blue, yellow and black are used to depict a serpentine tree with exposed roots and scroll-patterned trunk rising from a scaled mound. The design uses both large fanciful flowers and smaller sprays with peacocks and spiky shrubs flanking the base. The design is produced through block-printing embellished with hand-painted details and gold leaf appliqué. The piece is edged with a blue strip that has a faintly visible telugu inscription on it, a language from South India. The border pattern shows vases overflowing with interconnected branches and flowers. The flowering tree motif on most palampores is a hybrid design of Persian, European, Indian, and Chinese visual traditions based on the “tree of life.” The style developed in the seventeenth century based on Indian painted and dyed textiles called kalamkari but was suited to European tastes. The imported Indian painted cottons, with their brilliant fast colors, were a striking contrast to contemporary European fabrics. Cotton was a welcome and colourful change from the linen and wool fabrics that dominated Europe. These colourfast cotton fabrics became very popular in Europe and the palampores, or panels with flowering tree designs, were used as wall and bed hangings, or fashioned into coverlets. The growing demand for Indian painted cotton in the third quarter of the seventeenth century played an important role in the development of the European textile printing industry.
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