Palampore (textile panel) - ROM2018_16183_7


Palampore (textile panel)

Medium:Chintz: cotton tabby, painted, mordant-dyed, resist-dyed, overpainted
Geography: Made in coastal southeast India for the Western (probably Dutch) market
Date: 1700-1749
317.4 x 259 cm
Object number: 934.4.21
Credit Line: Harry Wearne Collection, Gift of Mrs. Harry Wearne
On view
Gallery Location:Samuel European Galleries: Temporary Exhibition Space

When ordering cottons for Europe, officials of the East India Companies often asked Indian artisans to run with their imagination and create patterns with "good brisk colours, the works of any sort of rambling fancy’s of the country." This wall hanging fulfills their request with several stylized Indian plants that would have been known to the artisans. The flowers and fruits depicted on this wall hanging include the following:

1) elephant apple Dillenia indica; native to India and South East Asia. This highly stylized flower has purple petals bent backwards to expose a whorl of white stamens surrounding the red and white pistil. Dillenia indica was described and named by botanist Carolus Linnaeus in 1759 to honour the German botanist Johann Jacob Dillenius (1684-1747), and India, the place where it was collected. The common name, elephant apple, describes the fruit which is a favourite food of wild elephants. For centuries, the species has been valued for its medicinal properties and for its sweet fruits used in curries, jellies, and juices.

2) flame lily Gloriosa superba; native to India and Africa. This tropical vine has distinct, drooping flowers whose jagged petals turn scarlet red and arch backward when mature. A previous description of this wall hanging called these flowers "parrot tulips."

3) tree cotton Gossypium arboreum; native to India. Tree cotton, cultivated for centuries, has distinctly long oval fruits or "bolls." This motif, with its dangling, rough-textured lobes, looks like a fruit, not a flower. The curator has identified it as cotton.

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