Textile fragment - ROM2016_15433_4


Textile fragment

Medium:Chintz: cotton tabby, block-printed resist
Geography: Made in western India for the Egyptian market
Date: 1400-1450
11.3 x 47 cm
Object number: 978.76.304
Credit Line: Abemayor Collection given in memory of Dr. Veronika Gervers, Associate Curator, Textile Department (1968-1979) by Albert and Federico Friedberg. Certified by the Canadian Cultural Property Export Review Board under the terms of the Cultural Property Export and Import Act. Attestée par la Commission canadienne d'examen des exportations de biens culturels en vertu de la Loi sur l'exportation et l'importation de biens culturels.
On view
Gallery Location:The Patricia Harris Gallery of Textiles & Costume

One thousand years ago, Egypt was importing enormous quantities of chintz from western India, for garments and home furnishings. The design vocabulary for this Islamic market included geometric shapes, stylized plants and birds, and Arabic inscriptions. Cottons painted in three colours were luxuries, but block prints in two colours were more affordable to common people. Their still-vivid colours are astounding.

This is an especially attractive example, showing stepped squares and diamond shapes as the main design field, with a continuous running vine border. It was done with block-printed resist, using a wax or resin to block out the design prior to dyeing. As a result, the pattern appears as white against a blue background. The fabric was then immersed into an indigo dye vat, which produced the blue colour. The block print is carefully executed, and the depth of indigo blue is remarkable, considering it was dyed six hundred years ago. The textile has an unusually precise carbon-14 range, with a calibrated date between 1400 and 1450 CE.

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