, Coverlet or hanging [palampore] Enlarge 1 /1
traded to Europe Coverlet or hanging [palampore] 1700–25 Description: with 'tree of life' motif
Place made: Peddapalli (Petaboli), Andhra Pradesh Coromandel coast, India India
Materials & Technique: textiles, cotton, mordants, natural dyes; cotton, natural dyes and mordants; mordant painting, batik
Dimensions: 248.5 h x 231.1 w cm
Acknowledgement: Purchased 2006
Accession No: NGA 2006.1038

In the pre-industrial era, Indian dyeing technology was internationally unsurpassed. India’s Coromandel Coast (along the south-eastern shores of present-day Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh) was renowned for hand-painting, and resist and indigo dyeing on fine cotton cloths.

This impressive cloth was created using a combination of mordant painting, using both iron and alum mordants, which fixed the black and red colours respectively to the cotton threads. Textiles such as this were created in many stages and probably by a number of artisans, each specialising in different aspects of production. Cloths of this style were especially produced for the European market, where they were used as bed covers, wall hangings and drapery.

The ‘tree of life’ design was one of the most admired decorative images on palampore textiles. In this example two large flowering trees, displaying a variety of oversized floral motifs, emerge from mirroring mounds. Their upper branches extend to curl around a large central star-shaped medallion. The sinuous tree design of this cloth is typical of those created for international trade, with an emphasis on the imaginative and decorative floral motifs rather than the tree itself. The Indian palampore has had an enormous impact on international decorative arts and design.


Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra 2010
From: Ron Radford (ed), Collection highlights: National Gallery of Australia, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, 2008

In the pre-industrial era, Indian dyeing technology was internationally unsurpassed. India’s Coromandel coast (along the south-eastern shores of present-day Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh) was renowned for hand-painting, and resist and indigo dyeing on fine cotton fabric. This impressive cloth (palampore) was finely painted with a combination of different mordants including iron oxide and alum which fixed the black and red colours respectively to the cotton threads during dyeing. Such textiles were created in many stages and probably by a number of artisans, each specialising in different aspects of production. Cloths of this style were especially produced for the European market, where they were used as bed covers, wall hangings and drapery. The Indian palampore has had an enormous impact on international decorative arts and design.

The ‘tree of life’ design was one of the most admired decorative images on palampore textiles. In this example two large flowering trees, each displaying a variety of oversized floral blooms, emerge from mirroring mounds. Their upper branches extend to curl around a large central star-shaped medallion. The sinuous tree design of this cloth is typical of those created for international trade, with an emphasis on the imaginative and decorative floral motifs rather than the tree itself.


Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra 2014
From: Collection highlights: National Gallery of Australia, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, 2014