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traded to Thailand Ceremonial furnishing cloth [pha lai yang] 18th century Place made: Coromandel coast, India
Materials & Technique: textiles, ceremonial objects, handspun cotton, natural dyes and mordants handspun cotton, natural dyes, mordants; mordant painting, batik
Dimensions: 93.3 h x 292.5 w cm
Acknowledgement: Purchased 1981
Accession No: NGA 81.1160

During the 17th and 18th centuries, textile manufacturers of India’s Coromandel coast produced mordant painted and printed cotton cloths for various international markets. This textile was made specifically for Thailand’s Ayutthaya court. The central field consists of a grid of tendrils with a mythical garuda bird at each intersection. The flame-like roundels each enclose three Buddhist celestial beings – a crowned divinity [thepanom] flanked by two dancing nymphs. The end panels display superb decorative patterns, illustrating the technical mastery of the Indian textile painters and dyers. Similar imagery and designs appear in Thai art of the Ayutthaya and early Sukhothai periods, such as woodcarvings, manuscript paintings and architectural decoration.

Thai wall paintings reveal that Indian trade textiles functioned as coverings, hangings, curtains and clothing. As this cloth features Buddhist deities, it was probably used during ceremonies.

Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra 2011
From: Asian gallery extended display label