PAINTED-AND-DYED COTTON PALAMPORE
Indian for the European Market, early 18th c.
Numerous and diverse foreign markets for Indian painted-and-dyed cottons in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, when they were among the most desirable and prodigiously produced textiles, led to seemingly unlimited variations on the symbolic Tree of Life associated with the large hangings known as palampores. This example, found in the port town of Nantes, France, combines a typically bold central field with border elements distinctive to the market for which it was created. The dramatic tree, with its oversized florals, scrolling leaves, delicate tendrils, and urns at the sides, features the fineness of detail for which these textiles are known. The leaves, petals and branches, in rich shades of red and blue, contain within their outlines intricate filigree patterns. The palampore’s border, comprising vivid flowers interspersed with small tufts arranged in half-drop repeats characteristic of French block-printed cottons, reflects a design vocabulary intended to appeal to eighteenth-century European consumers of Indian cloths. In select flowers there appears an unusual shaded, ombré-like effect, associated with warp-printed textiles and ikats. Red linear accents enhance the ombré areas, conveying a painterly gesture and calligraphic effect.
101” H x 79” W