late 1600s–early 1700s
Cotton: plain weave, quilted; silk and gilt-metal thread: embroidery, couched laid work
Overall: 251.5 x 330.2 cm (99 x 130 in.)
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. J. H. Wade 1916.1359
A small blue and yellow bird perches at the center of the otherwise solely floral design.
In the center, a blue and gold bird grasps the curling stem of a trilobed flower. Bright colors and dizzying patterns radiate from this medallion, creating a delicate garden set against a soft white ground. In changing light, the gilt- and silver-wrapped threads animate the entire textile.
Techniques for creating metal-wrapped threads were introduced to Indian workshops in the early 1700s by Portuguese merchants, who frequently traded in Indian textiles. However, embroidery techniques have been in use on the subcontinent since ancient times, as evidenced by the discovery of bronze needles and the representation of textiles in sculpture and paintings.
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