Sunday, January 10, 2010

Art of the Mughal Court

The high end customers for the skilled Indian textile craftsmen of the 17th century were often the royal courts of India. Golkonda in central India and the Mughal empire, an Islamic power than began (Classic period 1556-1707) in the northern regions and slowly extended its control southward.  The last Mughal king was exiled by the British in 1857.

The early floral borders of Persian minatures contained rather stylized blooms. The introduction to the Mughal court of European herbals and Flemish engravings with borders containing detailed and natural looking irises, narcissi, tulips, poppies and of course, roses along with the famous flower gardens of Kashmir lead to the popularity (especially in the decade of 1620-30) of floral motifs in marble and jade carvings, woven silks and carpets and 'printed' on cotton fabrics.

Section of a Tent Hanging or Curtain, late 17th century

                          Plain weave cotton, painted and treated with mordants, resist medium and dyes


  1. I was in India not so long ago. There are villiages of crafts people still using natural dyes, mordants and chemical pigments to block print with traditional wooden stamps. I was lucky enough to bring back some block printed fabric and wooden stamps. Most of all I will treasure the photographs I have of thier work. I also have submitted an article for aproval for inclusion in Textile Fibre Forum in a later issue this year.

  2. Hi Margo: I find it fascinating to follow trends in art expression as reflected in textiles, home decoration, and other forms of artistic expression such as painting and carving. Such exciting connections, and so helpful in understanding social history and how such concepts trickled down. Thank you for yet another thought-provoking post.
    Janet in Nova Scotia

  3. As you build your collection, organizing and cataloging the documentation becomes a serious endeavor. Zachary