Printed chintz cloth or mat

India or Persia

Date: c.1860

Origin: India or Persia

Dimensions: H 108cm x W 101cm

Venue: Gawthorpe Textiles Collection

The front of this cloth features a heavily patterned floral central square surrounded by several narrower borders and an intricate edging of ‘Paisley’ boteh or buta motifs. These heavily stylised teardrop or pinecone shapes originated in Persian design but also became popular in India, particularly in Kashmiri shawls. The English term for the pattern comes from the town of Paisley in Scotland, where copies of Kashmir shawls were produced industrially.

The main fabric is block printed with some painting or ‘pencilling’; the outlines have been printed first followed by the colours. The backing may be a roller print as the pattern has much crisper edges and while there is some offsetting the uniformity of it indicates that it may the product of more industrial printing process. The striped fabric used for the binding is probably another block print. It shows as a narrow edging on the front and as a deeper band on the back. The binding has been cut on the bias so that the stripes appear diagonally. All three fabrics are fine plain weave cotton and have retained their original glazed or polished finishes, indicating that the cloth has probably not been washed.

Cloths such as these might have been produced in India or Persia for the local market and used as mats, table coverings or wall hangings to decorate the home. They were also made for the European export market and Indian fabrics were especially popular in Britain, France and the Netherlands during the 18th and 19th centuries.

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