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Floor Covering

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India Anonymous,
Floor Covering, 1753-1810
234 in. x 36 in. (594.36 cm x 91.44 cm)

Object Type: Textile
Technique: Woven
Accession Number: T638

An excellent example of Kashmiri weaving. (Richard Mellott)

Various colored cashmere wool, tapestry woven.

Object Description
Kashmiri textile from the mid eighteenth century and middle of Kashmir’s Afghan era. Persian-influenced carpet style design, with medallions on a mille-fleur field surrounded by composite borders of butah, or paisley, shapes. Green field in central medallions is quite unusual. Excellent example of Kashmiri weaving.

At nearly twenty feet long, this exquisitely detailed piece ranks among the most magnificent textiles in the Ruth Chandler Williamson Gallery’s collection. This piece was probably made as a commission piece for a special place in the home. It was also probably made for either a wealthy Muslim family, or perhaps a noble Khan of Central Asia.

Hand-woven before the invention of the jacquard loom, this piece took a remarkable amount of time and skill to make. To begin with, it is woven with at least six colors, and in an intricate floral “mille-fleur,” design. Likewise, it is extremely light, thin, and soft—trademarks of the finest kinds of Kashmiri twill weaving. It is important to note that the piece was not woven in one section, but ten. That the joins between the sections are flat, and invisible from the front side of the cloth, is once again testament to the weaver’s skill.
Ames, Frank. The Kashmir Shawl and its Indo-French Influence. Woodbridge, Suffolk, UK: Antique Collectors, 1986.
Irwin, John. The Kashmir Shawl. London, UK: Victoria & Albert Museum, 1973.
Rehman, Sherry, and Jafri Naheed. The Kashmiri Shawl: from Jamavar to Paisley. Easthampton, MA: Woodbridge: Antique Collectors' Club, 2006.

(Tara Contractor SC’13, Academic Year Wilson Intern 2010-2011)

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Large medallion detail
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Small medallion detail

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