This fabric panel was purchased by Dr. Reem Tariq El Mutwalli from an independent dealer in the UK in 2017 to add to and enhance The Zay Initiative collection.
This is a piece of woven woollen fabric panel with intricate and dense designs on a (Madder) red base in a multitude of colours – yellow, (Turquoise) blue, and black – and embroidered embellishment in metallic, possibly silver bullion thread in (Couching) style.
The panel is constructed out of multiple similar pieces of fabric patched together with darning. It has a repeat of medium-sized floral and (Paisley / Buta) motifs arranged alternately with the floral (Jaal) arrangement. The piece has Couching style embroidery depicting a wavy central vine with flowers and foliage arranged around it covering the three sides near the edge.
It is lined with two pieces of fabric. The first lining is on finely woven cotton with small repeats of floral motifs possibly (Block_printed) on a red base. The outer lining is a piece of blue silk fabric of (Satin) weave.
The main woven fabric is possibly a repurposed kashmiri (shawl) as it has all the tell-tale signs of the patchwork Kashmir (Jamawar) shawls manufactured in the subcontinent through the 18th and 19thcenturies. It could not be confirmed as to where the embroidery was done. Whether it was part of the fabric originally or not also remains a mystery.
The innermost lining of the panel is also possibly of Indian origin as its texture closely resembles a fine quality cotton (Mulmul) from the subcontinent along with the printed floral motifs.
Although not much is known about this piece it is distinctly South Asian in origin. It was initially added to the Ottoman section of the collection, perhaps because it was collected from there. Historically, pieces like this were available from all over the Ottoman Empire as South Asian fabric like woollen (shawl), especially from Lahore – present day Pakistan – was in high demand.
- Perlin, Frank; PROTO-INDUSTRIALIZATION AND PRE-COLONIAL SOUTH ASIA, Past & Present, Volume 98, Issue 1, February 1983, Pages 30–95, https://doi.org/10.1093/past/98.1.30
- Riello, Giorgio, and Tirthankar Roy. How India Clothed the World: The World of South Asian Textiles, 1500-1850. Brill, 2009, https://books.google.ae/books?id=niuwCQAAQBAJ&pg=PA174&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q&f=false
- “A Descriptive and Historical Account of the Cotton Manufacture of Dacca, in Bengal : A Former Resident of Dacca : Free Download, Borrow, and Streaming.” Internet Archive, 1 Jan. 1970,https://archive.org/details/1851cottonmanufactureofDacca/page/n7/mode/2up
- Tortora, Phyllis G., and Ingrid Johnson. The Fairchild Books Dictionary of Textiles. A&C Black, 2013, https://books.google.ae/books?id=LTYfAQAAQBAJ&pg=PA404&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q&f=false
- Islam, Khademul. “Our Story of Dhaka Muslin.” www.aramcoworld.com, Sept. 2022, www.aramcoworld.com/Articles/May-2016/Our-Story-of-Dhaka-Muslin.
- Gorvett, Zaria. “The Ancient Fabric That No One Knows How to Make.” BBC Future, 24 Feb. 2022, www.bbc.com/future/article/20210316-the-legendary-fabric-that-no-one-knows-how-to-make.
- Bhambry, Priyanka. “Mulmul – the History and Origins of Mulmul | Muslin.” Mulmul and More, Oct. 2021, https://mulmulandmore.com/blogs/news/Mulmul-the-history-and-origins-of-Mulmul-Muslin#:~:text=It%20is%20said%20that%20the,attained%20fame%20as%20Dhaka%20Muslin.