Early Masterpiece Shawls of Kashmir

Plate Navigation


Plate Three
Length: approximately 5 inches
Width: approximately 3 1/2 inches
Condition: fragment
Collection: Victoria and Albert Museum; London


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This small fragment was also found in the underlining of Tipu Sultan's Rich War Jacket. Unlike the question of Plate One's original size and layout this fragment, like Plate Two, was undoubtedly from one of the decorated end panels of a traditional long wearing shawl. If you look closely at the top right corner, evidence of the side border still remains(fig.20).

The background color feuillemort, or dead-leaf as it is known in English, was often mentioned in the contemporary accounts of this period as one of the favorites of the Emperor and his Court. There are, however, few remaining examples and this one of the earliest.

Some writers have opined the practice of using large plants on shawls originated after illustrated English botanical books, as items of gift and trade, were introduced into India. While they may have had some influence on style or design it surely is far from absolute fact. The Mughal appreciation for flowers, which actually bordered on worship, pre-dates any contact with the English or their printed books. In fact, it pre-dates the Mughal conquest of India. Floral decoration in Central Asia, their original homeland, was a major theme in every artistic media and this interest was brought with them and not initiated after their conquest of Northern India.