Cotton, other fibers; plain weave, printed and painted
L. 23 in. (58.4 cm), W. 39 3/4 in. (101 cm)
Gift of George D. Pratt, 1931 (31.106.64)
This repeat-patterned cloth is made from a mixture of silk and cotton known as mulham. Arab geographers localize the production of mulham to Iran and Central Asia. Mulham cloth may have decorations, mainly inscriptions, which were added by embroidering at the time of manufacture. A small number of examples, such as this one, bear patterns printed with different stamps on the glazed surface of the cloth. Here, lions in brown squares with pearl borders alternate with lions in squares of undyed fabric. The animals with floral elements and the squares with pearl borders are similar in style to those on glazed ceramic tiles from Ghazni, in eastern Afghanistan, the capital city of a dynasty that ruled from the tenth to the twelfth centuries.