Burhanpur, Deccan, India
Cotton, stenciled, mordant–dyed, and painted; H. 77 1/2 in. (196.9 cm), W. 51 in. (129.5 cm)
Purchase, Friends of Islamic Art Gifts, 2005 (2005.251)
This tent lining belongs to a class of cloths known as chintza term generally referring to resist-dyed, stenciled, and painted cotton textiles produced in India and used for clothing as well as furnishing. Its design consists of a large central pale-yellow medallion pattern, filled with floral and foliate motifs, set against a pomegranate-red background and surrounded by smaller ornamented roundels whose patterns resemble that of the main medallion. The lower section shows a horizontal floral band, where stems and minor blossoms frame irises and poppies. The place of its production is probably Burhanpur, India, where it was made for export to Ottoman Turkey in about 17001740.
From the sixteenth century onward, chintz, initially exchanged for spices and subsequently traded as a luxury item, became one of India's most famed exports to Europe. This example, which was found lining the inside of an Ottoman tent in Bulgaria, is a rare representative of the exchange between India and the Ottoman world at this time. In terms of style, the piece reflects an appealing combination of strong Islamic and Indian taste. The choice of plants represented (the central lotus, the poppy, the iris), the thin floral garlands surrounding the medallions, and the high border with oversized blossoms are all Indian elements, the carnations and ogival palmettes are Ottoman in spirit, while the bold medallions are universally Islamic.