A rare Mughal velvet panel North India, 17th Century

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Lot 159
A rare Mughal velvet panel
North India, 17th Century

£ 25,000 - 35,000
US$ 34,000 - 48,000
A rare Mughal velvet panel
North India, 17th Century
composed of three conjoined sections, decorated in green and ivory on a crimson ground, with large-scale lattice design of serrated vines, alternating rows of stellate and lobed cartouches, each cartouche issuing flowerheads and serrated leaves with a floral motif to centre, each row of cartouches separated by a band of stylised flowerheads
211 x 182 cm.

Footnotes

  • Provenance
    Private Italian collection
    Formerly in the collection of Nasli Heeramaneck and thence by descent

    Nasli Heeramaneck (1902-1971) was a Parsi-American collector and dealer who specialised in Asian and European art and antiques. Born in Mumbai, he moved to Paris in the late 1920s and later settled in New York. He had a large collection of bronzes from Luristan, one of which was sold to the British Museum. Other works collected by him and his wife, Alice, are held by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

    Luxurious textiles played a key role in courtly life in the Mughal empire. During ceremonies and festivals, palaces were adorned with lavish tents, awnings, carpets and curtains. Mughal emperors embellished their canopied thrones by surrounding them with sumptuous awnings as a display of their power and wealth, and rich textiles were given alongside gem-set jewellery, weapons and gold and silver utensils as courtly gifts. Tents which provided accommodation for the Emperor and his courtiers and attendants whilst on hunting expeditions or military campaigns were transformed into luxury residences by furnishing them with carpets and richly-embroidered silks and velvets.

    It is likely that velvet textiles were introduced to the Mughal empire from Safavid Persia, and whilst some were purchased there, it is thought that Persian craftsmen skilled in velvet weaving were present in Akbar's workshops. As a result, Safavid and Mughal velvets are often hard to distinguish from one another. However the use of crimson red, which was the imperial colour, and the design of the present lot indicate that it was produced for the Mughal court. Textiles were indicative of status and Akbar, Jahangir and Shah Jahan were all thought to have issued rulings on who could wear what sort of fabrics, with Shah Jahan and Jahangir claiming certain types of textiles for their exclusive use. Crimson-red velvets were likely some of the most desirable fabrics at the court.

    A panel with identical design and possibly from the same textile is in the Victoria and Albert Museum, number 664-1883.
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A rare Mughal velvet panel North India, 17th Century
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