Decorative Arts

Qanat Tent Hanging

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Qanat Tent Hanging
18th Century

Place of origin: Rajasthan
Materials: Cotton, painted, printed
Dimensions: L: 220 W: 123 cm 56.23/84

Mughals had an exceptional passion for out-camp life and gorgeous tentage was their make-shift home. Babur is believed to have passed in tents more time of his life than what he passed in palaces. Obviously, the Mughals' love for beautiful tentage was as deep as for any other class of textiles. Its roofing or canopying and flooring components apart, qanats, that structured outer protective walls, inner walls and defined the entire interior into the Emperor's bedchamber, waiting hall and other apartments, the most phenomenal part of the tentage, were conceived and crafted with utmost care and more sensitively than its other parts. The cult of printing/painting qanats with floral and other decorative designs, not illustrating myths, legends and other religious subjects, was obviously the Islamic influence which more powerfully infused into Indian life under Mughals.

Around the mid 17th century Mughals developed special liking for floral designs. Later, similar schemes/design-patterns were used for decorating furnishing materials like carpet, floor spread, canopy, qanat - tent hanging... a qanat being more popular than any. This beautiful qanat - just one panel, in cream base, is partially painted and partially printed using an elaborate floral design-scheme. The main butah - a composite flower-form with leaves forms interwoven, the central design-motif of the qanat, has been rendered under an arched space that a rectangular frame with a floral border defines. The butah elevating on a floral triangle is flanked, or rather surrounded, by multi-patterned creepers occupying the entire space under the arch. Vividly conceived with a wide range of flowers the entire composition is simply brilliant. Depiction of floral creeper and stylized leaf pattern on borders makes it more beautiful.

Other Related Exhibits

Dasavatara shrine
The Temple Door
Surahi, the vessel with high neck
Gulab pash: Rose Water Sprinkler
Base of Hookah or Huqqa representing scenes from Padmavata
Pallu - end panel of a saree
Qanat Tent Hanging
Namavali shawl depict Shiva Parvati
Rumal (coverlet) depicts Gajantaka story
Pagri Headgear