An Indian Palempore Chintz for the European Market
Coromandel Coast, first quarter 18th century
Cotton, mordant- and resist-dyed, painted and with floral motif.
H. 195 x W. 145 cm
In the second half of the 17th and most of the 18th-century chintzes from India became a major export product to Amsterdam and London. Chintzes from the Coromandel Coast had already been exported to South East Asia and Siam long before the arrival of the Europeans and initially, the Dutch East Indian Company used the textiles mainly to barter spices from South East Asia or for export to Persia, Siam or Japan. But in the second half of the 17th-century Indian chintzes started to be sold in Amsterdam and London and soon the Dutch and English were sending out specific orders for the regional tastes to be copied by Indian textile painters. Initially, the chintzes were hangings and bed covers, palempores, but soon the Dutch embraced the use of chintzes for fashionable women’s dress. With the accession of William and Mary to the English throne all things Dutch, including the use of chintzes for women’s dress, became popular in England as well.
The present bed cover, palempore, with its design of flower vases based on Dutch flower paintings and prints was for the Dutch market. With the central medallion and four corner ornaments, it is similar to several palempores in Dutch collections, including one in the Dutch Royal Collection (catalogue number 24 in Sits, Oost-West Relaties in Textiel, ed. Ebeltje Hartkamp-Jonxis, Uitgeverij Waanders, Zwolle).