Silk, gold; cut velvet, painted
L. 105 3/4 in. (268.6 cm), W. 221 1/4 in. (562 cm)
Purchase, Bequest of Helen W. D. Mileham, by exchange, Wendy Findlay Gift, and funds from various donors, 1981 (1981.321)
In the lavish temporary encampments used by Mughal emperors when traveling for reasons of state or pleasure, the tents were lined with beautiful textiles. This panel from the interior of a tent complex, which was made ca. 1616–35, probably for Raja Jai Singh I of Amber (Jaipur), indicates the colorful ambiance of such tent cities. The velvet ground is intensified by glittering gold leaf. The panel has five compartments, each containing a poppy plant under an arch, with floral-and-leaf scrolls in the spandrels (a typical pattern in Indian art). A floral-and-leaf motif fills the narrow borders, and the large main border shows poppy plants alternating with miniature "trees" or stylized leaves. The gold decoration was made by covering parts of the design with an adhesive substance, then placing gold leaf on top, rubbing and beating it into the surfacethe gold leaf remaining only on the treated areasand then burnishing the surface.