dhavalo ? (Ceremonial Panel)

About this object

History of use

Panels like this one have many uses, e.g., wedding water-pot cover, ritual table cover, etc. The presence of ties along one edge suggests that this panel had a specific use. A ceremonial panel is sometimes called a dhavalo cloth, with reference to the dhavalo songs, prayers and vows of mourning traditionally undertaken by a new bride.


Purchased on the street in Gujarat.

Cultural context


Iconographic meaning

The use of cowry shells (a form of wealth) as decoration is an indicator of the panel’s importance as a ritual object.

Physical description

Rectangular, embroidered, and appliquéd textile panel, decorated with square mirrors. Panel edged with closely-spaced cowry shells on three sides; the top edge has three black fibre ties, evenly space along the edge. Bottom edge has three ‘tassels’ made of clusters of cowry shells and metal beads (cylindrical and bell-shaped). Six large square mirrors and several small square mirrors, worked on a bright pink and orange background, and in the center of the panel, are surrounded by a border of small square mirrors. The panel is lined with red and tan resist-dyed textile.