About this object

History of use

Wall frieze used in Hindu homes for religious and other auspicious occasions.

Cultural context


Iconographic meaning

Elephants represent power and authority, and are the mount of the minor god Indra. Ganesh, the elephant headed son of Shiva, is known as the lord of obstacles, who clears the way, and carries good luck. Krishna is an incarnation of Vishnu, the preserver of the world, and is recognized by his dark skin and by his playful antics with milkmaids.

Specific techniques

Patchwork thread is 2 ply s twist silk; balanced plain weave 1/1. Binding is 2 ply z twist silk; balanced plain weave 1/1; lining is 2 ply z twist cotton, balanced plain weave 1/1. Beadwork thread is 2 ply z twist cotton.

Physical description

Long narrow hanging with centre beaded panel. The panel has stylized human, god and animal forms in dark blue, red, yellow and green on a white background. The left quarter has horses and human figures carrying lights, surrounded on four sides by a row of small elephants and a narrow dark border on three sides. The remaining three quarters are constructed separately and sewn to first section. From left to right are animal, bird and geometric figures; five squares with a multi-armed human figure, an elephant headed human figure, animals and a geometric design, followed by a dark skinned male figure and two females; remaining portion has numerous, different animals and two stylized trees. The whole section is bordered with yellow and white diamonds on a dark blue background. The five squares are separated by a similar vertical diamond border; narrow blue and white border at top, bottom and right end. The beadwork is stitched to textile with long running stitches. The panel is framed with machine stitched silk border of red and yellow chevron patchwork. Backing is of coarse red cotton with eighteen machine stitched hanging loops on top and twenty-one loops on the bottom.