Illustrative textiles began as a way to tell stories about Hindu mythology, instead of relying on word of mouth. The tree of life is a common motif, and it expresses the interconnection of all life on our planet. The top of the tree reaches to the sky, and the roots connect to the earth.
This method of block printing and hand painting has been dated back to as far as 3000 B.C., and is still practiced today in both India and Iran. The process takes 23 steps- naturally bleaching, washing, and softening the fabric, then drawing on the black outlines, washing again, and adding color are some of them. Traditionally, natural dyes were used, so they typically had the same color palette of rust, mustard, indigo, green, and black.
This piece was made to be a wall hanging based on the design of the borders, and was made in India for the Persian market. A polychromatic tree of life is centered and complimented by a mustard-yellow outlined arch. The piece is surrounded by an intricate block-printed border.
Circa: 19th century
Inventory number: TX5098