Cypress Tree Kalamkari
The word kalamkari is derived from “kalam” meaning pen, and “kari” meaning work. 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 Iran and India. Kalamkari began as a way to celebrate and honor Hindu deities and stories, and expanded in style due to its popularity on trade routes.
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 may have been made as a wall hanging, but the lack of border indicates its intention might have been to be made into something else, like clothing or bedding. A large cypress tree containing multiple birds is centered and surrounded by smaller trees to the left and right. Above and below the trees are detailed floral and geometric borders.
Circa: Early 20th Century
Dimensions: 102.5" H x 69" W
Inventory number: TX5099