My Mazamet

Life at № 42

Beautiful Things: Indian Palampore or Genovese Mezzaro “Tapestries”

“A palampore is a type of hand-painted and mordant-dyed bed cover that was made in India for the export market during the eighteenth century and very early nineteenth century. Only the wealthiest classes could afford to buy palampore; therefore, the few examples that have survived are often quite valuable today. Palampore were primarily exported to Europe and to Dutch colonists in Indonesia and what was then called Ceylon.”

They’re not true tapestries because in the case of a true tapestry the design is woven into the piece rather than applied with tints/dyes/embroidery. The term tapestry is however often used – even in the case of the famous Bayeux tapestry, which is actually an embroidery.

In the 19th century artisans in Genova starting producing textiles that closely resemble Palampores and are called Mezzaros. In France they produced Indiennes that are in the same visual family, but normally don’t have the well defined borders.

Here’s one of three sets of textiles of this family that was made into curtains and was here at number 42 (in the grey salon) when we arrived. I still haven’t decided what to do with them, but I’m leaning towards selling.

15 comments on “Beautiful Things: Indian Palampore or Genovese Mezzaro “Tapestries”

  1. Tish Farrell
    February 23, 2018

    Made into curtains! This one seems to have held its colour quite well then. Would look lovely on a period bed.

    Liked by 2 people

    • The Pink Agendist
      February 23, 2018

      I’ve been somewhat flummoxed by them since we arrived because one pair has borders all around and looks much older than the other two pairs which only have borders on the outer edge and bottom – but not top. I’m not sure what the explanation for that could possibly be? Did they have a piece copied? Would that even be possible?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Tish Farrell
        February 23, 2018

        This is a fascinating mystery. Presumably the use as curtains is fairly recent? And also presumably done by someone who did not know what they were? The imagery on yours is very detailed, but somewhat curious – an oriental tree of life sort of notion with all those wildlife examples. Do you suppose some French diplomat might have commissioned them while out in India and had some particular purpose in mind for the borderless ones? And then when they ended up back in France they were later redeployed by some descendant? And is there a connection between them and the previous occupants of your house that might shed some light on this? And if you sold them, would they stay as curtains? Just being v. nosy.

        Liked by 1 person

      • The Pink Agendist
        February 23, 2018

        I don’t have a clue…! I’ve tried to put together scenarios in my mind. Did they make them in two size so the bigger ones were cut down to fit the windows? Was it a set for a bedroom where two were curtains and the more used older looking piece was the coverlet?
        I think I’ll sell them *as is*, and let the buyer decide what to do next. They’re over 3 metres tall – so if it was me deciding, I’d sew the panels back together and use them as wall hangings 🙂

        Liked by 3 people

  2. makagutu
    February 23, 2018

    They look really great.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. coteetcampagne
    February 23, 2018

    Think the curtain/ coverlet set theory probably correct.
    Would explain why it looks more “used” as bedspreads get laundered way more often than curtains
    They would be great hung behind a beautiful old bed. Sure you will have no problem selling them at all

    Liked by 1 person

  4. acflory
    February 24, 2018

    I know I’m a Philistine, but while I love the picture of the palampore in the V & A, the one in your pic doesn’t make me drool with envy. Sorry, I know it’s probably because of the lighting. 😦
    If you don’t sell it/them, have you thought about what you could do with them?

    Liked by 1 person

    • The Pink Agendist
      February 24, 2018

      The V&A piece is particularly wonderful, that’s why I chose it!
      I considered making them into cushions, but that would be sort of evil. I think just plain decorative wall hangings is the best option. The colours are soft and elegant so in the right room they’d look great.

      Like

      • acflory
        February 24, 2018

        Cushions? Heaven forbid! lol

        Like

  5. Off topic, sorry. Did you know that one of the Florida students is following you on Twitter? These kids follow very few ppl on Twitter, but many of them follow quite a few gay themed Twitter Accounts.
    Sarah Chadwick @sarahchad_

    The best tweet today is hers,

    Over 210,00 Likes, over 60,000 retweets.

    Based on who they are following on Twitter I’m thinking several of them are family.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The Pink Agendist
      February 24, 2018

      I’m completely inept at using twitter. I only look at it if I get an email notification. I’m not a smart phone user… so it’s rare I interact in real time 🙂

      Like

  6. jmnowak
    February 24, 2018

    Yes, I would use them as wall hangings.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. davidprosser
    February 24, 2018

    They’re quite stunning. I imagine they would sell quite easily but I’m sure you’d miss them.
    Hugs

    Liked by 1 person

  8. rabirius
    February 25, 2018

    They’re really beautiful.

    Like

  9. handicrunch
    May 19, 2018

    See amazing online collection of different types Wall Hanging Tapestry: https://bit.ly/2I3FXfF

    Like

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This entry was posted on February 23, 2018 by in art, Mazamet and tagged , , , , .
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