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Chamba Rumal

Chamba rumal (Chamba coverlet), Himachal Pradesh, India, early 19th century. Chamba rumal (Chamba coverlet), Himachal Pradesh, India, early 19th century. Copyright Philadelphia Museum of Art, acc. no. 1969-231-1.

Chamba rumals are embroidered coverlet traditionally produced in the northwest of the Indian subcontinent, in the ancient principality of Chamba, now part of the modern province of Himachal Pradesh, in and around the district of Kangra and its capital, Dharamshala. 

The rumal (coverlet) was traditionally square or rectangular in shape, and made of silk or fine cotton. They were often used to cover wedding gifts. Silk thread was used for the embroidery itself. The technique used was that of dohara tanka, a type of double darning stitch, and the motifs were worked on both sides of the material. The motifs are generally taken from Indian mythology, including the Mahabharata, the stories of Krishna, etc., and show clear influences from the Mughal art of miniatures of the Chamba court in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.

Nowadays the production of chamba rumals is officially being promoted and its quality is being protected.

See also the entries on various chamba rumals, such as a chamba rumal with Ganesha (now in the Victoria and Albert Museum, London), and a chamba rumal with Krishna and his gopis (now in the Los Angeles County Museum of Art). Finally there is an entry on an eighteenh century chamba rumal, also housed in the Victoria and Albert.

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Last modified on Saturday, 10 December 2016 20:19