Block-printed Mamluk textile fragment
Date: Thirteenth century
Location or Findspot (Modern-Day Country): Egypt
Dimensions: 11.5 × 19.1 cm
Description: This textile fragment from Mamluk Egypt was made by block printing, using an inked wooden block to impress the repeated patterns on undyed linen. The six-pointed stars were widely used apotropaic and decorative devices not associated with a particular faith or cultural group. The larger multipetal rosettes feature a central roundel containing the repeated Arabic inscription "the sultan"; the petals contain Chinese lotus flowers and knots. These designs may have been inspired by Mongol objects and fabrics that reached Egypt, or they could be imitations of block-printed fabrics from India, to which Egypt was connected by well-traveled sea routes. Fabrics from medieval Gujarat have been found in Egypt, but this piece was probably made in the Mamluk realm as in imitation of a more costly silk.
Relevant Textbook Chapter(s): 9
Repository and Online Resources: • The textile fragment is in the Cleveland Museum of Art (Gift of George D. Pratt 1929.907) • For Indian block-printed textiles in Egypt, see the Newberry Collection at the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford.
Image Credits: Cleveland Museum of Art
Tags: Central Asian, East African, Islamicate, North African, South Asian, Artistic production, Status and identity, Arabic , Magic and popular religion