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Paintings > Mughal > Textile Trader
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Textile Trader

Textile Trader

Textile Trader

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Water Color Painting on Paper
Artist:Kailash Raj

8.3 inch X 5 inch
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Item Code:
MJ94
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Viewed 11425 times since 12th Jan, 2013
Contained within in a gorgeous frame embellished with uniformly laid floral arabesques rendered in gold against a deep golden background, the painting portrays a textile shop with three female figures – the shop's owner and the two buyers. Shop's architecture –arched elevation painted with golden arabesques of which this painting focuses only the central part, and the recessed part of the floor raised to some height like a platform with the rising panelled with decorative marble tiles, forepart being left to normal floor-level for putting off shoes etc., besides shop's over-all set up, reveals its medieval character. A shop or otherwise, arch – elevating a front or a door-opening, was a form that defined medieval architecture worth name. A female shop keeper and female buyers apart, all textiles put on display are feminine wears, or amongst all textiles displayed, not a single male wear is discernible. It further suggests shop's medieval character pursuing Mughal model. Mughals had uniformly structured and tastefully elevated shops in the form of a rowed complex in all their forts and townships. A bazaar complex, at least in a fort, essentially had a section of it reserved for women, usually Muslim inmates of the harem required to be in purdah - veil. Run exclusively by ladies the shops in this section reserved for ladies traded in items which only ladies used. This bazaar, often named Mina bazaar, did not allow access to any male except the Emperor himself or a prince. The painting thus takes the viewing eye back to not only the 17th-18th century bazaar system and to shops' architecture but also focuses on those days' life-style.

With marble arch wrought in gold framing them, variedly coloured textiles hanging from the ceiling – laharias, having waving pattern, tie and dye, mirror-inlaid, printed, painted, brocaded… all glistening with gold, give to the painting a lustrous look. Fixed to the rear wall is a multi-shelved wooden stand for storing different kinds of textiles – assorted and classified. On the rest of the platform is overlaid an expensive carpet with golden border. All three women are seated on it. On either side of the saleswoman, perhaps shop's proprietor, lay heaps of diversely designed and patterned textiles out of which she is showing to her buyers different designs one after the other. She has already shown them some patterns of laharia, batik prints, tie and dye, those inlaid with mirrors, prints to include multi-coloured chhintari – spotted design covering the entire field, typical of Rajasthan, and different woven-in designs, though the women, as betray their faces, dazzled by the incomparability of each piece, are unable to decide for which one they should go. To their eyes, it is a feast which they are fully enjoying. On the other hand, the sales woman is imagining what exactly her buyers are looking for. All three women are elegantly bejewelled. They are attired in lehangas – long skirts, cholis, half-sleeved short blouses, and odhanis, an unstitched upper garment. The sales woman wears against a yellow lehanga and red choli a green odhani, one of the buyers, on the outer side, has green lehanga and odhani against a pink choli, and her companion, a green odhani against a golden lehanga and deep pink choli. Possessed of exceptional beauty, all three maidens have sharp features, gold-like glowing complexion, dreamy eyes, lustrous faces and vigorous youth.

This description by Prof. P.C. Jain and Dr Daljeet. Prof. Jain specializes on the aesthetics of ancient Indian literature. Dr Daljeet is the chief curator of the Visual Arts Gallery at the National Museum of India, New Delhi. They have both collaborated on numerous books on Indian art and culture.

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