Textile label featuring Bharat Janani (Mother India)

Unknown artist

  • Date: Late 19th century
  • Dimensions: H. 13.2 cm, W. 10 cm
  • Medium: Chromolithograph on paper
  • Region: India
  • Museum number: POP.001153

A chromolithograph pictorial label printed for the New Kaiser-I-Hind Mill, Bombay (Mumbai).

Produced for the sale of bales of cloth and individual fabric lengths it features an image of Bharat Janani (Mother India) clad in a red sari seated on a lotus holding a flower and a flag containing a charkha (spinning wheel). She adornes an elaborate halo and flanked by flower plants to her sides. Titled to bottom and inscribed ‘Swadeshi Uncho Maal’ (high-quality Indian goods) to top. Trader’s name in English, Devanagari, and Bengali printed along the edges.

The textile labels also referred to as ‘tickets’ and ‘shipper’s tickets’ were usually printed in Britain. They were attached to cloth or pasted on bales of cotton cloth produced at industrial centers in Britain, such as Manchester and Glasgow, and then shipped to Bombay, Calcutta, and Amritsar. These labels serve as a great source of information about the locations of the mills in Britain and their associated outlets in India. They largely depict the gods and goddesses of Hinduism, or scenes from the epics (such as the Ramayana, Mahabharata, etc) with inscriptions different languages that indicate where the cloth was to be sold in India.

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