Textile label featuring a scene from the Ramayan

Unknown artist

  • Date: 1880s
  • Dimensions: H. 15.5 cm, W. 12.6 cm
  • Medium: Chromolithograph on paper
  • Region: India, United Kingdom
  • Museum number: POP.00494

A chromolithograph pictorial label printed for the Arch Orr Ewing and Co., Glasgow.

Produced for the advertisement and sale of bales of cloth and individual fabric lengths it label features an illustration based on the Rajput style miniature painting (possibly Jaipur School) depicting a scene from the epic Ramayan. Ram is seated on a throne accompanied by his wife Sita in an open courtyard of a palace with trees and a pond against the cloudy sky showing the sun, moon, and stars. He is attended by his brothers Lakshman, Bharat and Shatrughan while Hanuman is seen caressing Ram’s foot. Trade’s mark printed on the top. Sides and bottom with Bengali and Devnagari inscriptions.

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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