This is the most spectacular early Indian silk that has survived, dating from the 16th century during the Muslim Sultanate period. Six concentric circles of lotus petals alternate with foliate motifs while mythical fighting animalsshown surrounded by flames or foliage—a green eight-legged creature attacking a yellow hybrid-lion—enliven the corners, all framed by a sinuous leaf border in brilliant colors. The imagery reflects a pan-Indian style with Hindu, Buddhist, and Muslim elements. This rare silk appears to be the central section of a larger canopy. The interrupted border pattern suggests there was additional fabric at each end. Luxurious canopies were essential accouterments of rulers, displayed as conspicuous symbols of power and wealth while also providing welcome shade.
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