Fragment of a Block-printed textile
Indian textiles were exported to Egypt in Roman times, although the trade may be much older. Hundreds of fragments of textiles were discovered in Fustat, near Cairo, Egypt. Research revealed that they were made in Gujarat, in western India. Most of these block-printed textiles reached Egypt between the 11th and 16th centuries when trade across the Indian Ocean was dominated by Arabs and Indians.
The blue in these textiles came from the indigo plants, while madder was used to create different shades of red, from pink to brown. A close study of similar fabric fragments suggests that they were used both for furnishing and clothing. The motifs can be related to patterns in Jain manuscript paintings as well as the decoration of Islamic buildings in Gujarat.
Textiles and Costumes of India
Cotton; block printed, mordant and resist-dyed
1250 - 1350
Gujarat; traded to Fustat, Egypt