Cotton standard, Qalamkar

This Qalamkar cotton standard or flag (parcham in Persian) is decorated with the motif of a lion standing in front of a radiant human-faced sun. The motif of a lion with the sun is an ancient and popular symbol of power and royalty in Iran. This particular motif was officially adopted as a Qajar emblem during the reign of Muhammad Shah (reign, 1834-48). The body of the lion contains an Arabic prayer to ‘Ali known as 'nadi aliyyan'. The borders of this flag feature cartouches containing Persian verses that refer to Imam Husayn and his martydom in Karbala (Iraq). This strongly suggests that this flag was made to be carried during the Ashurah processions. Qalamkar refers to a technique where textiles are 'painted' with a pen then stencilled and dyed with chemicals.

Date/Period
Dated 1262 AH/1845-6 CE
Region
Iran
Dimension
Object size: 122.3 x 191.8 cm
Accession No.
1998-01471
Material
Ink, colours on cotton
Collection of
Asian Civilisations Museum
Category
Textiles