Satgaon quilts

A 17th century colcha from Satgaon/Hugli. A 17th century colcha from Satgaon/Hugli. Courtesy Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, MMA 1975.4.

Satgaon quilts are named after the settlement with the same name, modern Saptagram, in northeastern India, just north of Calcutta/Kolkota. In historical times it was a major port, but lost its position following the silting up of the Saraswati river. Its abandonment contributed to the growth of nearby Hooghly/Hugli and, later, Calcutta. Satgaon was an important trading centre for the Portuguese in the sixteenth century. It was known to them as Porto Pequeno ('Little Harbour'). 

One of the export products of Satgaon in the sixteenth century were a type of quilts called colchas by the Portuguese. Colchas were also produced in western India (Gujarat). The decoration of Bengali colchas is built up of two or four panels, arranged symmetrically. These are filled up with various designs, including folkloristic, historic and religious scenes. The panels are surrounded by one or more borders of varying widths. Generally they are embroidered with a monochrome silk thread on a white ground.

Further information: VOGELSANG, Gillian, and Willem VOGELSANG (2021). Encyclopedia of Embroidery from Central Asia, the Iranian Plateau and the Indian Subcontinent, London: Bloomsbury Publishers (pp. 73-74).

GVE and WV, 14 May 2021.

Last modified on Friday, 14 May 2021 14:59