Temple hanging (pechhavai)
Indian, Hyderabad, Telangana
late 18th century
Object Place: Hyderabad, Telangana, Deccan, India
244 x 254 cm (96 1/16 x 100 in.)
Medium or Technique
Cotton plain-weave, dyed and painted with opaque watercolors, gold and silver
Corridor between Islamic Gallery and Huntington Lobby (183)
Temple hanging (pecchavai) with design of six gopis (cowherdesses) standing in profile on either side of a central tree. They carry fly whisks and dishes of offerings. They are flanked by two more trees amidst a shower of blossoms. Six Hindu deities, including Indra, Brahma, and the sun god Surya, appear in a horizontal band of clouds above. A row of cows and two small Gopas (cowherders) appears below them, with a band representing a lotus pond in the lowest register. A border of golden flowers surrounds the pechhavai on all four sides.
Pechhavais are painted wall hangings created as backdrops for sacred icons in temple shrines. Most pechavais were made for temples dedicated to the Hindu god Krishna, who grew up in a pastoral community of cowherders. Hence, many of these hangings depict gopis, gopas, cows and lush foliage. While the painting workshops in southern Rajasthan are perhaps better known as producers of pechhavais, the extensive use of gold against a saturated red background links this example to the textile centers of the Deccan.
By 1967, John Goelet, New York, NY; 1967 gift of Goelet to the MFA. (Accession Date: September 13, 1967)
Gift of John Goelet