Most of the memoirs of the Mughal kings refer to the use of the tent during their extensive travels. They provided a suitable temporary home to the constantly mobile royal entourage, which consisted of the king, queens, children and close relatives, important officers and the visiting royal personages or dignitaries. It was therefore, important to decorate the tent. Different kinds of tents are described in the Ain-i-Akbari based on their construction and decoration.

This kanat is probably a decorative hanging for the interior of the tent. It is divided into three vertical panels forming three arches. The area within the arches is covered with the motifs of flowering plants in a vase painted in typical kalamkari pink, blue, green and yellow (khakhi) colours with black outlines, on a plain natural textile material. The floral motifs on top are printed in the reverse against the dark background. The three flowering plants have different flowers on them, though the general composition is similar. Long leafy stems emerge out of the vase spreading horizontally on either side, balancing the vertical format of the plant. The design and the format are very similar to the decoration of the tent of Tipu Sultan and is one of the popular design patterns of that time though rendered in several variations.


  • Title: Kanat (tent hanging)
  • Date Created: early 18th century CE
  • Location: India
  • Type: Tent hanging
  • Medium: Cotton stenciled and hand block printed
  • Region: probably Burhanpur, Khandesh, Maharashtra
  • Accession Number: 72.5

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