This hanging was probably made as part of a series of wall panels for the English market in the 18th century. Such panels may have graced the walls of a dining room or bedroom of a stately English home. Leading the list of imported textiles to the West were Indian mordant-painted and resist-dyed cottons called "chintz," which had been introduced in the early 17th century, largely through private trade, and by the mid-17th century had become commercial goods regulated by directors of the trade companies. Commercial success of Indian trade fabrics led to enormous increases in Indian exports to Europe between 1680 and 1685. The impact of chintz on the French silk industry seriously affected silk sales, resulting in protective legislation that effectively banned the import of chintz to that country. For the same reasons, the import of chintz was also banned in England by the 1720's.
During the second half of the 18th century most of the bans were removed or greatly reduced. But once chintz was legal again, it was forced to compete for market share with domestic printed cottons. There is evidence that suggests painted Chinese silks may have been developed as an improvement on Indian cottons as they were made of silk, which until the end of the 18th century was always the more prestigious material of dresses. These seem to have led to the tremendous numbers of Chinese silks, including painted goods, that were imported during the 18th century. Perhaps the severe reduction of Indian goods may account for the development of painted designs on Chinese goods that were reminiscent of Indian chintz, such as the present lot.