Fragment of man's sash (patka)

Indian
Mughal
18th century


Object Place: India, Northern

Dimensions

56.5 x 95 cm (22 1/4 x 37 3/8 in.)

Accession Number

24.429a

Medium or Technique

Silk and cotton plain-weave with silk and gold-wrapped thread discontinuous supplementary patterning wefts tied down with supplementary warps in plain-weave, netted silk fringe ends.

Not On View

Collections

Asia, Textiles and Fashion Arts

Classifications

Costumes

Fragment of man’s silk court sash (patka) with design in main field of bands of orange alternating with bands of red, green and black silk and silver-wrapped thread discontinuous supplementary patterning wefts; end panels with design of row of tall flowering plants in red and green silk on a ground of silver-wrapped thread discontinuous supplementary patterning wefts; side and cross borders have design of scrolling flower and vine in red and green encased within margins of chevron pattern. One of two pieces with 24.429b.

An important element of male courtly attire in sixteenth-, seventeenth-, and eighteenth-century India, the patka or girdle played a symbolic and decorative role comparable to the necktie today. Often the most lavishly decorated component of a man’s formal dress, the patka tied at the waist with the ends hanging toward the knees. The length of the ends and the position of the knot changed according to the fashions of the times. The ends of the patka, known as the pallakas, tend to be more elaborately and sumptuously ornamented than the central area, with lavish embroidery and metal thread. Because rulers often granted patkas as token of esteem, the sashes became symbols of political status as well as emblems of wealth and good taste.

Provenance

Denman Waldo Ross Collection; Gift of Denman Waldo Ross to the MFA, November 6, 1924

Credit Line

Denman Waldo Ross Collection