Man's court sash (patka)

Mughal dynasty
17th or early 18th century

Object Place: India


330 x 52.1 cm (129 15/16 x 20 1/2 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Cotton compound weave (twill and plain weave) with supplementary silk and metal-wrapped patterning wefts

Out on Loan

Out On Loan


Asia, Textiles and Fashion Arts



A dark blue sash of silk brocade is decorated on both ends with a series of ivory-colored chevron-patterned bands. The narrow edges and wide ends of the sash consist of multi-colored embroidered flowers on a gold brocade ground. In the pallaka (end) panels, four tall flowering plants, perhaps poppies, serve as perches for blue and green birds. Gold fringe falls from both ends.

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.


1966, Nasli Heeramaneck (b. 1902 - d. 1971) and Alice Heeramaneck (b. 1910 - d. 1993), New York. 1966, John Goelet, Ambainville (Oise) France; 1966, gift of Goelet to the MFA. (Accession Date: October 11, 1966)

Credit Line

Gift of John Goelet