Man's court sash (patka)

Indian (Deccan)
Mughal dynasty
18th century


Object Place: India

Dimensions

275 x 58.4 cm (108 1/4 x 23 in.)

Accession Number

66.864

Medium or Technique

Cotton plain-weave with silk and gold-colored metal strip wrapped on silk core embroidery, silk, couched metallic yarns, and metallic fringe

Not On View

Collections

Asia, Textiles and Fashion Arts

Classifications

Costumes

Man’s court sash (patka) of undyed plain-weave cotton with edges and ends embroidered with pink and red flowers within undulating stems; crosswise border (pallaka) at each end consists of a repeated pattern of individual flowers with curving leaves; fringe of gilt yarn at each end.

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

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