Man's court sash (patka)

Indian (Deccan)
Mughal dynasty
late 17th or early 18th century

Object Place: India


353 x 47 cm (139 x 18 1/2 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Cotton plain-weave, painted and treated with mordants, resist-dyed

Not On View


Asia, Textiles and Fashion Arts



Sash of undyed plain-weave cotton with borders of red and blue flowers on a green ground; borders are repeated four times to divide the central field from the pallakas at each end; pallakas consist of rows of lozenge-shaped red flowers against an natural undyed ground; short natural cotton fringe on each crosswise 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.


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