Man's court sash (patka)

Indian (Deccan)
Mughal dynasty
18th century


Dimensions

Legacy dimension: 3.62 x 0.60

Accession Number

24.433

Medium or Technique

Cotton and silk plain-weave with silk and gold- and silver- wrapped thread discontinuous supplementary patterning wefts, applied beetles' wings

Not On View

Collections

Asia, Textiles and Fashion Arts

Classifications

Costumes

Man’s court sash (patka) of silk and cotton plain weave with broad border at each crosswise end, and narrow borders on the sides, embroidered with thin strips of silver covered with gold leaf, silver ungilded, and pieces of blue and green iridescent beetles’ wings; border design consists of delicate cone-shaped floral motifs (boteh) and undulating vines, on a gold ground.

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 from Denman Waldo Ross to the MFA, December 4, 1924

Credit Line

Denman Waldo Ross Collection