Man's sash (patka)

Indian (Kashmiri)
mid-19th century


Object Place: Kashmir, India

Dimensions

Overall: 39.5 x 244cm (15 9/16 x 96 1/16in.)

Accession Number

53.2132

Medium or Technique

Wool twill tapestry-weave

Not On View

Collections

Asia, Textiles and Fashion Arts

Classifications

Costumes

Wool twill tapestry sash (patka) with bright green main field and deep borders on each crosswise end with design of boteh motifs and elaborate scrolling vines; narrow outer border on four sides has design of minute flowering vine; green fringe 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

Gift from Miss Ellen W. Coolidge to the MFA, September 10, 1953

Credit Line

Gift of Miss Ellen W. Coolidge