Man's court sash (patka)

Indian (Golconda or Burhanpur, the Deccan)
Mughal dynasty
about 1700

Object Place: Deccan: Golconda or Burhanpur, India


Overall: 67 x 525.8cm (26 3/8 x 207in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Cotton plain weave, block-printed; hand-painted and mordant and resist-dyed, with metal-wrapped thread fringe

Not On View


Asia, Textiles and Fashion Arts



A sash consisting primarily of undyed cotton, with narrow borders of fan-shaped yellow chrysanthemums outlined in red, presented in alternating directions between undulating leafy stems. The pallakas contain five tall chrysanthemum plants bearing similarly fan-shaped flowers on long, leafy stems. Each plant tapers to a curving end. The ends are trimmed in gilt yarn fringe.

An important element of male courtly attire in 16th, 17th, and 18th-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