Apr 152011

Indian clothing at the V&A (Victoria and Albert Museum, London)

The Queen of Oudh costume
Although it was suggested that this costume was worn by a Queen of Oudh when it was acquired in 1855, it could have belonged to a noblewoman or dancing girl at the court.
The trousers are made with 17 triangular panels and one rectangular panel in each leg, and the dress is similarly constructed.

Court coat (Jama)
Muslin, decorated with couched flattened silver-gilt wire
Probably Deccan, late 18th century, from the wardrobe of Tipu Sultan (d. 1799) at Seringapatam.

Saddle cloth
Velvet, embroidered with silver-gilt thread, wire and spangles
Mid 18th century
From the collection of Tipu Sultan (d. 1799) at Seringapatam. The cloths were paraded on ceremonial occasions.

Mail coat
Steel, brass and copper links, the velvet collar studded with gilt-headed nails
This compares closely with a coat taken at the siege of Seringapatam in 1799
I do hope that the pictures do the incredible geometric pattern which is achieved by using different ring colors can justice in my pictures. The rings are extremely tiny, about 5 mm in diameter.

Boy’s robe (Jama)
Cotton, embroidered with silk and gold-wrapped thread
Mughal, 18th century

Man’s gown (Jama)
Cotton, printed, painted and dyed
Bruhanpur, Deccan, 18th century

Boy’s coat
Brocaded silk and metal thread, with silk embroidery
Mid-19th century
This style of coat is often found in plain white cotton, this is an unusually elaborate example.

Man’s formal robe (Jama)
Rajhastan, c. 1855
The circumference at the hem of this voluminous muslin jama measures 65 meters (which I tried to capture by lying down on the floor, photographing the jama from below – last picture) and the skirt is made up of 277 triangular panels.
This example is tied at the left side of the chest, which traditionally indicates a Hindu rather than a Muslin wearer, and was acquired in the Rajput state of Bharatpur in 1855.
It is probably *the* male garment with the most fabric used that I have ever seen… 😉

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