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Dress

ca.1880 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

Shisha (glass) or mirror work, is common in the northern desert states of India. It may have evolved from naturally occurring mica but from the 19th century onwards, specially made pieces of mirrored glass were used. Mirrored glass was blown by hand and then cut into different shapes, although nowadays a more uniform and thicker factory-made glass is often used. A variety of stitches is used to attach the mirror pieces to the fabric. Kutch is a particularly rich area for embroidery; this piece is probably from the Muslim Memon or merchant community in Banni, Kutch. This garment would have been made by a professional embroider working in chain stitch, buttonhole stitch and interlacing stitch. It would have been worn over trousers with matching cuffs.


object details
Category
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Silk satin; silk thread; mirror pieces
Brief Description
Dress, Kutch, Gujarat, ca. 1880.
Physical Description
Silk satin embroidered with silk thread and mirror work. (shisha).
Dimensions
  • Width: 101cm
  • Length: 111cm
Object history
This garment was bought for the Museum in India in 1882 by Caspar Purdon Clarke. 1883 Register entry: 'DRESS. Blue satin with a narrow border of a red figured silk round the bottom. Embroidered in various coloured silks, and ornamented with pieces of looking glass. Worn by Mussulman women. Kattywar. 19th cent. L. 3 ft. 8 in.. W. 3 ft. 4 in. Bought, 12s. 2327-1883 (IS)'
Summary
Shisha (glass) or mirror work, is common in the northern desert states of India. It may have evolved from naturally occurring mica but from the 19th century onwards, specially made pieces of mirrored glass were used. Mirrored glass was blown by hand and then cut into different shapes, although nowadays a more uniform and thicker factory-made glass is often used. A variety of stitches is used to attach the mirror pieces to the fabric. Kutch is a particularly rich area for embroidery; this piece is probably from the Muslim Memon or merchant community in Banni, Kutch. This garment would have been made by a professional embroider working in chain stitch, buttonhole stitch and interlacing stitch. It would have been worn over trousers with matching cuffs.
Collection
Accession Number
IS.2327-1883

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record createdAugust 1, 2008
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