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  • Place of origin:

    India (North India, made)

  • Date:

    late 18th century to early 19th century (made)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Muslin with applied tinsel, spangles and foil

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    South Asia, Room 41, case 13

Physical description

Fine muslin ground with decoration in applied tinsel, spangles and foil. The peshwaz was made for a small wearer. The bodice portion is heavily embellished with wide bands of decoration around the sleeves, neck, hem, front-opening, and down the middle of the ground panels. The bands are made of silver-gilt, bordered by strips of green foil, with rows of blossoms in red foil and sequins. The same style of bands decorate the edges and hems of the skirt panels, and the wrists of the sleeves. The main ground of the sleeves and skirt is embellished with a motif of silver-gilt strip couched into four-pteal blossoms, regularly divided by serrated rows of silver-gilt foil. A deep striped trim lines the inside bottom hem of the skirt.

Place of Origin

India (North India, made)


late 18th century to early 19th century (made)

Materials and Techniques

Muslin with applied tinsel, spangles and foil

Descriptive line

Peshwaz (woman's court dress), muslin with applied tinsel, spangles and foil, Mughal empire or Deccan, late 18th or early 19th century; Textiles; Clothing; Women's Clothes

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Murphy Veronica, in The Indian Heritage. Court Life and Arts under Mughal Rule, V&A, 1982, cat. 254, p. 96, ISBN 0906969263.
p. 214, cat. no. 1019
The art of India and Pakistan, a commemorative catalogue of the exhibition held at the Royal Academy of Arts, London, 1947-8. Edited by Sir Leigh Ashton. London: Faber and Faber, [1950]

Labels and date

Muslin with applied tinsel, spangles and foil
Mughal empire or Deccan
Late 18th or early 19th century

The peshwaz was a style of robe popular with women in the Mughal empire. Though usually associated with Muslim women, it was also fashionable in northern Hindu courts. Few historic peshwaz survive as, like this rare example, they were often made of fragile sheer fabrics. Worn over patterned paijama trousers, the skirt opened at the front allowing free movement. [01/08/2017]
Woman's Dress
Muslin, with applique tinsel, spangles and beetlewings
Late 18th or early 19th century
The dress is open at the front and would have been worn over thin trousers.
5842(IS) [00/00/0000 - 29/06/1995]

A peshwaz is a long, front-opening robe made of fine muslin, sometimes extravagantly decorated like this example. The peshwaz was the usual dress of Muslim court ladies from the pre-Mughal period onwards. It was often worn over trousers and a bodice, and the outfit would be completed by a large head-cover or shawl.

Cotton with coloured metal foil, gilded silver strips and sequins
Northern India, 1800-50
V&A: 5842 (IS) [03/10/2015-10/01/2016]


Muslin; Metal-strip; Foil




Textiles; Clothing; Women's clothes


South & South East Asia Collection

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