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Textile

Textile

  • Place of origin:

    Madras (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1851 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Silver tissue made of woven strips of silver and silk wefts with pattern made of applied metal strips in leaf shapes, dome shaped spangles (katori) and pieces of beetle wing.

  • Museum number:

    753-1852

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Gold embroidery (zardozi) like this used different forms of metal thread, shaped pieces of metal foil and hammered metal spangles (chumkis), as well as pieces of the iridescent wing-cases (elytra) of the beetle Sternocera aequisignata (family Buprestidae, Jewel Beetles). Many of these beetle wing cases were collected in Burma (Myanmar) and sold on through Kolkata (Calcutta). Valued for their hardness and permanence of colour, their reflective qualities were sometimes thought to ward off evil spirits. Beetle wings were used by both indigenous groups such as the Naga of N.E. India and in sumptuous Mughal court dress. Beetle wing embroidery became fashionable in Europe in the 19th century. It was usually done in India, but sometimes in Europe, using imported cut and pierced sections of beetle wing.

Physical description

Silver tissue with applied flower pattern.

Place of Origin

Madras (made)

Date

ca. 1851 (made)

Artist/maker

Unknown

Materials and Techniques

Silver tissue made of woven strips of silver and silk wefts with pattern made of applied metal strips in leaf shapes, dome shaped spangles (katori) and pieces of beetle wing.

Dimensions

Width: 53.5 cm, Length: 127 cm

Object history note

This piece was purchased from the 1851 Exhibition for £2.12.6d (£2.65).

Descriptive line

Embroidered dress fabric with applied metal strips, sequins and pieces of beetle-wing, Madras, about 1851

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

Crill, Rosemary, Indian Embroidery. London: Victoria & Albert Museum, 1999, pp.70-71.

Materials

Cotton; Metal; Metal beads; Beetle-wing

Techniques

Embroidering

Subjects depicted

Flower

Categories

Textiles

Collection

South & South East Asia Collection

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