Dress Fabric thumbnail 1
Dress Fabric thumbnail 2
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Dress Fabric

1858 (made)
Place Of Origin

Dress fabrics embroidered with pieces of beetles' wing-cases, often cut into leaf shapes, were popular with Western women (those based in India and in Europe) from the mid-19th to early 20th century. The iridescent pieces of beetle-wing gave a lustre and sparkle to evening dresses that emulated applied gemstones. The pieces of beetle-wing were attached by piercing them with a needle and sewing them directly onto the ground fabric, in this case black net, but often fine cotton muslin. Because of their extreme fragility, they were usually used only around the edges of garments (hems, necks and sleeves) to minimise crushing.
read Indian embroidery Our collection of Indian textiles ranges from rare courtly pieces to archaeological fragments, to everyday garments and fabrics, dating from the 14th century to the present day. Embroidery remains one of India's most recognisable and most prized textile traditions. Discover eight of the mo...
object details
Categories
Object Type
Parts
This object consists of 2 parts.

  • Dress Fabric
  • Dress Fabric
Materials and Techniques
Brief Description
Skirt length, in fragments, cotton net embroidered with metal-strip and beetle-wings, Hyderabad, c.1858; Textiles; Clothing; Women's Clothes; Embroidery
Physical Description
Skirt length originally consisting of 5 cotton net panels, now in 3 fragments. Embroidered along bottom border with floral scroll in silver-gilt metal strip and beetle-wing cases.
Dimensions
  • Length of all parts length: 102cm
  • 4498( is) width: 101cm
  • 4498 2( is) width: 247cm
Object history
Transferred from the India Museum in 1879. Slip book entry 4140: 'Net Dress Skirt / Hyderabad / Deccan / 1858 / Richly Embroidered with gold and beetle wings'
Summary
Dress fabrics embroidered with pieces of beetles' wing-cases, often cut into leaf shapes, were popular with Western women (those based in India and in Europe) from the mid-19th to early 20th century. The iridescent pieces of beetle-wing gave a lustre and sparkle to evening dresses that emulated applied gemstones. The pieces of beetle-wing were attached by piercing them with a needle and sewing them directly onto the ground fabric, in this case black net, but often fine cotton muslin. Because of their extreme fragility, they were usually used only around the edges of garments (hems, necks and sleeves) to minimise crushing.
Associated Object
4411(IS) (Part)
Other Number
4140 - India Museum Slip Book
Collection
Accession Number
4498:1/(IS)

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record createdJune 25, 2009
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