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Talismanic Shirt

ca. 15th century - ca. 16th century (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

Talismanic shirt, cotton, inscribed with verses from the Quran in ink and gold paint. Decorative calligraphic medallions on the chest and shoulders. The shirt is made up of three main panels, with two additional panels for the sleeves, and is open down the front, with a round neckline.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Woven cotton, inscribed and painted in ink and gold paint
Brief Description
Textile, talismanic shirt, inscribed and painted cotton, probably India, ca. 15th-16th century
Physical Description
Talismanic shirt, cotton, inscribed with verses from the Quran in ink and gold paint. Decorative calligraphic medallions on the chest and shoulders. The shirt is made up of three main panels, with two additional panels for the sleeves, and is open down the front, with a round neckline.
Dimensions
  • Length: 64cm
  • Total, with arms outstretched width: 103cm
Gallery Label
TALISMANIC SHIRT Protective garments inscribed with verses from the Qur'an are known in many parts of the Islamic world. They were worn under battle dress and during illness, and this 5OO-year-old example shows sweat stains and signs of wear. It bears the entire text of the Qur'an. The decorative roundels and style of script in the borders derive from Qur'an manuscripts from India of the same period. Starched cotton, inscribed in ink, with red and gold paint Northern India or Deccan, 1480-1520 Given by Col. F.G.G. Bailey V&A: T.59-1935(03/10/2015-10/01/2016)
Credit line
Given by Col. F.G.G. Bailey
Object history
The shirt was bought by Lieut.Col. F.G.G. Bailey from the Persian Carpet Emporium, whose letterhead announced branches in 'Simla (Cecil Hotel), Peshawar City, and Delhi Kashmere Gate'. In a letter of April 4, 1935, Mohamed Tahir, Director of the Emporium, informed the Lt. Col. that the man who had sold it to him informed him that 'The Kurta belonged to a very very old Royal Mohammadan Family who once ruled India and since time immemorial it is coming from father to son. During Mutiny in India in 1857 it came by chance into the hands of a rich Mohammadan, whose wife is still living, and possesses several old things and curious (which we might call them now). This Mohammadan also belonged to a Royal Family though not the same family who owned this Kurta, and since then it is with his wife who is in Bombay and from whome this is bought'. [V&A ARchivews: Nominal File. Bailey, Lt. Col. F.G.G. MA/1/896.
Historical context
Intended for use as a garment, clothing.
Collection
Accession Number
T.59-1935

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record createdJune 25, 2009
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