Not currently on display at the V&A

Textile

ca. 1880-ca. 1881 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place of origin

Mashru, or 'permitted' cloth was originally woven for Muslim men who were prohibited from wearing pure silk. It is a satin weave fabric with a combination of cotton weft and silk warp; the cotton weft being the lower layer in contact with the skin, while the silk warp shows on the surface. This example includes ikat, a type of weaving where the threads are tie-dyed before weaving to create designs in the finished fabric. Hyderabad was one of several centres where mashru was woven; much of it was exported to the Middle East, but ikat mashru is frequently seen in Company School paintings from South India and was used locally for garments.


Object details
Categories
Object type
Materials and techniques
Silk warps, cotton wefts, satin weave, warp ikat
Brief description
Mashru textile, Hyderabad, ca. 1880.
Physical description
This 'mashru' pattern is unusual in the narrowness of the ikat-dyed stripes and their combination with squared patterns in the stripes that separate them, but the arrow-head ikat motifs are typical of Deccani mashru. 'Mashru' is a satin weave cloth with a combination of a cotton weft and silk warp, the cotton weft being the lower layer in contact with the skin. The fabric was originally woven for Muslim men who were prohibited from wearing pure silk. 'Mashru' (meaning 'permitted' in Arabic) was woven all over India, though it survives today mainly in Gujarat.
Dimensions
  • Length: 448cm
  • Width: 81cm
Object history
The warp is a series of yarns extended lengthwise in a loom and crossed by the weft. Ikat is a type of weaving where the threads are tie-dyed before weaving to create designs on the finished fabric. The dyeing process begins with binding the resist areas with impermeable yarn or rubber bands. The precision of the wrapping determines the clarity of the design. After wrapping, the threads are dyed, however, the areas under the ties will remain the original colour. Numerous colours can be added after additional wrappings. When the dying process is complete, the warp threads are meticulously arranged on the loom to prepare the design. The natural movement during weaving gives ikat designs it characteristic feathered edge. Techniques with matching patterns on warp and weft are called double ikat.
Historical context
This was bought for the Museum in India in 1882 by Caspar Purdon Clarke for £ 1.40 (£ 1. 8s).
Summary
Mashru, or 'permitted' cloth was originally woven for Muslim men who were prohibited from wearing pure silk. It is a satin weave fabric with a combination of cotton weft and silk warp; the cotton weft being the lower layer in contact with the skin, while the silk warp shows on the surface. This example includes ikat, a type of weaving where the threads are tie-dyed before weaving to create designs in the finished fabric. Hyderabad was one of several centres where mashru was woven; much of it was exported to the Middle East, but ikat mashru is frequently seen in Company School paintings from South India and was used locally for garments.
Bibliographic reference
Indian ikat textiles / Rosemary Crill. London: V&A Publications, 1998 Number: 1851772421p. 127, pl. 106
Collection
Accession number
IS.2134-1883

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Record createdOctober 11, 2002
Record URL
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