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Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
Fashioning Masculinities: The Art of Menswear

Robe

mid 19th century (made), ca. 1867 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

This luxurious robe is a courtly garment, worn by a young man in Sindh, Pakistan. It is made of silk and gold fabric, lined with red and yellow silk. the distinctive circular opening, combined with a rectangular panel to cover the chest, identifies this garment as an angarkha, which simply means 'protector of the body'. The upper part of the robe is evidently its focal point, and it is made more elaborate by the addition of a row of non-functional 'buttons' around one side of the front opening. Like all robes of this type, the distinctive round neck and waist are fastened by silk ties - in this case in red, blue and yellow - which are also used for the colourful piping around the neck and edges. It would have been paired with narrow trousers (paijama) of silk and gold fabric.
read In the pink: colour in menswear For centuries, colour in men's clothing has been a means for both imposing conformity, or expressing individuality. The associations of colour have changed over time – In the 1700s European men wore pink, for example, as a sign of wealth and power, rather than gender. Today the spectrum of...
object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Brief Description
Man's robe (angarkha), red silk woven with silver-gilt wrapped thread, Sindh, Pakistan, mid 19th century; Textiles; Men's Clothes
Physical Description
Man's robe (angarkha) of red silk woven with silver-gilt-wrapped thread, lined and quilted, with red, yellow and blue silk edging and ties.
Dimensions
  • Across sleeves length: 104cm
  • Across sleeves width: 114cm
  • Length: 1640mm (overall)
Object history
Transferred from the India Museum in 1879. India Museum slip book entry 6362: 'Coat / Unurkha / ? / no invoice price / 1867 / Original nos ? / of kincob, lined with silk'.
Summary
This luxurious robe is a courtly garment, worn by a young man in Sindh, Pakistan. It is made of silk and gold fabric, lined with red and yellow silk. the distinctive circular opening, combined with a rectangular panel to cover the chest, identifies this garment as an angarkha, which simply means 'protector of the body'. The upper part of the robe is evidently its focal point, and it is made more elaborate by the addition of a row of non-functional 'buttons' around one side of the front opening. Like all robes of this type, the distinctive round neck and waist are fastened by silk ties - in this case in red, blue and yellow - which are also used for the colourful piping around the neck and edges. It would have been paired with narrow trousers (paijama) of silk and gold fabric.
Bibliographic References
  • Colours of the Indus : costume and textiles of Pakistan / Nasreen Askari and Rosemary Crill. London: Merrell Holberton in association with the Victoria and Albert Museum, 1997 Number: 1858940443p.44, pl. 71
  • Jackson, Anna and Ji Wei (eds.) with Rosemary Crill, Ainsley M. Cameron and Nicholas Barnard, compiled by the Palace Museum, translated by Yuan Hong, Qi Yue and Liu Ran. The Splendour of India' Royal Courts : Collection of the Victoria and Albert Museum. Beijing: the Forbidden City Publishing House, 2013. Text in English and Chinese. ISBN 9787513403917.pps. 140-141
  • Dress in detail from around the world / Rosemary Crill, Jennifer Wearden and Verity Wilson ; with contributions from Anna Jackson and Charlotte Horlyck ; photographs by Richard Davis, drawings by Leonie Davis. London: V&A Publications, 2002 Number: 1851773770 (hbk), 1851773789 (pbk)p.12-13 (ill.)
Other Number
6362 - India Museum Slip Book
Collection
Accession Number
05648(IS)

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record createdNovember 7, 2002
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