Daily and general garments and textiles

Daily and general garments and textiles

The Victoria and Albert Museum in London houses a scarf made of cotton net with silk thread embroidery. The scarf originates in the Madras area and dates to c. 1855. It fomed part of the collection of the India Museum in London, before it was transferred to the South Kensington Museum (now the Victoria and Albert Museum) in 1879. The embroidery shows two large buteh motifs at each end. The shawl measures 126 x 54 cm.

In the seventeenth century and later, there were various forms of informal indoor caps for men, which were popular among wealthier, urban groups in West Europe. One type that was popular in the seventeenth century was the so-called nightcap, and despite its name it was actually worn during the daytime.

This tunic in the collection of the British Museum is part of an outfit associated with Osman Digna (c. 1840-1926), who was a follower of Muhammad Ahmad (the Mahdi), in Sudan. Osman Digna was regarded as one of the ablest generals in the Mahdi army. In 1899 he fought in the last campaign of the Mahdist forces. In 1900 he was captured near Tokar and was to serve eight years in prison in Egypt. He died there in 1926.

The Los Angeles County Museum of Art houses a pair of woman's engageantes. They were probably made in Britain, and date to the mid-eighteenth century. They measure 25 x 50 cm and are made of a plain weave cotton with cotton thread embroidery.

The Victoria and Albert Museum in London houses a sari with a silk ground material in black. The sari (115 x 546 cm) is decorated with silk thread embroidery in white, magenta and yellow, using satin stitch and stem stitch.

A partlet is a type of upper body garment worn in western Europe, during the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries. It was more commonly used by women than men. The partlet was used to fill in the low, square neckline of a gown. Middle class and informal aristocratic dress always kept the bosom and neck covered, with either a smock or partlet.

The Textile Research Centre in Leiden houses an embroidered shirt that is linked to the Pashai community in Afghanistan. The Pashai live northeast of the Afghan capital, Kabul, and speak a Dardic (Indic) language, different from the dominant Iranian and Turkic languages of the country. 

In 1947 Cecil Beaton, one of the most famous fashion (and war) photographers of the twentieth century, wrote a thank you letter to Mr. Lock of what later became the firm of Hand & Lock, an important British embroidery company based in London.

The Kenyan actress, Lupita Nyong’o (b. 1983), wore a long, holder-necked dress decorated with applied pearls to the Oscar film award ceremonies on 22nd February 2015. In 2013 she had won an Oscar for her role as Patsey in "12 Years a Slave" and she was one of the presenters at the 2015 event.

In mid-nineteenth century England, the term pelerine referred to a waist-length cape that was often made of embroidered muslin, lace or net. In Germany and the Netherlands, a pelerine nowadays refers to a short cape that can be made of any material and was (is) used for both indoor and outdoor wear.

The Victoria and Albert Museum in London houses a scarf made of piña (pineapple) cloth with cotton thread embroidery. The embroidery includes flower and leaf motifs. The shawl measures 285 x 44 cm. The scarf was embroidered in the Madras area around 1855. The scarf was part of the India Museum collection in London until 1879 when it was transferred to the South Kensington Museum (now the Victoria and Albert Museum).

Powhatan's mantle is a native North American garment from the early seventeenth century. It is made of white-tailed deer skin (Odocoileus virginianus, also called Dama virginiana) decorated with applied shells. The mantle is made of four tanned buckskin pieces sewn together with sinew thread (slightly s-spun). It measures 2.33 x 1.5 m.

A number of museums and private collections own examples of Queen Victoria’s monogrammed underwear. This is because the monarch was in the habit of saving her undergarments and then giving them to members of her staff. Items given away in this manner include chemises, drawers, nightdresses, as well as stockings.

Many of the Eastern Woodlands and Plains Indians of North America, such as the Cree and Huran, used beading and quillwork, as well as moose hair embroidery and tassels, to decorate their garments and footwear. The example illustrated here is a sleeve cuff made from animal hide (probably buckskin), which has been decorated with porcupine quill work, tassels and imported glass beads.

The Victoria and Albert Museum in London houses a boy’s jacket that has a densely embroidered bodice and sleeves. The lower white, frilled skirt is decorated with a red band along the lower edge. The jacket is of the type worn by Rabari boys in Kutch, in the state of Gujarat in western India (see Rabari embroidery). The garment is 46 cm long, and has a width (including outstretched sleeves) of 117 cm. It is made from white cotton.

The Rajah quilt is a convict quilt produced in 1841, which is now in the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra (acc. no. NGA 89.2285). It was produced by an estimated 29 female prisoners being transported to Australia on the British convict ship, the Rajah.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York houses a chamba rumal (Hindi for handkerchief or covering; Chamba is the historical name for part of the province of Himachal Pradesh) in the northwest of the Indian subcontinent. It is made of cotton with silk, tinsel and metal thread embroidery. It measures 66 x 63.5 cm and has been dated to the eighteenth century.

The Textile Research Centre in Leiden holds a cotton blouse from Romania. It dates to the 1950s and 1960s and measures 52 x 30 cm. It has a gathered neckline and sleeve heads.

The Victoria and Albert Museum in London houses a woman's marriage coat from Siberia, which is made of sewn salmon skins. It was acquired by the museum in 1905, and information was added that it was a Gilyak coat from the lower Amur river region, near Vladivostok, from a tribe that was "dying out".

The British Museum in London houses a woman's apron from among the Sarakatsani (originally a nomadic group) in northern Greece. Locally called a podia, this example is 36 cm long and made of wool with cross stitch, cotton-thread embroidery, rik-rak and metal thread decoration. The apron is dated to sometime between 1925 and 1950.

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