|Circa 1850, Burma|
This saddle cloth was for a high-ranking Burmese official and dates to the mid-19th century and possibly earlier. (The Konbang Dynasty was in place between 1752 and 1885, providing a possible date range.) It is shaped as a Chinese-influenced stylised cloud motif and is embroidered with gold thread and densely sewn with metallic sequins (kyair). The main background element is of red velvet, with green velvet edging.The designs incorporate wide borders of repeated flower motifs all embroidered in Indian-style zardozi-like work with gold thread, embellished with metallic sequins. A central panel has been left without embellishment and exists as a plain red velvet panel.In the 1850s, courtly costumes and associated textiles were produced by workshops linked to the court. Females were never employed to work on the costumes on account of the superstition that the touch of a woman would be defiling to the textiles leading to the loss of phon, the aura believed to be possessed by Burmese males.Ministers and other members at court would be accorded a rank and with that came the right to wear certain types of robes. Their wives also were accorded dress associated with rank.Embroidered saddle cloths of the type here were awarded only to the higher ranks (Singer, 1994.) Singer illustrates an example, which like the example here is edged in green velvet. Another example is believed to be in the National Museum, Rangoon.Examples of dress associated with the Burmese court is exceedingly rare (Singer, 1994). Partly, this is because clothes of a deceased person at any level of society in Burma rarely were kept, and partly because of the fragile nature of the items in the first place. Often, the clothes belonging to deceased members of the upper classes would be burned and the ashes used as relics, perhaps to be mixed with sawdust and lacquer to be used to make a Buddha image.
|Location of Origin: Asia|
|Dimensions: width: 71cm, height: 50cm dimensions of frame: 84.5cm x 62cm|
|Primary Classification: Textile Arts : Asian|
|Secondary Classification: Asian Art : South East Asian Antiques|
|Tertiary Classification: African Artwork, Ethnographic & Tribal Arts : Other|
|The saddle cloth here is largely intact with relatively few losses to the embroidery or to the applied sequins. There is age-related fading however. No repairs are apparent. The cloth has been framed professionally and sympathetically. The cloth need not stay in the frame but it does protect it for now.|
References:Dell, E. & S. Dudley (eds.), Textiles from Burma, Philip Wilson Publishers, 2003.Singer, N., 'Mahu Bandula the Younger: Burmese court costumes in the West', Arts of Asia, November-December 1994.
|Provenance: UK art market|
|Price:||Item has been sold.|
|Offered By:||Items for sale from dealers we worked with previously|
121 Mount Vernon, Boston, MA 02108 USA
Item has been sold.
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