The textile collection of the Salar Jung Museum has both vastness and variety. Some Deccani specimens from the Nizam's period are showcased in this exhibit.
Before the 'sherwani', the popular male attire was the 'angarkha'.
The complete attire, from head to toe, then became:
- a 'dastar', the headgear
- an 'angarkha', the open upper garment that can be tied to the waist; or a ''choga', long sleeved and flaring garment; or a 'sherwani', an overcoat style upper garment
- a 'patka', the sash or waist band to go along with the angarkha or choga
- 'churidar', the leggings
- slip-on shoes
The 'sherwani' became very popular among all the public in Hyderabad during the rule of Nizam VI and Nizam VII during the first half of the 20th century. It used to be worn with 'dastar' (headgear). The sherwani is still popular and worn with a loose pyjama or a tight churidar. Sherwanis are available in wool, silk, cotton and khadi.
For special occasions Sherwanis made of gold threads, kimkhab, zarbaft, mushajjar, himroo etc. with coloured floral designs were used. Salar Jung II, pictured here, introduced handloom sherwanis.
The dastars (headgear) was an important part of nobility’s dress by which a family of the person could be recognised. They came in many colours; white, green, pink and yellow. The pughree and topi (Turkish cap) was also used. The topi had names like Masri topi, Rumi topi etc.
In this picture is Nawab Mir Yousuf Ali Khan, Salar Jung III in a white pagadi and striped sherwani, seen at Dewan Deodi, his ancestral palace.
Headgear called Dastar worn by gentlemen in Hyderabad, white in colour with front raised on frill around crown.
Headgear called Dastar worn by gentlemen in Hyderabad , brown in colour with front raised on frill around crown.
Another long sleeved robe, worn by men on special occasions is the ‘choga’. The choga were made loose enough to be be worn over jamas and angarkhas. It is usually very attractive and made of wool or silk. If it is made of muslin it is worn in summers. The muslin ‘chogas’ are lightly embroidered with ‘buties'. The pagdi or turban was a universal headgear which proclaimed a man’s status, religion and place of origin.
Here, a king stands with his attendant, with the king wearing a red brocade choga, brocade patka, a pearl necklace, earrings and a royal pagdi (turban). The attendant is wearing a yellow choga holding a fly-whisk made of peacock feathers, in another hand he holds a piece of cloth.
Opaque water colour painting from Bilaspur, Himachal Pradesh, 1750 A.D.
Karchobi is a kind of raised metallic thread embroidery. Kimkhab is a kind of brocade woven with silk and gold or silver threads. During the 17th, 18th and 19th century it was set with precious stones too.
Maroon color jamdani with zari work costume (Man's upper loose garment), having 3 petals flower design in linear panels. Karchobi borders stitched around the neck, waist, shoulders and wrist, front side and bottom. Four Karchobi tassels stitched at the neck and 3 at the right arm pit. Karchobi patka matching the above.
Indian weddings are grand affairs with rituals and clothes in which the bride and groom wear gorgeous outfits and look splendid. The guests and relatives too dress up and make the occasion an event to remember. The bride wears auspicious coloured clothes, jewellery and henna on her hands and feet. The groom wears regal outfits. Everyone wears jewellery and the women from the family attending the wedding have henna designs on their hands.
Indian weddings give importance to rituals and the attire one wears to attend them.
Showcased is a dazzling costume with pendants, for the bridegroom from the 19th century.
Tash cloth (gents upper garment) having three pendents stitched on neck and two on right shoulder. Karchobi work all over for a bridegroom.
Seated King with Noblemen
The King or Raja is seen in this painting seated under a canopy, in discussion with a noble man and Jogin with a Tanpura (musical instrument). The Raja and nobleman are both wearing an angarakha, but with different patterns. The clothes of the Raja, noble man and Jogin are distinct and indicative of their status.
The patka was made in different colours and was sometimes embellished with painted, embroidered or woven designs. The amount of embellishment depended on the social status of the wearer.
Men used the patka to display their wealth by tucking ceremonial daggers and other precious objects into the fabric. Golconda was important centres for Patkas. The patka is still worn by men in India at traditional events.
Salar Jung Museum Silver Jubilee Celebrations : Souvenir,1976. Hyderabad : Salar Jung Museum, Hyderabad,1976.
Dr. M . A Nayeem/ The splendour of Hyderabad, Hyderabad: Hyderabad Publishers, 2002.
Tarannum Fatma Lari/Textiles of Banaras : yesterday and today, Varanasi: Indica Books,2010.
Jamila Brij Bhushan/The costumes and textiles of India, Bombay : D. B.Taraporevala Sons & Co Pvt. Ltd.,1958
Exhibition Script, Curation, and Compilation -
Photography – M. Krishnamurthy and Bahadur Ali
Special thanks to - Dr. A. Nagender Reddy, Jt.Director, Salar Jung Museum, Hyderabad and all other staff.