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1931

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Panel And Fragments (India), 19th century

This is a Panel and fragments. It is dated 19th century and we acquired it in 1931. Its medium is cotton, beetle elytra, foil strips, metallic yarns, sequins and its technique is embroidered on plain weave foundation. It is a part of the Textiles department.

Valued for their iridescent blue-green-purple color, the wing casings, or elytra, of the Buprestidae Jewel Beetle have been used for centuries to adorn clothing and jewelry in India, among both indigenous groups like the Naga, as well as in Mughal court costume. In the 19th century an export trade developed around Calcutta, where gossamer-fine cotton muslins were embroidered with gold threads and beetle wing "sequins," bringing a taste of the exotic to fashionable European ladies.

This object was featured in our Object of the Day series in a post titled Wearing Wings.

This object was donated by Sarah Cooper Hewitt. It is credited Gift of Sarah Cooper Hewitt.

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Its dimensions are

H x W (A): 36.8 × 214 cm (14 1/2 in. × 7 ft. 1/4 in.)

Cite this object as

Panel And Fragments (India), 19th century; cotton, beetle elytra, foil strips, metallic yarns, sequins; H x W (A): 36.8 × 214 cm (14 1/2 in. × 7 ft. 1/4 in.); Gift of Sarah Cooper Hewitt; 1931-25-1-a/d

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<ref name=CH>{{cite web |url=https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18317971/ |title=Panel And Fragments (India), 19th century |author=Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum |accessdate=18 March 2019 |publisher=Smithsonian Institution}}</ref>