Queen's robe of state  

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Object- Queen's robe of state
Date- 1860s
Techniques- (Jacket) Imported velvet, lined with crimson silk satin, heavily trimmed with yet-pya (gold braid), pazun-zi (silver-gilt tinsel cloth) and gold lace
(Bandolette) Velvet, embroidered with silver-gilt wirework and silver-gilt tinsel
(Collar (neckwear)) Velvet and silk satin, embroidered with silver-gilt cord, wire, sequins and beetle wings
(Front piece) Velvet and silk satin, embroidered with silver-gilt tinsel and sequins; fabric stretched onto a shaped bamboo frame bound in red cotton tape
(Shawl) Velvet and silk satin, embroidered with silver-gilt tinsel, sequins, fringe, half-beads, wire, cord and beetle wings

Mandalay (City), Burma

(Jacket) Length 57 cm (shoulder to hem)
(Jacket) Width 44 cm (across shoulder)
(Jacket) Length 44 cm (sleeve)
(Shawl) Length 236 cm (long band)
(Shawl) Width 15 cm (long band, maximum)
(Bandolette) Width 91.5 cm (maximum)
(Collar (neckwear)) Length 66 cm (crosspiece)
(Collar (neckwear)) Width 7.6 cm (crosspiece)
(Collar (neckwear)) Length 25.4 cm (each tailpiece)
(Collar (neckwear)) Width 10.2 cm (tailpiece, maximum)
(Front piece) Length 127 cm
(Front piece) Width 63.5 cm (maximum)
(Bandolette) Width 61 cm (minimum)
(Bandolette) Length 38 cm (tailpieces)
(Bandolette) Width 9 cm (tailpieces)
(Collar (neckwear)) Width 6.4 cm (tailpiece, minimum)
(Shawl) Width 10 cm (long band, minimum)
(Shawl) Length 51 cm (fishtail, maximum)
(Shawl) Width 76 cm (fishtail, maximum)

Current Location- Victoria & Albert Museum
Museum number- IM.45 to C, E, F-1912

This is the elaborate robe of state specially created for one of the chief queens of King Mindon, the penultimate king of the Konbaung Dynasty (1752-1885), who ruled Burma from 1853 to 1878.

Strict sumptuary laws applied to every aspect of life at the court of the Konbaung kings and this particularly applied to dress. Almost every article of clothing was indicative of the individual's rank. The decorative elements and the style of this robe could only have been worn by a person of the queen's rank. Such apparel drew on Indian silver and gilt embroidery work and was inspired by 18th century Thai court dress. Composed of layer upon layer of green velvet and gold decorated pieces with wing-like projections it was not only intended to distinguish the queen from her courtiers, but to suggest an identification with the gods.

However, the Konbaung Dynasty came to an end in 1885 when the entire kingdom came under British rule following a process of annexation throughout the 19th century, and the royal family was exiled to India. Many remaining aristocrats, now stripped of their rank and authority, were almost destitute and glad to part with their possessions. This robe of state was purchased by the donor while serving as a Divisional Judge in Burma at the beginning of the 20th century.

Man's jacket/ Ein-gyi 1860s  

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Object- Man's jacket/ Ein-gyi
Date- early 1860s
Techniques- Cotton, embroidered and hand-quilted with yellow silk
Dimensions- Length 58 cm (shoulder to hem)/ Width 35.5 cm (across shoulders)/ Length 57 cm (sleeves)
Current Location- Victoria & Albert Museum
Museum number- 5631(IS)

This tightly tailored white cotton jacket--with projecting side flaps over the hips and a rectangular panel behind the front opening--would have been worn by a fashionable Burmese man during the second half of the nineteenth century. Known as an ein-gyi this example is embroidered in a quilted yellow silk displaying the wave and twisted rope patterns typical of Burmese design. It would have formed an ensemble, as shown, when worn with a pah-soe (a voluminous wrapped and draped) skirt.

Man's skirt / Pah-soe 1850  

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Object-Man's skirt / Pah-soe
Date- early 1850s
Techniques- Fine quality silk luntaya ('100 shuttles' interlocking tapestry weave) cloth
Place- Burma
Dimensions- Length 422 cm / Width 122 cm
Current Location-Victoria & Albert Museum
Museum number - 0798(IS)

This beautifully patterned, voluminously wrapped and draped silk skirt, is known as a
pah-soe. Dating to before 1855, it was worn by fashionable Burmese gentlemen during festive occasions. Typical of a formal pah-soe, it is woven in vivid colours and displays the unique Burmese pattern called '100 shuttles' in an interlocking tapestry weave known as acheik-luntaya. It would have formed part of an ensemble, with an ein-gyi (jacket).