Iran, probably Kashan
Silk, silver– and gilt–metal–wrapped thread (metal strip, silk core); taqueté, brocaded; H. 164 in. (416.5 cm), W. 24 7/16 in. (62 cm)
Gift of George D. Pratt, 1933 (33.80.18)
This sash is a superb example of the type of luxury accessory worn by Safavid royalty and courtiers during the seventeenth century. Its composition is comprised of three sections: a wide border on the ends with large flowering plants, a narrow border along the selvages with alternating rosebushes, and a large central area with alternating bands of flowering vines and cartouches. Recognized by the late sixteenth century as a rank of honor granted by the shah, sashes woven with gold and silver were produced in Iran for distribution in the court and as diplomatic offerings. Also exported to eastern Europe through the Armenian textile merchants, they were distributed widely in the Polish-Lithuanian commonwealth, where the style was quickly incorporated into the attire of the nobility. By the first half of the eighteenth century, a Polish domestic industry had been established by Armenian weavers, using these silk and metal-thread sashes as a prototype to meet the demand among noblemen.