Beetle-wing Embroidered Dress
Culture Indian Export
Description White cotton gauze, embroidered with green beetle wings, gold thread, lace trim, center front buttons to waist, full skirt, short sleeves. Embroidered in India, made for export.
Original catalog card: C. 1865, Made in India, white cotton gauze sewn with iridescent emerald green beetles with yellow thread. The dress with square neck trimmed with lace. The attached skirt gathered in the back and falling into a train with scalloped hem bound in green thread, the elbow length sleeves with shoulder ruffles, the dress with beetles as sequins, in weaving vine pattern at neck, sleeve, front of bodice and vines inset from waist at skirt to deep border at hem.
”Indian embroiderers have used the shimmering iridescent wings of tropical beetles, or elytra, widely in court dress since the Mughal dynasty (1526-1857). This work was much admired by British women living in India during the British colonization. In 1826, Fanny Parks was among the admirers of such work and noted that ’they embroider gowns for European ladies with these wings edged with gold; the effect is beautiful.’” (An Eye for Design label copy, 2003)
Material Cotton gauze/Biological material
Lexicon category 3: Personal Artifacts
Lexicon sub-category Clothing -- Outerwear
Credit line Silverman/Rodgers Collection