Eastern Art Online, Yousef Jameel Centre for Islamic and Asian Art

Ashmolean − Eastern Art Online, Yousef Jameel Centre for Islamic and Asian Art

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Man's coat

  • Description

    In the winter of 1868/69 the tea planter and explorer Robert Shaw travelled from northern India to Eastern Turkestan (now Xinjian, China). His journey was partly to help British India’s secret service in the exploration of Central Asia which was politically and geographically contested by the British Empire and Russia.

    Shaw was the first Englishman to visit Yarkand and Kashgar, and he related his adventures in his book Visits to High Tartary, Yarkand, and Kashgar. He described the splendid clothes he encountered and mentioned on several occasions receiving gifts of coats and other garments.

    The finest of these were presented by Yakub Beg, then ruler of Kashgar. Shaw’s detailed description makes the collection of Central Asian ikat garments one of the best recorded.

    This embroidered silk coat is referred to by Shaw in this passage from his book:

    "Kashgar, Tuesday, April 6th - This morning the Sircar [Treasurer] brought me as a parting present from the King … a robe of crimson satin, gorgeous with gold and embroidery..." (Robert Shaw, Visits to High Tartary, Yarkand and Kashgar, 1871)

  • Details

    Associated place
    AsiaChinaXinjiang Kashgar (place of creation)
    1801 - 1869
    Associated people
    Robert Shaw (1839 - 1879) (owner)
    Material and technique
    silk, embroidered with silk and metal thread; ikat-dyed silk and cotton lining
    width at sleeve 145 x 221 cm (height x width)
    width at hem 145 x 99 cm (height x width)
    Material index
    organicvegetalfibreflax linen,
    Technique index
    Object type index
    clothinggarment coat,
    No. of items
    Credit line
    Transferred from the Indian Institute.
    Accession no.
  • Further reading

    Barnes, Ruth, ‘Dressing for the Great Game: the Robert Shaw Collection in the Ashmolean Museum’, Khil`a, 1, (2005), illus. p. 12 fig. 11


    • currently in research collection

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