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Subject: Mughal chain mail shirt

Mughal chain mail shirt

From: Amanda Harding <amandah>
Date: Thursday, September 28, 2006
I am seeking information on the original construction of a mid-18th
Century Indian Mughal chain mail shirt before beginning treatment of
the textile collar.

The chain mail consists of butt ending links of brass and iron in a
jamuganga pattern (zigzag) with larger links around the neckline
that are very corroded.  There are also additional details in chain
mail around the neckline forming a sort of 'capelet' hanging over
the back and shoulders.  The collar is a padded stand-up collar with
open plackets at centre front.  It is green velvet with brass studs
on the exterior, brocade on the inside and filled with batting.

In its current state, which is not original, the mail is irregularly
basted to the collar around the neck with the corroded chains
folding over on the interior.  One side of the placket has the mail
sewn over the inside brocade while the other side appears to have
the chain sandwiched between the exterior and the interior layers.
It looks like additional chains have been added in these areas as
they do not match the rest of the shirt exactly.

The particular concern is how the collar was originally attached to
the mail.  The appearance of an alteration and the larger corroded
links around the neckline may indicate that it was once sandwiched
in the collar.  Other Mughal chain mail shirts I have looked at are
constructed in another way where the edge row of mail links are
looped into the lower edge of the collar and the join is reinforced
with stitching.  I am interested to hear if anyone can verify either
construction method.

Amanda Harding
Textile Conservation Intern
Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto, Canada

                  Conservation DistList Instance 20:19
                  Distributed: Monday, October 9, 2006
                       Message Id: cdl-20-19-019
Received on Thursday, 28 September, 2006

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