Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Clothing Panel, One of a Pair

Object Name:
late 19th–early 20th century
Attributed to Central Asia or Iran
Felted cotton piecework and block-printed cotton decorated with silver ornaments, fire-gilded and chased, with table-cut carnelians, synthetic and glass stones, and embossed pendants
6 5/8 x 6 3/4 in. (16.8 x 17.1 cm)
Credit Line:
Gift of Marshall and Marilyn R. Wolf, 2012
Accession Number:
Not on view
Coat (2015.648.4) and Pair of Clothing Panels (2012.206.7a, .7b)

Nineteenth-century reports and photographs record the fashion for decorating the front of women’s shifts with silver coins (see left photograph, p. 210 in this volume). Although the tradition of decorating shifts in this way apparently faded sometime in the twentieth century,[1] outer coats continued to be embellished with panels decorated with vertical rows of embossed silver discs ending in lozenge-shaped decorative clasps either attached to panels or directly sewn onto the fabric of the coat. Panels were generally attached at the neck and reached to the waist or knees.

This woman's coat (2015.648.4) and pair of ornamented panels (no. 2012.206.7a, .7b) illustrate how silver ornaments looked when worn. The coat, made of typical Teke raw silk of cranberry red, has four vertical rows of silver discs along the length of the coat and two rows of silver discs ornamenting the sleeves. It appears that the silver ornaments, as well as a new Russian cotton lining, were added in the Tehran bazaar where the coat was sold well after it had been made.[2]

The pair of panels is too short to have been worn down the front of a coat and is lacking the V-shaped opening of panels worn as pectorals (see right photograph, p. 210 in this volume). It has been suggested that they were worn down the sides, apparently a recent fashion.[3] The panels also differ from traditional examples in their use of patterned fabric, which complements the red and green stones of the ornaments.
These works exemplify how a traditional mode of ornamentation using silver coinage was transformed and modernized in more recent times.

Layla S. Diba in [Diba 2011]


1. Andrews, P. A. “Clothing and Jewelry of the Turkmen.” In Encyclopaedia Iranica, vol. 5, pp. 854–56. Costa Mesa, Calif., 1992, p. 855, cites the date 1970.

2. Marilyn Wolf, conversation with the author, August 2008.

3. Marilyn Wolf, conversation with the author, August 2008.
Marshall and Marilyn R. Wolf, Toronto, Canada (by 2006–12; gifted to MMA)
Diba, Layla S. "Silver Ornaments from the Marshall and Marilyn R. Wolf Collection." In Turkmen Jewelry. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2011. no. 171, pp. 210-211, ill. p. 211 (color).

Related Objects

Clothing Panel

Date: late 19th–early 20th century Medium: Silver, fire-gilded with engraving/punching, table cut carnelians, glass stones; mounted on felted cotton piecework and block printed cotton fabric Accession: 2012.206.7b On view in:Not on view

Velvet Panel with Flowering Plants

Date: first half 17th century Medium: Silk, cotton, flat metal thread; cut and voided velvet, brocaded Accession: 12.72.5 On view in:Gallery 462

Jewelry Elements

Date: late 14th–16th century Medium: Gold sheet; worked, chased, and set with turquoise, gray chalcedony, and glass Accession: 1989.87a–l On view in:Gallery 455

The Anhalt Medallion Carpet

Date: probably first half 16th century Medium: Cotton (warp), silk (weft), wool (pile); asymmetrically knotted pile Accession: 46.128 On view in:Gallery 462

Safavid Courtiers Leading Georgian Captives

Date: mid-16th century Medium: Silk, metal wrapped thread; lampas Accession: 52.20.12 On view in:Gallery 462