Skip to main content Smithsonian Institution

Catalog Data

Donor Name:
Jennie Kappenman  Search this
Length - Sari:
5 m
Width - Blouse, Chest (One Side):
41 cm
Width - Blouse, With Sleeves:
66 cm
Object Type:
Sari / Blouse
Chennai (Madras), Tamil Nadu, India, Asia
Set of woman's sari/saree and short blouse or choli. Sari has a set-in pocket for mobile phone/cellphone. Silk in tones of blue and fuschia/purple; metal decorative pendant with tassels is attached on sari near pocket opening. These are sometimes called a "pocket sari."
The sari is a continuous length of woven silk fabric. The large central panel of the sari is royal blue. The flanking side panels are woven bluish pink. Each side panel has four narrow silver bands. On the side of the sari with the label the silver bands run close to the central blue field while on the opposite side they run down the center of the flanking panel. The sari is embellished with both large and small floral designs in gold and purple thread. A large silk pocket, with a slit opening and loop and ball fastener is stitched to the sari. A translucent amber bead is stitched to the center of the button. Below the pocket a metal pendant is stitched down. It includes a circular gold metal medallion embellished with multicolored glass and shell outlined in metal wire and a central cluster of small diamond shapes. Recesses are filled with a dark translucent material. Below the medallion is a curved incised and cut work metal form with tassels. Shruti Dube, NMNH Museum Technician, notes that the pendant may imitate keys that were traditionally worn. The fitted blouse is made from identical fabric with a similar weave and coloration to the sari. There are 4 narrow silver bands on each sleeve and a gold and purple floral embroidery element on each sleeve. The front of the blouse has a curved neckline and the back of the blouse has a low curved neckline. The sleeves are short and fitted.
Technology: The sari is machine woven using fine silk threads. It appears to be woven from one continuous length of fabric. The warp is pink, blue and silver dyed silk and weft is royal blue dyed silk. The long sides have selvage edges. One end is hemmed with machine stitching. At the other end the warp threads extend to form 35 knotted fringes. The pendant has two elements. The circular bright gold medallion is stitched through loops at the top and bottom to the sari. Metal wire and glass or other materials are used to create the designs. The central cluster appears to be anchored to the solid back. The openwork metal form below is attached at the top through a loop to the sari. The rest hangs free. The blouse is pieced and machine stitched. It is fully lined with what appears to be a similarly dyed cotton fabric. Some of the seams are finished with an overlock stitch using white thread. The front has black metal hook and eye closures. There are 5 cm (L) cloth loops with snap closure at the interior shoulders. There are chalk marks remaining on the interior of the bodice along with numbers likely from manufacture. A rectangular white paper label is attached to one edge of the sari. The label is 10.0 cm (L) x 7.5 cm (W). It is folded in half and stitched down. The front half of the label, visible on back of the sari, is printed in black and red ink in various fonts, "Kumaran Fabrics Phone: 2434 27 44 (5 Lines) No. 61 Usman Road, T. Nagar, Chennai - 600 017 Rs: 13160.00 - SAREE" (There is a SKU with the number 7475102212) " * E041-1530-L-3*". Written in red ink is "9210 30.1" There is also a red line running diagonally across the label. The side of the label folded to the front of the sari reads, "The Ultimate Destination for Pure Silks" is printed in black ink. In addition, "1. Due to intensity of color in the design, garment will bleed. 2. Wash separately in Cold Water." is printed in red ink. The number 19 is written in pencil along with some pencil marks. The same area shows some erasure marks.
Record Last Modified:
13 May 2023
Specimen Count:
Ethnology  Search this
Accession Number:
USNM Number:
See more items in:
Data Source:
NMNH - Anthropology Dept.