Baju, jacket (shortened, probably after damage), tailored from Coromandel Coast cloth in Sumatra, late 18th century, cotton, painted mordant-dyed, resist-dyed, and painted, width 151cm. Purchased with the assistance of The Art Fund. Museum number: IS.101-1993. Victoria & Albert Museum © V&A Images 

Jacket (shortened, probably after damage), cotton, painted mordant-dyed, resist-dyed, and painted. Flowers in red, yellow and blue.

A tailor in Sumatra made this man’s jacket (‘baju’) from cotton cloth produced on India’s Coromandel Coast. It has been shortened, probably after damage. The floral design in red, yellow and blue has been strongly influenced by European fashion of the period 1750-1800.

The style of the jacket belongs to the Malay world. Here its introduction may be linked to the spread of Islam and the influence of Arabic and Indian modes of dress. The popularity of the ‘baju’, worn with trousers rather than with a traditional skirt-cloth, represented a radical change in dress etiquette in Islamic south-east Asia.

Bibliographic References: John Guy, Woven Cargoes. Indian Textiles in the East, Thames and Hudson, 1998, pl. 81.