Friday, October 11, 2013

A Rare Patchwork Banyan

Many 18th century men wore an at-home garment called a banyan, which was influenced by East Asian and Persian robes. 

 In the humid climate of the Southern Colonies, gentlemen wore lightweight banyans as informal street wear in summer. 

It was fashionable for men of an intellectual or philosophical bent to have their portraits painted while wearing banyans. 

Tailored to mimic Persian robes, the cut and construction of this patchwork banyan, particularly its button closure, is characteristically European. It is fully interlined for warmth.

Despite the similarity to a "bathrobe" or a "nightgown", the banyan was not worn for sleeping.


  1. This just looks like the tiny diamonds on the Jane Austen Quilt!

  2. My thoughts exactly! The fabric prints and general colours look very similar also.

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  5. Patchwork-Man's banyan, c.1820 (printed cotton). Brooklyn Museum of Art, New York

    1. Actually just found it, it belongs to the MET*&deptids=8&when=A.D.+1800-1900&pos=8222

  6. Do you know of anyone who makes men's Banyans? I am seriously looking for someone that offers this service.

  7. The only 1812 era professional seamstress that I am aware of would be She is located in Texas and may be able to assist you.