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OTTOMAN EMBROIDERY

THE OTTOMAN EMPIRE which lasted for more than 600 years finally collapsed in the early 1920s when the modern state of Turkey was formed and Constantinople became Istanbul   Its epicentre was what is now western Turkey and at its zenith it stretched from south east Europe, the Balkans and the Middle East   It also occupied large parts of Arabia and the North African lands stretching from Egypt westwards to Algeria.

Today the surviving magnificent hand embroidered textiles, mostly from Turkey itself, but also from Greece and the Balkans and lesser known sources are much sought after.  The larger pieces such as bed sets, drapes, curtains, bolsters and items for Mosques and major buildings were made in studios by the most skilled workers.  Smaller and more functional examples were made in the home, mostly for domestic use as napkins, towels, sashes and headcovers.

They have provided a rich source of study for researchers, scholars and authors and many authoratative text books are available today.

 

If you have any questions please contact via email at "ldrowcroft@gmail.com"

 

ANTIQUE OTTOMAN EMBROIDERY. There are several opinions as to the meaning of the designs in the five items which feature along the two ends. Candelabra have been suggested as have shrubs and even urns. There is a black and white line drawing without description on page 168 of the excellent text book by Roderick Taylor, which has some parts similar to this towel. The condition is very good. It is soft and silky to the touch. The two fine end borders of hyacynths are delicate and complete. Origin lies in western Anatolia, circa 1900. Reference 3359. Size 79 x 43 cms., or 43 x 17 inches. Euros 70.

CLOSE UP SHOWS THE INTRICASY OF THE DESIGN WHICH IS WORKED WITH FINE SILK AND A THIN METAL THREAD OUTLINE AS CONTRAST.

ANTIQUE OTTOMAN EMBROIDERY. This long piece was used as a shawl of sash and has been folded to show the embroidered ends for photgraphy. It dates from the late 1800s. In the excellent detailed book "Floral Messages" by Ulla Ther several examples, which are attributed to the Bergama region of western Anatolia, are featured as plates 290/293. The silk hand embroidery is very fine. Reference 3363. Size 140 x 40 cms., or 55 x 16 inches. Euros 80.

THIS LONG SHAWL OR SASH HAS BEEN FOLDED FOR PHOTOGRAPHY AND POSSIBLE FUTURE FRAMING.

ANTIQUE OTTOMAN EMBROIDERY. The squarish stitch used in this small hand towel indicates that its origin lies in the Greek Islands, which were an integral part of Ottoman occupation. Fruits are an important source of design in these pieces and range from melons, pomegranates and (shown here) bunches of grapes which are all frequently depicted. The hanging bunches look as if they are under attack by a flock of blackbirds. A simplistic but very pleasing domestic embroidery in excellent condition. Reference 3369. Size 66 x 38 cms., or 26 x 15 inches. Euros 60.

OVERALL ASPECT OF THIS TOWEL.

ANTIQUE OTTOMAN EMBROIDERY. The ritual of bathing in the upper levels of Ottoman society was an important event and many superb towels such as this example were used. Towel is really a misnomer in these cases because the fine design in silk and metal thread on a linen background was not used for the vigorous drying process, but rather as a wrap for the body to contain the drips en route from the bath to the main towels. The curled design shows a new leaf gradually opening to reveal smaller tips and a new flower head emerging.The six designs are very graceful. The towel has the traditional embroidered end panels and is in excellent condition. Reference 3373. Size 120 x 56 cms., or 48 x 22 inches. Euros 75.

CLOSE UP.

ANTIQUE OTTOMAN EMBROIDERY. Roses, hyacinths and, as used here, carnations, are the most frequently portrayed flowers in the designs on Ottoman embroideries. The complete carnation with its leaves, buds and fully opened flower heads form the border of this small towel. It is an ealry 20th century piece and is in very good condition. Reference 3358. Size 75 x 37 cms., or 30 x 15 inches. Euros 45.

LEAVES, STEMS, BUDS AND OPENED FLOWER HEADS ARE DEPICTED IN THIS CARNATION PLANT.

ANTIQUE OTTOMAN EMBROIDERY. The extensive use of silk and the very fine graceful floral design indicates that this towel was probably made in a specialised studio rather than a domestic dwelling. Close inspection shows that the branches and stems are fine metal thread bound with silk. It is from western Anatolia, Reference 3362. Size 89 x 52 cms., or 33 x 21 inches. Euros 72.

CLOSE UP showing beautiful carnations and hyacinths.

ANTIQUE OTTOMAN EMBROIDERY. This delicate napkin dates from the second half of the 19th century. The author Ulla Ther in the excellent text book "Floral Messages" places the origin as the region of Bergama in western Anatolia. The formal small square gardens are flanked by the cypress trees which have symbolic meanings in Islamic gardens. Reference 3367. Size 56 x 35 cms., or 22 x 13 inches. Euros 40.

CLOSE UP showing cypress tree design.

CLOSE UP of such delicate silk embroidery.

ANTIQUE OTTOMAN EMBROIDERY. The base cloth is mainly hand spun linen but cotton has also been used in several strips across the width and this has added substantial weight. It probably means that this was made as a bath towel. It has signs of use and dates from the latter years of the 1800s. Curved sprays of pink climbing roses are stitched in silk in the main end designs. Mercerised cotton has been used for the end borders. Reference 3365. Size 128 x 57 cms., or 50 x 23 inches. Euros 38.

CLOSE UP of a pink flowering climbing rose.

ANTIQUE OTTOMAN EMBROIDERY. An unusual piece depicting a row of 8 kiosks at each end. There are flowering plants growing from urns in front of each and portrayals of cypress trees in front of rows of poplars. In the foundation text book "Ottoman Embroidery" by researcher, scholar and author, Roderick Taylor, a colour plate on page 49 shows a towel with very similar designs and embroidery techniques. This towel is in excellent and complete condition. Reference 3364, Size 118 x 49 cms., or 45 x 20 inches. Euros 70.

CLOSE UP shows the delicate pastel colours.

ANTIQUE OTTOMAN EMBROIDERY. Sixty round pomegranates fill 10 ceramic bowls which are embroidered in turquoise silk and fine yellow metal thread. The bowls are on the edge of borders featuring 26 ripe bunches of grapes. Melons are also used in this type of design and are often shown with the knife used for slicing them. A facinating domestic towel from western Anatolia, circa 1900. Reference 3361, Size 76 x 42 cms., or 30 x 17 inches. Euros 55

CLOSE UP.

ANTIQUE OTTOMAN EMBROIDERY. Long sashes were worn around the waist of both men and women and were used as the last layer of material which helped to keep inner layers in place. The designs favoured by women mainly featured flowers and those by men displayed a wider array such as buildings, ships and scenes from the Bosphorus. This is a very pleasing piece in excellent condition. It can be displayed by foldng and framing so that the end panels show. Reference 3371. Size 166 x 19 cms., or 65 x 8 inches. Euros 60.

CLOSE UP showing realistic and graceful sprays of a central flower flanked by leaves.

ANTIQUE OTTOMAN EMBROIDERY. A delicate linen based napkin upon which two graceful and flowing rose branches show off their flower heads. Sprays of hyacinths are seen underneath. Silk and fine metal thread have been used in the design. It is from western Anatolia and dates from around 1900. Reference 3357. Size 53 x 32 cms., or 21 x 13 inches. Euros 40.

CLOSE UP which shows the hyacinths both in bud and full flower. The border with the chevron design is worked in fine silk.

ANTIQUE OTTOMAN EMBROIDERY. Square shaped embroideries are seldom found. It may have been used as a shawl or as a cover for a particular item such as a tray or wooden chest. The harmonious shades of apricot, sky blue, green and pink are the main colours in the design. The outline is of a very fine black metal thread on to which hundreds 4of tiny sequins have been sewn. A similar piece described as a silk kerchief is shown as plate 3 in the text book "Thracian Embroideries" by the author (and collector) Angela Yiannakidou which was published in Athens in 1985. Reference 3371. Size 78 x 82 cms., or 31 x 32 inches. Euros 85.

OVERALL ASPECT OF THE PIECES SHOWING THE NARROW FOUR SIDED BORDER AND CORNER DESIGNS.

ANTIQUE OTTOMAN EMBROIDERY. This is extremely old and dates from the last quarter of the 19th century. The extraordinary depth of colour has been achieved by the use of green and turquoise for the leaves and apricot and terracotta for the flowers. The sprays are shown to be growing under mature bunches of grapes. Its excellent condition is a result of having been in a collection of similar Ottoman work which was famed for many decades. Reference 3368. Size 79 x 47 cms., or 41 x 21 inches. Euros 75.

CLOSE UP. Hiyacinths growing alongside carnations.

ANTIQUE OTTOMAN EMBROIDERY - CLOSE UP OF TOP BORDER.

ANTIQUE OTTOMAN EMBROIDERY - CLOSE UP OF SIDE BORDER.

ANTIQUE OTTOMAN EMBROIDERY -- PRAYER CLOTH MADE OF FRAGMENTS - EASTERN GREEK ISLANDS - CIRCA 1850. When embroideries came to the end of their useful life, especially the larger ones which had served for decades as curtains, bed sets, divan and cushion covers, the best areas were carefully separated from the items and then very skillfuly made into this type of prayer cloth. It is made up of fragments from at least 9 other embroideries. Because of the fragile nature of the re-used fabric it was not used on the floor but hung on an internal wall and predominately used by women during prayers. The finished article was called a "Quibla". The practice of making these was also used by dealers of old hand woven embroideries. This example has been displayed under glass in a frame since 1981 as part of a collection of other Ottoman textiles. It now needs a replacement backing and new frame to show off its beauty and fascinating history. Reference 3375. Size 106 x 59 cms., or 42 x 24 inches. Euros 170.