Rare And Important Imperial Ottoman Or Italian Brocaded Silk (Kemha)

Brocaded silk with a pattern of palmettes, roses, carnations and other flowers. This decorative repertoire is very similar to, and in some cases has directly inspired, the designs of poly-chrome Iznik ceramics. It consists of a determining floral decoration which has in fact shaped the aesthetics of the so-called Classical Ottoman style. Primarily formed under the supervision of the great court illuminator Kara Memi, this style mainly consists of ogival patterns with saz leaves or floral sprays. This very high quality silk brocade can be paired with an almost identical Ottoman kemha from the Swedish Royal Collection in Stockholm (inv. no. 113), which has been published in İpek – The Crescent and the Rose - Imperial Ottoman Silks and Velvets (2001), p. 248. Geijer has noted that this silk used to cover the ‘violet bed’ in the Swedish royal household. The initials with which this kemha was stamped are those of Queen Hedvig Eleanora (r. 1654-1660). Exchange of ideas and inspiration left its mark on local taste which can be clearly observed in works of art such as the present imperial kemha. Similar silks, clearly drawing inspiration from Ottoman aesthetic, were favoured in Italy, the Ottoman elite on the other hand was fascinated with Renaissance material culture, please see; Nurhan Atasoy, 2001, figs. 42, 43 & 49 and Gürsu, N., The Art of Turkish Weaving: Designs through the Ages, Redhouse Press, Istanbul, 1988, cat.131.

Valuable textiles constituted an indispensable element of Ottoman ceremonial, in the forms of costumes, banners, wall-hangings, curtains and ground-coverings they lent visual magnificence to precessions and receptions, and as ‘robes of honour’ (hil’at) bestowed on court servants and foreign diplomats. They were unmistakable signifiers of the sultan’s power and generosity. Their symbolic importance was reflected in both the action and language of the court. High Ottoman officials kissed the hem of the Sultan’s garment and spoke of ‘wearing the robe of continuance of office’, while the sultan himself was said to don ‘the mantle of authority’. The ceremonial kaftans and other garments in the collection of the Topkapi Palace Museum, testify to the dazzling impression that textiles undoubtedly made at state functions. Velvets and silks brocaded with threads of precious metal (kemha) were largely worn by the royal family and imperial slave household. Precious silk costumes and textiles were used particularly during the accession of sultans, the ceremony of the girding of the sword (kılıç kuşanma), parades, receptions. These have always been treasured and collected by Turkish and foreign patrons as signs of power. Similar ceremonial textiles have been depicted in detail in Talikizade’s Eğri Fetihnamesi which documents the Ottoman victory against the Habsburgs in 1596. The Eğri Fetihnamesi, preserved in the Topkapi Palace Museum Library (TSM H.1609), includes a double page miniature depicting the arrival of Sultan Mehmed III (r.1595-1603) in Istanbul following the victorious campaign. (fol.68b-69a). In the miniature, pages and palatial officials attending the ceremony have been depicted holding juxtaposed brocaded silks before the rest of the attendants (Osmanlı Resim Sanatı (2006), p.181. Also see: İpek – The Crescent and the Rose – Imperial Ottoman Silks and Velvets (2001), p. 26-27.). The details of the decoration on the silks depicted in the miniature draw close resemblance with the present textile. Moreover, even the narrow band running around the edges can be observed on the textiles in the miniature. The piece in hand, is an extremely rare piece, both in terms of its artistic value and perfect condition.

Provenance: Private UK Collection

Rare And Important Imperial Ottoman Or Italian Brocaded Silk (Kemha) magnifing glass

Ottoman Interior Ka'ba Cloth

The cover is green silk, embroidered with gold, zig-zags with inscriptions. “Allah” and “Muhammad” in larger thuluth script. The tawhid formula of faith is repetitively written in the zig-zag bands, “there is no God but Allah, Muhammad is his Messenger”, also in thuluth script. Comparable fragments are found in the Victoria and Albert Museum and the David Collection. A complete cover made from a similar Kaaba cloth can be seen on one of the sarcophagi in the tomb of Sultan Süleyman in Istanbul. See; Petsopoulos 1982, p.183, no. 160. Also see: Islam – Faith and Worship, Abu Dhabi Culture and Heritage, Abu Dhabi, 2009, p. 322-323. For 16th and 17th century fragments of interior Kaaba cloths with similar calligraphic zig-zag bands see: Islam – Faith and Worship, Abu Dhabi Culture and Heritage, Abu Dhabi, 2009, pp. 310-311 and pp. 316-317.

Provenance: Private UK Collection

Ottoman Interior Ka'ba Cloth magnifing glass

An Ottoman Wall Hanging Or Divan Cover

This seventeenth century çatma velvet panel is identical to a well-known panel now at the Polish National Museum, Cracow (inv. no. XIX-4525). The exact same design can be found in a fragment at the Victoria and Albert Museum as well (inv.no. 535-1884). The piece in hand is superior to such fragments with its completeness which is proved by the striped rulings framing it. Such panels were originally used as divan covers in upper class households in Istanbul. Its central fan-shaped carnation palmette is one of the most popular motifs found in çatma velvets. In staggered rows and infinitely repeated it creates a highly decorative effect which was embraced both at home and abroad, especially Eastern Europe and Russia. Apart from kaftans and furnishing fabrics, Ottoman velvets were also used as ecclesiastical garments, a proof of their versatility. A çatma which is identical to the present one is in the Calouste Gulbenkian Museum in Lisbon (inv. no. 1425), please see; Lizbon Calouste Gulbenkian Müzesi’nden Başyapıtlarla Doğu’dan Batı’ya Kitap Sanatı ve Osmanlı Dünyasından Anılar, 2006, p. 27. For comparable çatmas see Atasoy et al 2001, fig. 348 & Gürsu 1988, cat. 167. For velvets featuring different variations of the carnation palmette as the dominant motif see Atasoy et al figs. 342-347; Ballian 2006, fig. 234; Born, Dziewulski & Messling 2016, cat. 136; De Jonghe, cats. V.2.16 & V.2.17; Gürsu 1988, cats. 103, 122, 129, 137, 138, 166 & 192; Phillips 2016, fig. 3.2

Provenance: Private UK Collection

An Ottoman Wall Hanging Or Divan Cover magnifing glass

Ottoman Embroidered Ka'ba Cover

The cover is red silk, embroidered with gold, zig-zags with inscriptions. “Allah” and “Muhammad” in larger thuluth script. The tawhid formula of faith is repetitively written in the zig-zag bands, “there is no God but Allah, Muhammad is his Messenger”, also in thuluth script. Comparable fragments are found in the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Textile Museum and the David Collection. A complete cover made from a similar Kaaba cloth can be seen on one of the sarcophagi in the tomb of Sultan Süleyman in Istanbul. See; Petsopoulos 1982, p.183, no. 160. Also see: Islam – Faith and Worship, Abu Dhabi Culture and Heritage, Abu Dhabi, 2009, p. 322-323. For 16th and 17th century fragments of interior Kaaba cloths with similar calligraphic zig-zag bands see: Islam – Faith and Worship, Abu Dhabi Culture and Heritage, Abu Dhabi, 2009, pp. 310-311 and pp. 316-317.

Provenance: Private UK Collection

Ottoman Embroidered Ka'ba Cover magnifing glass

SOLD

A Fine Ottoman Embroidered Silk Ceremonial Cover

The emboidered red silk cover in hand belongs to a small group of Ottoman silk ceremonial covers which were produced in Istanbul, in the 18th century, for the use of courtly figures or members of palatial circles. Published examples of similar embroideries, including hairdresser’s futas, are preserved in the Topkapi Palace Museum and the Sadberk Hanim Museum in Istanbul

(See: Bilgi, Hulya. Asirlar Sonra Bir Arada, Sadberk Hanim Muzesi’nin Yurtdisindan Turkiye’ye Kazandirdigi Eserler, Istanbul, 2005, pp. 182-195). Also see: Patricia L. Baker, Islamic Textiles, British Museum Press, London, 1995, p. 159.

Provenance: Private UK Collection

A Fine Ottoman Embroidered Silk Ceremonial Cover magnifing glass

SOLD

Extremely Rare And Highly Important Ottoman Velvet Panel

This velvet panel is a rare example of Ottoman art of textile. The design is in the form of a closed composition surrounded by a border. Here the çintemani spots are not arranged in the usual offset pattern but in straight rows. Each spot is filled with a design of tulips, carnations, rosebuds and hyacinths. The central section of each spot is woven in klaptan. The plain design has a powerful impact.

The stylized floral designs now emblematic of the classical Ottoman style were developed during the reign of Süleyman I, also known as Süleyman the Magnificent (r. 1520–66), as an alternative to the "International Style" that prevailed in the area during the early period of rule from the mid-fifteenth to mid-sixteenth centuries. Textile designs feature iconography shared with other decorative media designed by the nakkaşhane (royal design atelier) and adapted to the constraints of the loom to create elegant repeat patterns. The most popular layouts ranged from floral motifs characterized by wavy vertical stems with blooming palmettes (52.20.21), carnations, or pomegranate fruit (52.20.19), to large-scale ogival layouts with delicate peony blossoms creating a lattice pattern (49.32.79).

Lattice layouts became popular during the reign of Süleyman I and may also reflect layouts and motifs used in architectural tile decoration from Iznik, or earlier Mamluk silks themselves inspired by Chinese examples. The so-called saz style (52.20.17) was also incorporated into textile design, featuring the sinuous outlining of motifs and jagged edges on leaves and flowers.

Associated with court painter Shah Qulu, saz motifs remained in use throughout the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Kara Memi, Shah Qulu's top pupil and successor as head of the nakkaşhane, added to the painter’s repertoire by developing a stylized iconography of floral motifs including carnations, roses, tulips, hyacinth, and cherry blossoms. These remained favorite motifs throughout the “Tulip Period” of Ahmed III (r. 1703–30).

For a velvet similarly decorated with chintamani motifs, from the same period, see: Kanuni Sultan Süleyman ve Çağı, Magyar Nemzeti Museum, Budapest, 1994, p. 100. A highly stylized example from the David Collection, Copenhagen, is published in Kjeld von Folsach’s Art from the World of Islam in the David Collection, Copenhagen, 2001, p. 382. For comparable pieces in the Topkapi Palace Museum, Istanbul, see Topkapi – Costumes, Embroideries and other Textiles, Thames & Hudson, London, 1986, pl. 7-10. For different interpretations of the same motif also see Christian Erber’s A Wealth of Silk and Velvet, Eidition Temmen, Bremen, Undated, pp. 88-93.

An identical velvet panel is in the Ömer Koç Collection, Istanbul, published in Hülya Bilgi’s Osmanli Ipekli Dokumalari Catma ve Kemha, Sadberk Hanim Muzesi, 2007, Istanbul, pp. 60-61.

Provenance: Private UK Collection

Extremely Rare And Highly Important Ottoman Velvet Panel magnifing glass

SOLD