From a Noble Ottoman Family
The present example is of unusually fine quality with a particularly rich crimson coloured ground. For an example of a `çatma' fabric of almost identical design, and similar colouring, dated first half 17th century, from the Victoria and Albert Museum (377-1895), see Gürsu, Nevber, The Art of Turkish Weaving, Designs through the Ages, Istanbul, 1988, pg. 91, & pg. 149, pl.168., which illustrates the same design of rows of palmette motifs of the plane tree leaf, incorporating small motifs of the tulip and carnation within, with each leaf motif interspersed with a double leaf and small artichoke motif. Another comparable example, which in addition to the plane tree leaf pattern has a very similar double leaf motif and small artichoke motif, between all the main leaves as in the presently offered panel, see Victoria and Albert Museum: Brief Guide to Turkish Woven Fabrics, HMSO, London, 1950, no. 18, pg. 22, pl.18. Another very similar two sectioned fragment, dated 16th/17th century, Bursa, from the Deutsches Textilmuseum, Krefeld, is illustrated in Erber, Christian, A Wealth of Silk and Velvet, Bremen, 1993, no. G 10/3, pp.182-3.
Luxurious Ottoman fabrics, especially damasks from Bursa, and those from Iran (Isphahan, Tabriz, Kashan and Yazd), woven in the 16th century and later, were in great demand in various countries including Russia. The Ottoman fabrics of silk velvet with gold threads with the overall design of pointed ovals, carnations or plane tree leaf fan motifs incorporating tulips, carnations, hyacinths or pomegranates, were particularly prized. The large scale motifs of the 16th and 17th century, used in a repeat pattern were ideally viewed on a flat plane, which suited the design of the kaftans and cloaks and ecclesiastical copes and chasubles, and as decorative panels.
In Russia they are recorded as having been traded and used in Moscow in the 17th century for luxurious clothes and for ecclesiastical vestments, with which they were combined with Russian fabrics for the lower border hems and for the neckpieces. The designs of the Ottoman and Iranian fabrics influenced those later produced in Russia. In addition Ottoman fabrics were used in domestic life in the seventeenth century on the Romanov Estate in Moscow, and the boyars' mansions, for decoration, clothing, covers, horse furnishings and saddles.
For a comparable velvet there is an interesting and rare example of a finished garment in the form of a cope dating from the first half of the 17th century from The State Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg, which uses an Ottoman silk velvet brocade with cerise ground, of very similar design to the presently offered panel, with the same offset rows of plane tree leaf motifs with the carnations and tulips, short supporting stems with double leaf motif, and instead of being interspersed with the artichoke motif on the presently offered panel it incorporates a stem with three tulips. The cope is combined with Russian produced gilt applique silk velvet of a similar colour for the neckline and border, applied with Russian Orthodox motifs. For further discussion and colour illustration of the comparable velvet garment see Piotrovsky, Mikhail, B. & Pritula, Anton, D., Beyond the Palace Walls, Islamic Art from the State Hermitage Museum, Islamic Art in a World Context, National Museums of Scotland, Exhibition 14th July - 5th November 2006, Edinburgh, NMS, 2006, Part IV, Diplomacy, Warfare and Trade - The Muslim World and Russia, Essay by Ukhanova, Irina, N, Trade Connections between the Islamic World and Russia, pp.188-196, Cat. no.181, pg.192, (State Hermitage Museum, inv. no. VT-1034).
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