Skip to Main Content

Embroidered towel

1800s
Average: 129.5 x 55.9 cm (51 x 22 in.)
You can copy, modify, and distribute this work, all without asking permission. Learn more about CMA's Open Access Initiative.
Location: not on view

Download, Print and Share

Description

Fine Turkish towels with beautiful floral decoration embroidered across each end are often reversible, and their quality revealed the owner’s wealth and status. A lady was required by Turkish etiquette to use a napkin “daintily over the tips of her fingers,” lest she lose her social standing. Towels were not only essential components of everyday life but also gifts, prizes, and decorations. Embroideries could also depict images of daily life. Colorful tents and buildings in floral landscapes, here enriched with shiny gilt-metal strips, adorn the four sides of a head scarf that was worn either folded or unfolded and fastened beneath the chin. Square embroideries also served to wrap gifts, letters, and objects; the 19th-century English traveler Charles White commented that “no present is made . . . unless folded in a handkerchief, embroidered cloth, or piece of gauze. The more rich the envelope, the higher the compliment to the receiver.”
Embroidered towel

Embroidered towel

1800s

Turkey

Visually Similar Artworks

Contact us

The information about this object, including provenance, may not be currently accurate. If you notice a mistake or have additional information about this object, please email collectionsdata@clevelandart.org.

To request more information about this object, study images, or bibliography, contact the Ingalls Library Reference Desk.

All images and data available through Open Access can be downloaded for free. For images not available through Open Access, a detail image, or any image with a color bar, request a digital file from Image Services.