Oct 4, 2012

Brocaded velvet with medallions in ogival lattice

Brocaded velvet with medallions in ogival lattice

late 1500s

Velvet, brocaded: silk, gilt- and silver-metal thread

Overall: 162.2 x 64.8 cm (63 7/8 x 25 1/2 in.)

Norman O. Stone and Ella A. Stone Memorial Fund 2001.3



This luxurious velvet is similar to fabrics worn by Turkish sultans on elaborate ceremonial occasions at the imperial Topkapi Palace in Istanbul during the 1500s. Such bold patterns and high quality served to symbolize the immense power and unfathomable wealth of the Ottoman Empire. The design in this velvet was adapted from Ottoman court art and assembled to create lively contrasts between large motifs that can be seen from a distance—medallion and lattice—and small designs that can only be admired up close—flowers and crowns. Only the latter was of foreign, Italian, origin. The velvet was probably used as an upholstery fabric, seamed to several identical lengths, to form an opulent cover for a divan (sofa) at the palace.

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