Brocaded velvet panel with Italianate pattern

Brocaded velvet panel with Italianate pattern

1575-1625

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

Overall: 173 x 241.5 cm (68 1/8 x 95 1/16 in.)

Andrew R. and Martha Holden Jennings Fund 2003.3

Description

Rarely are four fabric widths preserved together from any culture. This gilt-metal thread pattern combines fashionable Turkish and Italian features. The large ogival (curved) lattice clasped by crowns and the velvet structure are Turkish features whereas the two so-called artichoke designs are enlarged adaptations of Italian motifs. The well-matched pattern along the seams reveals masterful weaving.

This luxurious velvet panel, a symbol of wealth and power, was woven during the artistic height of the Ottoman Empire in the late 1500s, shortly after the reign of Sultan Suleyman the Magnificent. It may have covered a divan (sofa) or possibly enhanced a wall during cold winters in the imperial Topkapi Palace in Istanbul.

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