Brocaded velvet cover with sunbursts

Brocaded velvet cover with sunbursts

early 1600s

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

Overall: 180.7 x 128.3 cm (71 1/8 x 50 1/2 in.); Mounted: 185.4 x 134 cm (73 x 52 3/4 in.)

John L. Severance Fund 2008.146

Description

The rare sunburst pattern contrasts in its boldness with delicate floral motifs; the sunburst’s dynamic rays terminate in small tulips bearing hyacinths that alternate with peacock feathers. Interstitial motifs display the favorite tell-tale Turkish flora of
carnations, tulips, and hyacinths.

Quantities of luxury textiles were made for the Ottoman sultans, who were the largest consumers of textiles in the Western world by the mid-1500s and early 1600s. Textiles were lavishly displayed in ceremonials, presented as splendid robes of honor, and visible as furnishing fabrics in the Topkapi Palace in Istanbul where they spoke to the vast power and unfathomable wealth of the Ottoman Empire.

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