Breathtaking 16th Century Antique Ottoman Embroidered Textile, Country of Origin: Turkey, Circa Date: Late 16th Century / Early 17th Century – This breathtaking antique embroidery from the Ottoman Empire is not only a beautiful work of fine art, but it is also from an important period in textile history. It was created in the 16th century during a time with the Turkish arts were in their Golden Age. During the mid-16th century, textiles were an integral part of the economy, and this one is an excellent example of the work that was being produced during this time.
The choice of colors was often bold and high contrast. The fine level of detail shows years of formal training and mastery. This piece stands out as a representation of the bold designs that were a key characteristic of Ottoman design. This one is edged by a series of mihrab, or prayer niche, designs that reflected an Islamic influence. The mihrab is meant to mimic the prayer niche found in mosques. In this case, it may indicate that this antique Ottoman embroidery is a fragment left over from a piece created for a religious ceremony, or it might have been created for nobility as an indication of a connection to the divine. We might never know the reason for its creation, but the colors and motif indicate that it might have been created with a specific purpose in mind.
During the time this textile was created, the Ottoman Empire had advanced the system of block printing, which could recreate these beautiful designs much quicker than using embroidery. The fact that this piece was created using a painstakingly slow and labor-intensive embroidery technique is another indication that this cloth was created for a special purpose. A garment or item made from this textile would not have been for everyday wear.
This is a rare find and many textile fragments of this type are already in the hand of museums and private collections. It is a stunning piece that is a perfect example of the skill and artistry of the Ottoman textile industry. It will make an excellent archivally framed piece to be preserved for generations to come.