More than Rugs: Nazmiyal’s Antique Garments Collection

View Nazmiyal’s Beautiful Collection of Rare Antique Garments

In addition to the Nazmiyal Collection’s extensive assortment of antique rugs and vintage carpets, we also stock an impressive array of antique textiles from around the world. Some of our most interesting textile pieces are our antique garments; the rich histories of which combine the realms of fine art, fashion, and artisanal craft. In today’s post, we highlight three examples of highly distinct garments in the Nazmiyal Collection’s inventory: Each piece is from a different culture, time period, and tradition, but all three are intricate and historic works of art.

Metallic Silk Dress | Uzbekistan, Mid-Eighteenth Century.

Antique Silk & Metallic Thread Uzbek Dress, from the Nazmiyal Collection.
Antique Silk & Metallic Thread Uzbek Dress, from the Nazmiyal Collection.

The dress above was woven and tailored in Uzbekistan, during the mid-1700’s. The textile history of Uzbekistan is rich — cotton, wool, and silk have all been major exports of the region for many centuries. Flourishing mulberry orchards in the region provide a necessary food source for Atlas silkworms, which thrive in the country’s warm climate, and the production of silk remains one of Uzbekistan’s most cherished industries.

In addition to exporting silk to other countries, much of the fiber is woven into colorful traditional Uzbek garments. The dress above is likely an example of a woman’s holiday dress, as the metallic gold thread used in its construction was often reserved for celebration garments. It is significant that the lining of the garment is woven in warm tones, as Uzbek people traditionally regard these hues as symbolic of peace and well-being. In addition to its color, the motifs and Ikat patterns found in Uzbek traditional garments are very symbolic, and can be used to determine the wearer’s rank, social standing, or honors. To complete the outfit, an Uzbek woman would most likely wear a pair of traditional wide-leg trousers and a plain satin tunic dress, topped with the pictured robe. Accessories for a traditional Uzbek woman usually include gold or silver jewelry, as well as a headdress and leather footwear.

Antique ShawlPersia, Circa 1900.

Antique Persian Shawl, from the Nazmiyal Collection
Antique Persian Shawl, from the Nazmiyal Collection

Like Uzbekistan, Persia (Modern day Iran) also has a tradition of fine textile manufacturing that can be traced back for many centuries. The production of silk in the region reached its pinnacle from the mid-sixteenth century to the mid-eighteenth century, during the reign of the Persian Safavid Empire. Although silk was already a major Persian commodity before the rise of the Safavid Empire, manufacturing changed during this period from being dominated mainly by provincial, independent farmers, to becoming a state-sponsored industry. By the turn of the Twentieth century, Persian silk was well-known and highly coveted internationally.

Shawls such as the one pictured above were worn by women, often as head coverings. This example features a variation of a traditional Persian paisley print, with a spectacular central floral medallion. The red tone of this shawl is worth noting, as color was very symbolic in Persian culture — red, in particular, has been documented as representing many different ideas, from an auspicious sign of fertility and prolonged life, to a signifier of the wearer’s honor.

Dalmatic Vestment | Hapsburg Austrian Empire, Mid-Eighteenth Century.

Antique Dalmatic Vestment, from the Nazmiyal Collection
Antique Dalmatic Vestment, from the Nazmiyal Collection

This piece is an example of a Catholic liturgical garment from the mid-eighteenth century, in Europe. The view above shows the Dalmatic laid flat; when worn, the garment resembles a long tunic, reaching to at least the wearer’s knees, with wide sleeves that were either sewn shut or left hanging. In the Roman Catholic tradition, Dalmatics are often worn by deacons during High Mass. In prior centuries, Dalmatics had been common secular garments worn by both men and women, though by the mid-eighteenth century, one would not see a Dalmatic vestment worn by anyone outside of the church. Dalmatic vestments are often seen with intricate embroideries or floral patterns, such as in the example above.

Have a comment? Which garment is your favorite? Let us know in the comments! To see more textiles from the Nazmiyal Collection, check out our Textile Pinterest Board!

This post brought to you by the Nazmiyal Blog of Design and Style
  • N.Miller

    These are spectacular. I look forward to seeing future discoveries!