Historical information about this antique silk Turkish Ottoman Embroidery
This professional silk antique embroidery displays discrete roses on a blue silk satin ground. The flowers all are oriented in the same directions and are embroidered in running stich. There is a simple outline border of leaves on a straight addition, there is subtle medallion with en suite corners whose major decorations are colorful, full face sunflowers rarely depicted.
The flowers are close in style to those found on Persian silk brocades from the 18th Century; discrete, repeated, restrained, elegant. The Persian textiles are loom creations with a unique ground whereas this and other related Ottoman ground pieces employ silk satin ground weaves and are the products of the embroiders guild in Istanbul.
There seems to have been a taste for neglected, detached floral elements in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Often babies’ aprons, with a slot and opening for the neck of the client employ similar seme style décor. Our antique textile never had an opening and was always integral. Relatively few Ottoman embroideries, whether mattress covers or Khokche (small wrappers) are in a medallion and corners style.
Turban covers like khokches, have a square format and a central circular motif. This piece is not a Turban cover either. Silk satin becomes popular around 1800 as an embroidery ground textile and it is not used in earlier examples. Where cotton or linen are most popular.
The silk of 42621 is of particularly high quality and probably was procured in Bursa. Silkworm fauns dotted the countryside around that city. Although Persian and Chinese silk was used in Ottoman textiles, Bursa silk was of equal quality. The light blue color is from indigo and was, of course, dyed in the yarn before weaving.
The precision and the use of precious materials was a hallmark of the professional embroiderer. This fine piece in top condition was not a domestic work. It may have been used as a cover for a lower table in either the public rooms or the private quarters of an affluent Istanbuli.