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Ottoman Velvet Panel Decorated with Stylized Pomegranates.

Ottoman Empire.

17th Century.

Dimensions: 270 x 64 cm.

Woven with ogival medallions (şemse) arranged in offset rows which form an infinitely repeating pattern, decorated with pomegranates, surrounded by spring flowers, in metal-thread against a red velvet ground.

Stylized medallion motifs are known as şemse in Turkish, a word deriving from the Arabic shams meaning ‘sun’. They are used as frame for diverse designs and arranged in various ways that plays a fundamental role in compositional layouts. Foremost among the arts in which şemse medallions have been used is bookbinding. In time these medallions became oval in shape and sometimes pendants were added at both ends. They frequently feature darts drawn around the edges that are assumed to represent sunrays. For further information please see, Motif from the Sadberk Hanım Museum Collection (written by Turgut Saner, Şebnem Eryavuz and Hülya Bilgi), Sadberk Hanım Museum, Istanbul, 2020, p. 180. The pomegranate had a symbolic meaning in Ottoman culture. It is a traditional symbol of wealth and prosperity. Crushing pomegranates in the first day of the new year is a tradition which indicates the wish of one becoming many.

The present velvet belongs to a small group of Ottoman velvets which are in the so-called ‘Italianate style’. This style persisted in Ottoman weaving even after the emergence of the new court style in the mid-16th century. The characteristic heavy ogival vines and large-scale stylized foliage were usually ornamented, however with typical Ottoman blossoms; tulips, carnations, pomegranates and saz leaves. For more information please see, Nurhan Atasoy, et al. İpek – The Crescent & the Rose: Imperial Ottoman Silks and Velvets, Azimuth Editions, London, 2001, pp. 302-303.

A similar Ottoman velvet with stylized palmettes with a double ogival layout is in the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation (Inv. No. 190), Lisbon. Please see, Ibid, 2001, p. 302, Fig. 305. A comparable Ottoman velvet decorated with ogival medallions arranged in offset rows pomegranates is in the Ömer M. Koç Collection. Please see the exhibition catalogue, Çatma & Kemha – Ottoman Silk Textiles, Sadberk Hanım Museum, Istanbul, 2007, No. 31, pp. 86-87.

Provenance

Ex-Private UK Collection.

Price on application





The BADA Standard

  • Since 1918, BADA has been the leading association for the antiques and fine art trade
  • Members are elected for their knowledge, integrity and quality of stock
  • Our clients are protected by BADA’s code of conduct
  • Our dealers’ membership is reviewed and renewed annually
  • Bada.org is a non-profit site: clients deal directly with members and they pay no hidden fees
Click here for more information on the BADA Standard