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Kaftan

Kaftan

  • Place of origin:

    Turkey (made)
    Turkey (excavated)

  • Date:

    ca. 1600 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Hand woven silk

  • Museum number:

    768-1884

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Kaftans like this one were worn by Ottoman princes who died when they were children. They were preserved in imperial tombs where they were placed over the graves of the deceased.

This example, woven of silk and metal-wrapped thread, shows that the young Ottoman princes were dressed in the same lavish style as the sultan and his courtiers. The wide range of designs include a meandering vine set with tulips, which is also found in contemporary embroidery.

This kaftan may have come from one of the graves of the 19 younger sons of Sultan Murat III. They were all executed at the succession of their half-brother, Mehmet III, in 1595. This gory practice, designed to avoid a struggle for the succession, was never repeated.

Physical description

Green kaftan of woven silk with a large scale repeat pattern of decorated ogival lattice executed in cream and red.

At the centre of each medallion there is a serated or garlanded roundel inside of which are flowers and a red decorated crescent. Inbetween the medallions are undulating vines of flowers.

Place of Origin

Turkey (made)
Turkey (excavated)

Date

ca. 1600 (made)

Artist/maker

Unknown

Materials and Techniques

Hand woven silk

Dimensions

Length: 79 cm, Width: 75.5 cm

Descriptive line

Child's kaftan of green silk patterned with large-scale ogival lattice in cream and red, ca. 1600.

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Baker P., French A. & Wearden, J., Memento Mori : Ottoman Children's Kaftans in the Victoria & Albert Museum, Hali, Issue 51, June 1990. pp.130-140
London, 1990

Labels and date

Princes' Kaftans from Ottoman Turkey

These three kaftans (and another in a nearby case) were worn by Ottoman princes who died when they were children. They were preserved in imperial tombs where, in accordance with Ottoman custom, they were placed over the graves of the deceased.

The kaftans may have come from the graves of the 19 younger sons of Sultan Murat III, who were executed at the succession of their half-brother, Mehmet III, in 1595. This gory practice, designed to avoid a struggle for the succession, was never repeated.

The kaftans, woven of silk and metal-wrapped thread, show that even in childhood, Ottoman princes were dressed in the same lavish style as the sultan and his courtiers. The wide range of designs of the time include a meandering vine set with tulips, which clearly influenced contemporary embroidery (see case opposite).

Museum nos 768, 763, 754-1884 [Jameel Gallery]

Production Note

Recovered from royal tombs in Constantinople or Bursa.

Materials

Lampas

Techniques

Weaving

Subjects depicted

Medallions (ornament areas); Stylized flowers

Categories

Textiles; Clothing

Collection

Middle East Section

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