Part of an ensemble with seven other pieces which are also part of the collection (ZI2018.500640 ASIA, ZI2018.500640a ASIA, ZI2018.500640b ASIA, ZI2018.500640c ASIA, ZI2018.500640d ASIA, and ZI2018.500640f ASIA).
This piece of garment was purchased by Dr. Reem Tariq El Mutwalli as a set of ensembles from Jade Bréval, an independent collector from France in 2018 to add to and enhance The Zay Initiative collection.
Ms Jade Bréval who had travelled for over 15 years in and around Türkiye had collected items such as this from shops and individuals in small villages and towns that she visited.
This is an ivory cotton (Gauze) rectangular head cover (Bash_bezi) or veil (Peçe) with (Selvedge) to Selvedge weave. The (Weft) ends feature sporadic repeats of small line motifs in red and blue wool arranged alternately while the (Warp) ends feature a two-tier border.
The inner tier is composed of a line of repeats of geometric shapes in blue, black and red wool and the outer tier has a geometric design in flat Tapestry style weave – famous for making (Kilim) carpets – with green, yellow, black, blue and orange wool over a red woollen background. The Warp end edges have a series of red woollen pompoms attached to create a decorative fringe.
Unlike the typical square-shaped printed scarves (Yazma) with needle lace (Oya) trimmings that are unique to Türkiye and is popular as a traditional headgear for covering the head, a Peçe covers both the head as well as the face of the wearer.
It is different from a (Yashmak) which is also a veil and is usually composed of two delicate (Muslin) pieces: one is tied below the nose, covering the face, while the other is draped over the forehead, encompassing the head.
Additionally, the name could differ from region to region even within Türkiye. While it is popularly known as a Yashmak in certain regions it is also called a head cover or Bash_bezi in others.
Considering that this ensemble is of Balkan origin or influence it could be worn with a short pillbox hat unique to the north-western Marmara region of present-day Türkiye.
The headdress played a significant role in traditional Turkish clothing, particularly for women. It often consisted of a hat that varied in shape, ranging from small and flat to very tall.
A Scarf was wrapped around the head and hat, passing under the chin and tied either on top of the head or at the back of the neck. Married women would add a second Scarf wrapped horizontally around the forehead, similar to a turban – a custom still practised amongst the Kurdish tribes.
However, these scarves were never used to cover their faces and it was never customary for Turkish women to use full veils. When leaving the house, women, however, would usually wear a large Scarf that reached their elbows or feet to keep their hair covered.
The level of veiling depended on the conservatism of the family, with more conservative families opting for heavier veils. The scarves were often adorned with Oya or other Crochet lace trimming in the form of three-dimensional flowers, leaves, or fruit, which conveyed information about the wearer’s age, marital status, and affiliations. Silk or painted Yazma scarves were also exchanged as gifts during betrothals or weddings.
In the 19th century, Western influence began to shape women’s fashion as they gradually became more involved in social life. Neighbourhoods like Pera in Istanbul became a fashion centre, following Parisian trends introduced by Greek and Armenian tailors.
During the reign of Abdülhamit II – 1876-1909 – cloaks were replaced by robes in the urban areas. However, rural areas maintained their traditional clothing styles. During the Republican era under Mustafa Kemal Atatürk – founding father and first president of the Republic of Türkiye, then Turkey – clothing norms that were so far influenced by religious reasons underwent a severe transformation.
The reforms implemented in 1925 had a significant impact in Türkiye, where traditional garments associated with Islamic customs, such as turbans and fezzes, were phased out.
As a result, people began adopting a more European style of clothing where men started wearing hats, jackets, shirts, waistcoats, trousers etc, women replaced the large scarves and veils or Peçe with coats, scarves, and shawls.
Nevertheless, even today women continue to incorporate various elements of traditional Turkish costume into their attire, especially during festivals and ceremonies.
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