Part of an ensemble with two other pieces also part of the collection (ZI2021.500875.2a ASIA and ZI2021.500875.2b ASIA).
This piece of garment was purchased by Dr. Reem Tariq El Mutwalli as a set of ensembles from a dealer in Istanbul in 2021 to add to and enhance The Zay Initiative Collection.
This is a red and ivory vertical striped silk waistcoat (Cepken) with metal – possibly silver – thread (Sirma)/(Tel_Sirma) embroidered embellishment.
The field of the jacket is constructed of silk and cotton stripe patterned woven (çitari) fabric.
It has a fully embellished neckline in (Couching) style embroidery done with thickly twisted corded cotton threads and possibly leather strips in dark brown or possibly black.
The embroidery features a stylised floral arrangement by bending and twisting the thread in different directions and orientations. The branches and vines are created through wavy lines while the flowers and the foliage are created through loops and circles.
The embroidery covers the neckline, the placket, and the cuffs. While the front opening could be fastened by a series of (Frog_fasteners) stitched in a row on the underside of the garment, the cuffs could be fastened with a plastic button. The cuffs are gathered near the wrists by a series of pleats that make them taper.
The entire piece is both hand and machine-stitched and is thoroughly lined with a fine ivory cotton fabric. It also features a tiny coin pouch size pocket possibly to hold a watch and fob on the front right panel of the Yoke with embroidered trimming.
Although a fairly recent piece dating back to the 1950s, it has been constructed like the traditional garments prevalent during Ottoman rule, especially during the 19th century.
Prior to the widespread acceptance of European clothing in the Ottoman Empire, individuals – men and women – residing in urban areas, regardless of their faith or social standing, typically adorned themselves with three primary articles of clothing.
These included a calf-length cotton undershirt or (Gömlek), featuring long sleeves, which was worn over a pair of loose trousers known as (Shalvar). Additionally, they would wear a long-sleeved robe called an Entari, reaching the ankles or floor.
Additional layers were added as necessary, based on weather conditions, social occasions, and social status. These layers encompassed items such as waistcoats (Cepken), short jackets (Yelek) or (Jilek), extra Entari, as well as coats of various sizes and lengths.
Belts adorned with elaborate embroidery and ornate buckles, or just embroidered sashes as (cummerbunds) were utilized to accentuate the bust, waist, and hips, creating a defined silhouette.
Although, the Entari was common throughout the Ottoman Empire, layering with a Cepken and a Yelek over a Gömlek and a pair of loose shalvār was most common in the Balkan regions, an influence that widely spread through the rest of the Ottoman Empire and was especially popular in c. late 19th and early 20th centuries in the north-western provinces such as the Marmara region in present-day Türkiye, as it had a significant Balkan population.
The intriguing history of çitari fabric unfolds within the Turkish diaspora during the 18th-century Ottoman era when other various novel fabrics gained prominence. Distinguished by its unique attributes, this fabric features slender, parallel vertical stripes in contrasting colours, reminiscent of the strings of a musical instrument called the çitar.
Composed of tightly woven silk (Warp) and cotton (Weft) yarns, the çitari fabric stands apart from other striped textiles due to its specific weaving technique, coloured Warp patterns, choice of raw materials, and superior craftsmanship.
Notably, regions such as Bursa, Gaziantep, Istanbul, Tunceli, Diyarbakir, Tokat, Antalya, Harput, Yalvaç, Izmir, and Denizli were renowned for their exquisite çitari weaves during this period. Such was the fabric’s popularity that it even led to the importation of çitari from India and Damascus.
As such The Zay Initiative has in its possession pieces that were constructed of similar fabric that were sourced from the Levant region of the Arab world, especially Palestine and Syria. One such piece worth mentioning is a tunic dress from Palestine (ZI1998.500922 PALESTINE).
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