Part of an ensemble with two other pieces also part of the collection (ZI2021.500875.2 ASIA and ZI2021.500875.2a 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 plain ivory cotton decorative towel (Yaglik) for women with embroidered embellishment at the (Warp) ends forming a border element that could be used as a waistband (Kusak).
The piece is a thin panel cut from broader of a broader fabric, as one side clearly features a (Selvedge) while the other side is folded and hemmed. The hemming as well as the embellished embroidery are done by hand. It features floral and geometric patterns with (Chain_stitch) style embroidery.
A central vine gives way to floral and foliage patterns in pink, blue, yellow, green, red, and black Floss threads possibly of cotton. The edge features a stylised zigzag pattern of yellow thread in Chain_stitch embroidery.
In Turkish parlance, the term Yaglik originally denoted a rectangular piece of cotton or linen, available in various sizes, used primarily as a napkin. Often, both ends of the Yaglik were embellished with embroidery.
Over time, the term expanded in meaning to encompass embroidered textiles used for decorative purposes within the household or during special occasions. Young brides frequently included Yaglik that was endearingly crafted by themselves and other members of their family in their trousseau as cherished possessions.
However, sashes with embroidery perhaps were not as important prior to the 18th century as embroidery in Ottoman Turkey until then, primarily emulated the luxurious woven silks and velvets found in courtly textiles.
Ottoman embroidery began to be recognised as an independent art form only after the first quarter of the 18th century when it deviated from the replication of woven designs and embraced a more creative approach. This shift included new and naturalistic floral motifs that flowed more freely across the design field.
Simultaneously an examination of historical artworks from Iran reveals a progressive evolution in the style of waist girdles which eventually evolved into an Ottoman Kusak. During the early 16th century, it was customary for individuals in Iran to wear a leather strap adorned with metal plaques. Subsequently, this design gave way to a narrower textile band fastened with gold clasps.
Thomas Herbert, a member of an English embassy to Iran in the late 1620s, made noteworthy observations regarding the length of these sashes and the significant variations in their materials. According to him individuals of different social statuses distinguished themselves through the quality of their band and the accompanying plain, but opulent fabric towels used underneath them.
These fabrics were often made of silk and gold for nobilities, while the merchants wore them woven with silver, and lower-ranking individuals wore them in silk and wool.
Similar sashes were also prevalent in the realms, adjacent to the Safavid cultural sphere – Ottoman and Mughal. By the late 17th century, this fashion trend had not just been widely accepted in the Ottoman Empire but transcended beyond it. It had reached parts of eastern Europe, such as Poland and Russia.
Thus, the courtiers in these regions embraced the use of textiles and fashion trends imported from Ottoman Turkey as status symbols. While the style of dress amongst the aristocracy in this region as well as the Ottoman empire gradually started drawing inspiration from the West, the popularity of the sash endured as an indelible mark of Ottoman influence either as an elaborate buckled Kusak or as an daintily embroidered Yaglik.
- Cangökçe, Hadiye, et al. Osmanlı İmparatorluğu’nun Son Döneminden Kadın Giysileri = Women’s Costume of the Late Ottoman Era from the Sadberk Hanım Museum Collection. Sadberk Hanım Museum, 2010.
- Küçükerman, Önder, and Joyce Matthews. The Industrial Heritage of Costume Design in Turkey. GSD Foreign Trade Co. Inc, 1996.
- AĞAÇ, Saliha, and Serap DENGİN. “The Investigation in Terms of Design Component of Ottoman Women Entari in 19th Century and Early 20th Century.” International Journal of Science Culture and Sport (IntJSCS), vol. 3, no. 1, Mar. 2015, pp. 113–125. https://dergipark.org.tr/tr/download/article-file/91778
- Parker, Julianne. “OTTOMAN AND EUROPEAN INFLUENCE IN THE NINTEENTH-CENTURY BRIDAL COLLECTION OF THE AZEM PALACE, DAMASCUS, SYRIA.” Journal of Undergraduate Research: Brigham Young University, 18 Sept. 2013. http://jur.byu.edu/?p=6014
- Koç, Adem. “The Significance and Compatibility of the Traditional Clothing-Finery Culture of Women in Kutahya in Terms of Sustainability.” Milli Folklor , vol. 12, no. 93, Apr. 2012. 184. https://www.millifolklor.com/PdfViewer.aspx?Sayi=93&Sayfa=181
- Micklewright, Nancy. “Late-Nineteenth-Century Ottoman Wedding Costumes as Indicators of Social Change.” Muqarnas, vol. 6, 1989, pp. 161–74. JSTOR, https://doi.org/10.2307/1602288. Accessed 13 July 2023.
- Micklewright, Nancy. “Looking at the Past: Nineteenth Century Images of Constantinople and Historic Documents.” Expedition, vol. 32, no. 1, pp. 24–32. https://www.penn.museum/documents/publications/expedition/pdfs/32-1/micklewright.pdf
- Ozgen, Ozlen, et al. “Henna Ritual Clothing in Anatolia from Past to Present: An Evaluation on Bindalli.” Textile Society of America Symposium Proceedings, 2021, https://doi.org/10.32873/unl.dc.tsasp.0122.