Part of an ensemble containing a pair of matching trousers also in the collection (ZI2021.500912a ASIA).
This piece of garment was purchased by Dr. Reem Tariq El Mutwalli from Mosaik, an independent antique dealer in California, in 2018 to add to and enhance The Zay Initiative Collection.
It originally belonged to Föhret Aydin, a lady from the town of Sandilik in the province of Afyonkarahisar, and was later inherited by her daughter Latife Aydin. She eventually passed it to her grandchild Balk Aydin a management consultant from New York born in Bursa, Türkiye, before being acquired by Mosaik, and eventually ending up in the collections of The Zay Initiative.
This is an ivory jacket (Entari) possibly made from a blend of silk and wool, with long sleeves and a short collar. The piece is a front-open garment without any fastening. It is embellished with embroidered patterns, and trimmings along its hems, cuffs, and neckline.
The field of the Entari is embellished with (Chain_stitch) style embroidered floral and geometric patterns running in vertical panels. It is hand embroidered using golden-coloured silk Floss thread. A thick panel featuring repeats of star-shaped floral motif is alternated with a narrower panel featuring repeats of a leaf and knot motif arranged in a chain-like fashion.
The garment has two long slits on the sides with a pocket at the end of each which divides the skirt into three segments, thus making it an (üçetek_Entari). A red silk braided trimming is (Appliqued) to the scalloped hem and edges with extended corners featuring floral shapes and motifs. Similar trimming is used for the cuffs, as well as the deep scalloped neckline.
A unique feature of this Entari is its cuffs which, unlike its contemporaries, are tapered and pleated instead of featuring long Cutwork edges. The entire piece is hand stitched, hand embroidered, and is primarily lined with fine ivory cotton, except for the cuffs which are lined with chequered woven cotton in a range of colours – blue, black, lavender, and ivory.
By the early 20th century wearing an Entari especially an üçetek_Entari such as it, was mostly limited to ceremonial celebrations such as weddings and henna rituals and they were often kept carefully in boxes.
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.
Although, Entari became more and more ceremonial over the period of time, older üçetek_Entari, particularly for travelling served some practical purposes. Wearers would often fold and tuck the front parts into their waistband, thus creating a layering that would not just look good and assist them in moving around but also create two pouches where the wearer could store food and sometimes small stones to use with slingshots against potential attacks on the road.
Additional layers were added as necessary, based on weather conditions, social occasions, and social status. These layers encompassed items such as waistcoats, short jackets like (Cepken) and (Yelek), extra Entari, as well as coats of various sizes and lengths.
Belts adorned with elaborate embroidery and ornate buckles, or just embroidered sashes (Cummerbund) were utilised to accentuate the bust, waist, and hips, creating a defined silhouette.
At its peak, the Ottoman Empire spanned three continents and served as the crossroads between the East and the West – the Fertile Crescent, the Levant, Eastern Europe including the Balkans till the southern edge of the Great Hungarian Plain, Northern Africa, and Eastern Mediterranean.
After the conquest of the Arab world in c. 1516-1517 CE its control over the Middle East lasted for four centuries until the early 20th century with the onset of WW I and the Arab Revolt. These four hundred years witnessed many instances of mutual Arab and Ottoman cultural influences and exchanges. Through areas such as social life and art – decorative and performing –we come across several instances of Arab and Turkish culture blending together through the centuries.
Just as European fashion was often inspired by the French court this socio-cultural blending between Ottoman Turkey and the Middle East was clearly reflected in its fashion and material culture.
Thus, while emulating Ottoman fashion as the mark of class in the Arab world was one side of the puzzle adapting Eastern European fashion particularly Balkan as part of mainstream couture culture because of the sizable Balkan population within the Empire was another. Therefore, it is not surprising to find several articles of clothing and their terms similar between the two cultures.
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