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Silks for the Sultans

Silks from the Topkapı Palace, Topkapı Palace Museum, April 19–22, 2007
Imperial kaftans were presented in kaleidoscopic patchworks of silk that were works of art in their own right

  • This spectacular example of hazepare was made in the 16th century

The imperial tailors of the Topkapı created beautiful bohças, or wrappings, from remnants of fabric left over from kaftans made for the court, using a fine patchwork tecnique known as hazerpare (a thousand pieces). A bohça was given a matching lining and used as a wrapping in which to present the finished garment – how much lovelier than our modern gift paper.

Quite apart from their artistic merit, bohcas are valuable sample-books of fabrics used at the time, and unrivalled rources for collectors and scholars alike.

The Topkapı’s exhibition was not confined to bohças but included other vivid silks collected for the palace, among them prayer rugs from Chios and fabrics from Mughal India.

This exhibition was the brainchild of Dr Hülya Tezcan, formerly curator of textiles at the Topkapı, who has written the catalogue. She is also the author of Children of the Ottoman Seraglio: Customs and Costumes of the Princes and Princesses.

To read the full article, purchase Issue 37

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Issue 37, 2007 A Riot of Textiles
£300.00 / $383.26 / €355.06
Other Highlights from Cornucopia 37
  • The Glories of Genghis

    The exhibition at the Sabancı Museum is not only about Genghis Khan and his heirs. It starts several centuries BC with beautiful pieces created by the peoples of the Steppes that tell us about the animals on which they depended in daily life and the mythical creatutes that saw them through to the afterlife.

  • Edirne: The Forgotten City

    Once the Jewel in the Ottoman crown, Edirne is now a somnolent backwater on the Turkish borders of Greece and Bulgaria. Caroline and Andrew Finkel catch glimpses of its glorious past.

  • Hot Pots

    The Turkish yahni has evolved little since the days of Genghis Khan. Since Ottoman times it has been the same rich, satisfying dish. It fed the Janissaries, it fed the poor, it nourished students and it sustained sultans.
    More cookery features

  • Lesley Blanch: My Life on the Wilder Shores

    She has long lived in France, but Turkey has inspired ‘pangs of longing’ since her first visit in 1946. The celebrated author of The Wilder Shores of Love and The Sabres of Paradise, talks to Philip Mansel about a life of adventure and the landscape of the heart

Buy the issue
Issue 37, 2007 A Riot of Textiles
£300.00 / $383.26 / 12,378.91 TL
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