Towel

Date: 19th century

Geography: Attributed to Turkey

Medium: Linen; embroidered in silk, metal thread, and tinsel

Dimensions: 52 in. high 28.00 in. wide (132.1 cm high 71.1 cm wide)

Classification: Textiles-Embroidered

Credit Line: Bequest of Richard B. Seager, 1926

Accession Number: 26.34.65

Description

Part health club, part community center, hammams are not only places to get clean, they are also places of significant social interaction. Social standing could be conveyed through the clothing and adornments worn in the hammam. A number of surviving Ottoman-period towels show that bath accessories, too, relayed subtle messages about the owner’s wealth. Intricate embroidery, sometimes in precious metal threads, conspicuously displayed the status of a bather’s family.

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