Textile Fragment, Silk, metal wrapped thread; lampas (kemha)

Textile Fragment

Object Name:
ca. 1570–80
Attributed to Turkey, probably Istanbul
Silk, metal wrapped thread; lampas (kemha)
Textile: H. 123 1/2 in. (313.7 cm)
W. 26 1/2 in. (67.3 cm)
Tube: Diam. 2 1/2 in. (6.4 cm)
W. 38 1/2 in. (97.8 cm)
Credit Line:
Rogers Fund, 1944
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 460
The unusual length of this silk fragment suggests that it may have been used as a furnishing fabric rather than for a garment. It bears a repeating ogival pattern in silver, blue, and gold on a red ground, with red, blue, and silver floral patterns within the ogival forms. The small red-and-white checkered motifs that fill the scrolling borders around the ogival medallions may be derived from Italian textiles, demonstrating the cultural and artistic relationship between Italy and the Ottoman Empire in the sixteenth century
Three Textile Fragments with Ogival Patterns (nos. 52.20.22, 44.41.2 and 49.32.79)
Seen in these three colorful pieces of Ottoman silk from the sixteenth century, the ogival lattice became the most emblematic of all Ottoman design layouts for both lampas and velvet fabrics. Similar layouts were used first in Chinese silk cloth and later in fifteenth-century Mamluk silks from Egypt as well as European velvets, but throughout the second half of the sixteenth century the Ottomans produced an astonishing variety of ogival-design textiles utilizing the famous Ottoman stylized flowers as decorative motifs.
The blue-ground fragment (no. 52.20.22) with pale orange and gold ornamentation is both the smallest and the earliest of the three; its design consists of staggered rows of ogival medallions, each with a central tulip amid leaves that appear stencil-like in form, surrounded by a cusped collar decorated with small leaves, surrounded in turn by a more complex leafy margin decorated with honeysuckle blossoms. The blue ground between the medallions is ornamented with more orange and gold tulips and with round pomegranates, each decorated with a rosebud, on a network of thin, sinuous stems. Overall, the effect is restrained and elegant in its simplicity.
By the time Ottoman textile artists created the designs for the other two ogival-layout silk fragments seen here, more adventurous ideas had begun to prevail. The red-ground fabric (no. 44.41.2), with both selvages intact, is unusually long for a surviving piece of Ottoman silk and was probably used for furnishings, since it has not been cut in a shape to make a garment. Tightly drawn lotus blossoms and tulips in the gold medallions contrast with the size and boldness of the interlocking interstitial motifs, which are decorated with tiny jewel-like ornaments with a scalelike texture. Details of the design have been related to Italian damasks.[1]
The purple-ground fragment (no. 49.32.79), with its central leaf-edged medallions bearing sprays of tulips, carnations, and rosebuds on a rich gold ground, uses a more conventional ribbonlike device to delineate the ogival areas; the ribbon is decorated with tiny rosebuds and tulips. Relatively uncommon among Ottoman fabrics is the rich purple ground, and the use of a dark-brown silk warp lends a deeper and richer effect to the design.[2] The pattern of cuts at the top and bottom of this piece suggests it was used in a garment, probably an Ottoman ceremonial kaftan, where its rich colors, large areas of gold, and impressive scale would have made a striking effect.
Walter B. Denny in [Ekhtiar, Soucek, Canby, and Haidar 2011]
1. See Atasoy et al. 2001, pp. 104, 105, and 332, fig. 208, pl. 57.
2. Ibid., p. 332, pl. 58.
[ Dikran G. Kelekian, New York, until 1944; sold to MMA]
"New York Metropolitan Muzesinin sergisi munasebetile." Vanguard

Victoria and Albert Museum. Brief Guide to the Turkish Woven Fabrics. 2 ed. London: Victoria and Albert Museum, 1931. pp. 14, 15, ill. pl. IV, (similar pattern).

Dimand, Maurice S. "Turkish Art of the Muhammadan Period." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, n. s., vol. 2 (1944). pp. 211-217, ill. p. 216 (b/w).

Atasoy, Nurhan, Walter B. Denny, Louise W. Mackie, and Hulya Tezcan. IPEK: imperial Ottoman silks and velvets, edited by Julian Raby, and Alison Effeny. London: Azimuth Editions, 2001. pp. 104, 106, 272–73, ill. fig. 208, pl. 57.

Ekhtiar, Maryam, Sheila R. Canby, Navina Haidar, and Priscilla P. Soucek, ed. Masterpieces from the Department of Islamic Art in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. 1st ed. ed. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2011. no. 229B, pp. 322-323, ill. p. 323 (color).