Style and Status: Imperial Costumes from Ottoman Turkey

Robe (Kaftan)

Turkey, Ottoman dynasty,
mid-16th century Brocaded silk (lampas weave),
gilt metal and silk thread, with satin lining
Topkapi Palace Museum, Istanbul, 13/37

Fashioned from one of the most extraordinary Ottoman fabrics, this long-sleeved ceremonial kaftan is woven with six different colored silks, the greatest number of any recorded example. Its unusually large design, which covers the entire width of the cloth and has no apparent technical repeat, may have been conceived by an artist of the court atelier (nakkas,hane) who specialized in designs for large surfaces. Lined with brilliant yellow silk satin, the robe is also extremely heavy, suggesting the fabric originally may not have been intended for a garment.