Style and Status: Imperial Costumes from Ottoman Turkey

Robe (Kaftan)

Turkey, Ottoman dynasty
17th century Brocaded silk (lampas weave) lined with satin
Topkapi Palace Museum, Istanbul, 13/41

The most distinctive motifs associated with the Ottomans is known as çintamani, a term derived from the Sanskrit for “auspicious jewel.” It consists of three balls or pearls in a triangular arrangement, at times combined with one to three wavy parallel bands. The motif, long regarded among Turkic people as a symbol to ward off evil, had been popular in Iran and Central Asia for centuries.

The smaller quilted robe with an upright collar was originally lined with fur. Its bold design of large, densely packed triple balls set against a vibrant magenta ground must rank among the most exuberant of Ottoman fabrics.