Style and Status: Imperial Costumes from Ottoman Turkey

Robe (Kaftan)

Turkey, Ottoman dynasty,
16th-17th century
Silk satin with inlaid appliqué design and stamped pattern
Topkapi Palace Museum, Istanbul, 13/558

Dazzling in design and conception, this kaftan clearly illustrate Ottoman efforts to transform costumes into visual drama. Instead of relying on woven patterns, relatively simple repeat motifs were “applied” to the satin surface, hence the term appliqué. Although the appliqué technique was less complex than that of brocaded silk, velvet, or cloth of gold and silver, it offered new possibilities in exploiting color, scale, texture, and design with stunning results.