Velvet, brocaded: silk and silver-metal thread
Overall: 81.3 x 28.6 cm (32 x 11 1/4 in.); Mounted: 91.4 x 39.4 cm (36 x 15 1/2 in.)
Gift of Adolph Loewi 1943.313
This early Ottoman brocaded velvet was woven in an imperial workshop in the prosperous city of Bursa, the silk capital and major commercial center of the Ottoman Empire. It has exceptionally rich crimson silk pile, almost twice as dense as later monochrome velvets. The brocaded pattern of three balls and paired wavy bands is known as chintamani, derived from the Sanskrit word for a popular Buddhist motif, “the three jewels,” shown surrounded by flames or foliage in Buddhist art across Asia. Based on the high frequency of its use in art for the Islamic court of the Ottoman Turks, it appears to have been a favored motif and possibly even an unofficial imperial emblem.
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