Women’s everyday wear did not change greatly during this time and comprised of:
Salvar (trousers) that were very baggy at the waist tapering to the ankles. The salvar were often coloured though did not usually match the rest of the outfit.
Gomlek (a chemise) that was mid-calf length and made from a transparent diaphanous fabric usually depicted in white.
Machine stitched ribs
The Hirka or fitted jacket was worn over the gomlek and might be sleeveless or have long tight sleeves or wide short sleeves. I suggest this was dependent on the weather! The jacket was buttoned to the waist. A sash or belt was tied at to just below the waist or on the hips.
The entari was worn over the hirka as a more formal dress. This garment was of a similar cut to the hirka but longer to the floor. Both the hirka and the entari were buttoned to the waist leaving the skirts to flare out. The top buttons were often left open to the underside of the bust allowing the entari to gape open. A sash or belt was worn about the hips.
Ferace – indoor clothing was highly coloured and very eye-catching however when a woman went outside she would cover herself modestly with a ferace. This was a simple overcoat in a dark sombre colour, buttoned to the throat. She would also cover her face with a yashmak.
There is mention of another garment – the yelek – a jacket worn over the entari, often lined with fur.
The V&A collection of children’s kaftans were worn by Ottoman princes who died in childhood. These luxurious kaftans were placed over the graves of the deceased children and preserved in the imperial tombs. In 1595 the nineteen younger sons of Sultan Murat III were executed on the orders of their half-brother Mehmet III on his succession. The killing of younger heirs of the sultanate evolved to prevent any struggling for succession (interesting that this is also practiced by male lions that kill the cubs when taking over a pride). This cruel practice was never repeated after 1595.
Weave and fabric construction
‘Lampas’ weave – 4:1 satin with a 1/3 twill. Silk warp and weft with a third element – a metallic silver wrapped white or yellow silk weft brocade. Loosely silver wrapped white silk yarns allows the white to show through the silver highlighting the metal – yellow yarn peeking through the sliver lends a gold hue to the resulting brocade. Fabric width: 66cm – 68.5cm
Predominantly white and red with touches of blue and yellow. Green was rarely used as there were no natural green dyes – green was produced by over dyeing yellow yarn with a blue dye. Red is used for the warp but never the weft – why?
Cintamani & Tiger stripes – Turkic, Central Asian origin.15thC
Stars & Crescents – Designs from Constantinople. 15th century
Florals: Pomegranate – single and sprays of, Ogival lattice, floral lattices, blossoms, pine cones, medallions – 16th century.
Undulating parallel lines – 17th century
Geometric design were still used in the 16th and 17th centuries
Pattern drawing for the children’s kaftan
Kaftan pattern pieces V&A clothworkers centre, London
Traditional Turkish Ottoman motifs are unique to the history of the Ottoman Empire and have been used to decorate many words of art and clothing including fabrics, tiles, ceramics, carpet and decorative arts since the 13th century reaching their zenith in the 16th century. The motif designs include stylised flower and fruits such as the carnation, hyacinth and tulip.
Embroidered textiles were an integral part of Ottoman daily life, used for home furnishings and clothing. Textiles played a role in daily activities and were used as gift-wrappings, room decorations, daily linens, and clothing. Embroidered textiles were also used for more ceremonial purposes, such as weddings, births, and circumcisions. Handmade textiles were symbols of status and illustrated not only the wealth of a woman’s family but also her skill as an embroiderer.
Red, blue, green, yellow, white, and black were the six colours used most frequently in Ottoman embroidery from the 17th to the mid-18th century.
The carnation symbolises spring, new birth, renewal and a marriage between earthly gardens and the flower filled fields of Paradise. The popularity of the carnation pattern originated during the 16th century from the ceramic workshops in Iznik. These workshops produced decorated ceramics and tiles for the Ottoman palaces and mosques. The carnation was grown in abundance in the countryside surrounding Iznik. The design was used widely on tiles, ceramic products such as plates, bowls and flagons, and also in the pattern design of fabulous clothing and home textiles.
A symbol of the strength and power of the Ottoman Empire and often found on fabric and clothing worn by the powerful.
A pattern of three circles in a triangular pattern and wavy lines, which derives from leopard and tiger pelts. This motif travelled west with the Turks from Central Asia and is one of the most common motifs. The tiger stripe design symbolises power, strength and manly courage and has been commonly used in the designs on the clothes of the Sultans. The three circles together symbolise Ottoman power and protection.