Silks and Carpets for High Society

Ottoman Silk
Turkey, 16th Century
Silk and metal thread, lampas weave
Textile Museum, Washington D.C.
Acquired by George Hewitt Myers in 1952
Accession no. 1.70

The spectacular condition, brilliant colors, and sophisticated design of this panel give it the status of a world-class example of Ottoman silk weaving. As with many costly silks, the richness of the effect is enhanced by the use of what is popularly known as “cloth of gold,” which involves the use of a specially prepared silken thread, spiral-wrapped with an extremely thin strip of gilded silver. When this golden thread is woven into the silk fabric, it adds sparkle and luster without affecting the cloth’s drape. Such textiles were extremely expensive, and available only to the most wealthy.