Fragmentary Loom Width with Wavy-vine Pattern

Object Name: Fragment

Date: ca. 1565–80

Geography: Attributed to Turkey, probably Istanbul

Medium: Silk, metal wrapped thread; lampas (kemha)

Dimensions: Textile: L. 48 in. (121.9 cm)
W. 26 1/2 in. (67.3 cm)
Mount: L. 53 1/4 in. (135.3 cm)
W. 32 in. (81.3 cm)
D. 1 in. (2.5 cm)

Classification: Textiles

Credit Line: Purchase, Joseph Pulitzer Bequest, 1952

Accession Number: 52.20.21


Spectacular, large‑pattern silks were favored materials for luxury garments among the courtly elite of sixteenth-century Istanbul, and were often used for the bold, richly colored caftans of the Ottoman sultans. The weave here, referred to in Turkish as kemha, incorporates metal‑wrapped thread into a lampas, or multiweave fabric. Ottoman kemha fabrics typically combine a satin ground with a design executed in twill and highlighted with gold. Catching the light, their glittering patterns appear to float above a shimmering background.