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October 29, 2005 – January 22, 2006
Museum: Sackler Gallery
Location: Pavilion; Sublevel 1
On view for the first time are 68 of the world's finest and most luxurious imperial Ottoman royal textiles from the Topkapi Palace Museum in Istanbul, the State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, and other national and international collections. Distinguished by their bold designs, colors, and complexity, silk textiles denoted rank and privilege and played important economic, political, and ceremonial roles in the life of the Ottoman Empire (1342-1924). The Ottoman Empire's largest market for both raw and woven silk were Europe, the Balkans, and Russia. Items made from Ottoman silk included clothing, furnishings, tent hangings, and ceremonial robes (kaftans). The artistic influence of Ottoman textile motifs, which endures today, inspired artists like William Morris who incorporated Ottoman motifs into his textiles and wallpapers.