Ottoman silk, fragment of a short costume, 2nd half of the 15th century
Lot 65
An Imperial Ottoman cintamani silk brocade Fragment (kemha) Bursa, Turkey, second half of the 16th Century
Sold for £5,625 (US$ 9,454) inc. premium
Auction Details
Lot Details
An Imperial Ottoman cintamani silk brocade Fragment (kemha)
Bursa, Turkey, second half of the 16th Century
of deep pink silk of rectangular form with alternating bands of cintamani design in blue, pink and gold silk on a metal-thread ground, alternated with bands of plain metal-thread
27.5 x 10.2 cm.


  • Provenance: Private collection, Paris.

    Most Ottoman silks produced for use within the empire were used either for garments or furnishings. The cintamani was a popular decorative motif reproduced on textiles, usually depicted as two wavy horizontal bands alternating with three circles in triangular formation. Translated from Sanskrit as "auspicious jewel," the motif originated in Buddhist imagery, and may represent pearls and flames.

    The design elements of cintamani are sometimes referred to as "tiger stripes" and "leopard spots." Similar iconography is found in 16th Century Persian manuscript paintings featuring the Shahnama's hero, Rustam, who wears a garment of tiger skin and a leopard-skin hat, and possibly represents the fabric in Ottoman documents called pelengi (leopard-like) or benekli (dotted). Occasionally, cintamani is combined with floral elements in a delicate balance of the two distinctive styles, or the wavy lines and circular elements are separated to create singular motifs. In any combination, elements of cintamani were believed to protect the wearer and him with physical and spiritual fortitude

    Another kemha fragment dated the late 16th Century which uses groupings of large and small cintamani triple dot motifs in the same palette is in the Victoria and Albert Museum (836-1904) (Gursu, Nevber, The Art of Turkish Weaving, p. 102, fig. 96); and for two further related fragments, see Sotheby's, Art of the Ottoman Empire, 24 April 2012, Lots 157 and 158.
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