An Ottoman metal thread embroidered silk Curtain with the tughra of Mahmud II , rectangular, heavily embroidered in silver and silver-gilt threads on a predominantly black silk ground, consisting of an upper section with a rectangular panel bearing inscription on a yellow ground, above floral and laurel wreaths, and a small cartouche in red with inscription, the lower section with a floral swag topped with inscription-filled cartouches in the form of pineapples, a tughra below that, along three sides a narrow inscription-filled border within two borders with continuous repeat vegetal decorative motifs, 215 x 132 cm.
Provenance: From a Private Collection purchased by the current owner at Bonhams London, Islamic and Indian Art, Lot 179, 25th October 2007
On the upper centre red cartouche: the Bismallah.
On the narrow border frieze: sura XLVIII al-fath(Victory), verses 27-28.
On the central yellow rectangular panel 'Salutations and Peace be upon, o the one, who is the adornement of God'.
Within the floral cartouche in the form of pineapples: the Shahadah.
Below this is the Sultan's tughra and to the left of it the signature of Rakim, its designer. To the right of the tughra is the word Adli, the Sultan's honorific title. For another of Mahmud II's tughras with Rakim's signature, see Celal Esad Arseven, Les Arts Décoratifs Turcs, Istanbul, 1958, fig. 686.
This panel possibly belongs to a set of textiles decorating the interior of the Shrine of the Prophet in Medina (the Rawdah or 'garden of paradise'). They were usually replaced when an Ottoman Sultan ascended the throne (cf. Stephen Vernoit, The Nasser D. Khalili Collection of Islamic Art: Occidentalism, London, 1997, pp. 27-33). When taken down, the panels would either have been sent back to the Sultan's palaces in Istanbul, used as tomb covers, or distributed among dignitaries and the nobility.
The richly decorated panel with its garlands, swags and floral wreaths, typifies the rococo fashion during the reign of Sultan Mahmud II. It might have hung in a prestigious position such as the north facing door of the tomb.
Textile panels sharing similar characteristics, attributed to the Shrine of the Prophet in Medina, were sold at Sotheby's (Arts of the Islamic World, London, 12th October 2005, lot 12) and Christie's (Islamic and Manuscripts, London, 11th October 2005, lot 24).
some wear losses and staining and torn silk
Condition Report Disclaimer