Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Antique Ottoman Kutnu Silk Shawl

Antique Ottoman Kutnu Silk Shawl from Gaziantep, south east Anatolia

This stunning Ottoman man’s silk shawl came from The Lower House, Wickham, Hampshire and belonged to Major General Sir Charles H. Powell, KCB. The fine silk fabric called ‘kutnu’ in Turkish from which the shawl is made, was woven in Gaziantep in south east Turkey near the Syrian border. This technique and style of silk weaving was introduced to Turkey from Aleppo in Syria in the 1600s but today, there remains only one last workshop producing kutnu silk. The shawl is woven in a fine silk weft of golden yellow, red, blue, emerald green and white. The substantial double twisted silk tassels provide the ends of shawl with weight when worn. 

During the Victorian era Powell was a captain in the Gurka Regiment of the Indian Army. He became a general in the British army at the turn of the century and was based in Dublin with Lord Carson in the early 1900s. The shawl is from his estate and is mentioned in an inventory made of his property in 1922 prior to his deployment as ambassador for the Red Cross in Russia in the same year. 

The oil portrait shown below of Powell was painted by Ella Powell to celebrate his Colonelcy of the 1st King George’s Own Gurkha Rifles (The Malun Regiment) from 1916–1943 and was donated to the Gurkha Museum in 2003.

The Ottoman kutnu silk shawl which is 290cm long (including 9cm tassels) and 79cm wide, is estimated to have been woven between 1880 and 1910 and is in remarkably good condition for its age.

For more details and photos see: www.kilim.ie

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