16th century pattern symbolism

Traditional Turkish Ottoman motifs are unique to the history of the Ottoman Empire and have been used to decorate many words of art and clothing including fabrics, tiles, ceramics, carpet and decorative arts since the 13th century reaching their zenith in the 16th century. The motif designs include stylised flower and fruits such as the carnation, hyacinth and tulip.

Embroidered textiles were an integral part of Ottoman daily life, used for home furnishings and clothing. Textiles played a role in daily activities and were used as gift-wrappings, room decorations, daily linens, and clothing. Embroidered textiles were also used for more ceremonial purposes, such as weddings, births, and circumcisions. Handmade textiles were symbols of status and illustrated not only the wealth of a woman’s family but also her skill as an embroiderer.

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Carnation

The carnation symbolises spring, new birth, renewal and a marriage between earthly gardens and the flower filled fields of Paradise. The popularity of the carnation pattern originated during the 16th century from the ceramic workshops in Iznik. These workshops produced decorated ceramics and tiles for the Ottoman palaces and mosques. The carnation was grown in abundance in the countryside surrounding Iznik. The design was used widely on tiles, ceramic products such as plates, bowls and flagons, and also in the pattern design of fabulous clothing and home textiles.

 

Tulip

 

Hyacinth

Tiger design
A symbol of the strength and power of the Ottoman Empire and often found on fabric and clothing worn by the powerful.
(Gürsu, 1998).
Cintemani design
A pattern of three circles in a triangular pattern and wavy lines, which derives from leopard and tiger pelts. This motif travelled west with the Turks from Central Asia and is one of the most common motifs. The tiger stripe design symbolises power, strength and manly courage and has been commonly used in the designs on the clothes of the Sultans. The three circles together symbolise Ottoman power and protection.

 

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