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Ottoman textiles and Greek clerical vestments: prolegomena on a neglected aspect of ecclesiastical material culture

  • Nikolaos Vryzidis (a1)
  • Please note a correction has been issued for this article.

This article discusses a neglected aspect of Greek ecclesiastical material culture: the wide use of Ottoman textiles after the conquest of Constantinople. My discussion will touch upon Greek archival sources before analysing three different types of textiles: aniconic silks and velvets; Ottoman figural production for the Christian market; and embroidery of the Byzantine tradition featuring Ottoman motifs. These categories represent three different points of contact between Ottoman aesthetic and Greek ecclesiastical material culture. If the use of aniconic textiles expresses the employment of court aesthetic, then the figural silks represent the weaving industry's response to a Christian demand for such products. Finally, the Byzantine-tradition embroideries discussed constitute evidence of artistic confluence.

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1 The author follows the spelling and accents as they appear in the sources quoted.

2 Luxury textiles could be divided into two main categories: simple weaves and compound, more complex, weaves. The Ottoman textiles that will occupy us in this article fall into the category of compound weaves: 1) lampas: silks with a satin ground and twill pattern, 2) cloth of gold/silver: silks completely covered by supplementary wefts of gold and/or silver, and 3) velvet: a compound weave with a ground fabric and an extra set of threads woven into it, creating different effects. These are the three favoured weaves in Ottoman textiles as well. See Atasoy, N. et al., İpek: Imperial Ottoman Silks and Velvets (London 2001) 217–25.

3 Shukurov, R., The Byzantine Turks 1204–1461 (Leiden and Boston 2016) 313–14.

4 These are the three references in the Patriarchal inventory: ‘ἱμάτιον χαμουχᾶς δίχρους κιτρινοκόκκινος’; ‘ἔτι προσετέθησαν καὶ ἕτεραι δύο ποδέαι. . .ἡ δὲ ἄλλη χαμουχᾶς δίχρους μετὰ περιφερίου πρασίνου χαμουχᾶ’; and ‘καὶ ποτηροκαλύμματα δύο, καὶ αὐτᾶ ὀξὺν βασιλικὸν συρματέινον μετὰ περιφερίων χαμουχενίων’. See Miklosich, F. and Müller, J., Acta et diplomata graeca medii aevi sacra et profana II (Vienna 1862) 569–70. In the will of Demetrios Tzamblakon (1366/7) there is another reference to a piece of female clothing made of kamouchas: ‘ἐνέχυρον γυναικεῖον ῥοῦχον καμουχὰς εἰς ὑπέρπυρα ὀκτώ’: see Theocharides, G. I., ‘Eine Vermächtnisurkunde des Groß-Stradopedarchen Demetrios Tzamblakon,’ in Wirth, P. (ed.), Polychronion. Festschrift Franz Dölger zum 75.Geburstag (Heidelberg 1966) 486–95, esp. 489. Podea was a decorative cloth, sometimes embroidered, used as an adornment of icons. See Frolov, A., ‘La «Podea»: un tissu décoratif de l'Eglise byzantine’, Byzantion 13, Fasc. 2 (1938) 461504 ; Johnstone, P., Byzantine Tradition in Church Embroidery (London 1967) 22–3.

5 In a poem by the Rhodian Emmanuel Georgillas (ca. 1450-1500) with the Greek title ‘Ἱστορικὴ ἐξήγησις περὶ Βελισαρίου ’, this older version (‘χαμουχάδες’) appears again in relation to precious silk that could be walked upon, an equivalent of the red carpet: ‘. . .ὥρισε πεύκια καὶ χαμουχάδες νὰ τὰ ξαπλώσουν εἰς τὴν γῆν καὶ πάνω νὰ πατήσῃ. . .’. It seems therefore that this version of the term continued to live on in Modern Greek for some time after the fall of Constantinople. See Wagner, W. (ed.), Carmina Graeca Medii Aevi (Leipzig 1874) 334 .

6 Kriaras, E. (ed.), Λεξικό της μεσαιωνικής δημώδους γραμματείας, 1100–1669, VI (Thessaloniki 1980) 320 .

7 Jacoby, D., ‘Late Byzantium between the Mediterranean and Asia: Trade and material culture’, in Brooks, S. T. (ed.), Byzantium: Faith and Power (1261–1557): Perspectives on Late Byzantine Art and Culture (New York, New Haven and London 2006) 2041 . On the impact of Persian and Central Asian silks on Italy, and the terminology used, including camoca, see Jacoby, D., ‘Oriental silks go west: A declining trade in the later Middle Ages’, in Arcangeli, C. Smidt and Wolf, G. (eds), Islamic Artefacts in the Mediterranean World: Trade, Gift Exchange and Artistic Transfer (Venice 2010) 7199 ; Monnas, L., ‘The impact of Oriental silks on Italian silk weaving in the fourteenth century’, in Saurma-Jeltsch, L. E. and Eisenbeiß, A. (eds), The Power of Things and the Flow of Cultural Transformations (Berlin 2010) 6589 ; Rosati, M. L., ‘Nasicci, baldacchini e camocati: il viaggio della seta da Oriente a Occidente’, in Norell, M. et al. (eds), Sulla Via della Seta: Antichi sentieri tra Oriente e Occidente (Turin 2011) 234–70.

8 In Greek sacristies there are many Persian remnants as well, mainly Safavid and Qajar silks. An interesting observation is that the Persian provenance, which was noted quite often in Byzantine inventories, does not appear in Ottoman-period monastic archives. Textiles of Italian or Russian provenance are noted, which raises the question as to their naming in Ottoman-period Greek. This is a matter that can be clarified after a more meticulous study of the archives has been undertaken.

9 As Ducas (c. 1400-after 1462) used the phrase ‘amphia of the barbarians’, it is highly probable that he saw clerical costume made of early Ottoman textiles in pre-1453 Constantinople. The word amphia is quite specific in Greek, meaning ecclesiastical vestments. See Ducas, M., Corpus Scriptorum Historiae Byzantinae (Bonn 1834) 257 .

10 Clogg, R., ‘A millet within a millet: the Karamanlides’, in Gondicas, D. and Issawi, C. (eds), Ottoman Greeks in the Age of Nationalism (Princeton 1999) 115–42, esp. 118.

11 For example, the Cretan Leonardo Dellaporta (before 1330-1419/20) recounts in one of his poems his contacts with an Emir. He mentions that his Frankish outfit was taken by the Emir's courtiers and he was given ‘Turkish’ clothes to wear. In their description, the term kamouchas is again mentioned: ‘. . .ἐγδύνου μετὰ ροῦχα μου τὰ φράγκικα τὰ ἐφόρουν, καὶ ἀνάλλαξέν με οͨ ἀμιράς τούρκικη φορεσίαν, πιρνοκοκκᾶτον καμουχᾶν καὶ ἀπάνω γερανέον, χρυσοβουλλᾶτον ἔντυμαν καὶ μαντηλίτσια τρία μεταξοχρυσοκέντητα καὶ ταλαγάνι ὡραῖον,. . .’. See Μanousakas, Μ. Ι., Λεονάδρου Ντελλαπόρτα Ποιήματα (1403-1411) (Athens 1995) 257 ; see also Zachariadou, E., ‘The presents of the Emirs’, in Droulia, L. (ed.) Cultural and Commercial Exchanges between the Orient and the Greek World (Athens 1991) 7984 .

12 Pavlikianov, C., The Athonite Monastery of Vatopedi from 1462 to 1707 (Sofia 2008) 144 .

13 Crusius, M., Turcograeciae Libri Octo (Modena 1972) 108 .

14 N. Vryzidis, ‘Towards a history of the Greek hil‘at: an interweaving of Byzantine and Ottoman traditions’, Convivium-Exchanges and Interactions in the Arts of Medieval Europe, Byzantium and the Mediterranean 4.2 (2017) 176-91; N. Vryzidis, ‘Textiles and ceremonial of the Greek Church under the Ottomans’, Paper presented at the Gennadius Work-in-progress Seminar, The Mandilas Rare Book Reading Room, 16 March 2017; N. Vryzidis and E. Papastavrou, ‘Sacred patchwork: patterns of textile reuse in Greek churches during the Ottoman period’, Paper presented at ‘Spolia reincarnated: second life of spaces, materials, objects in Anatolia from antiquity to the Ottoman period’, 10th RCAC Annual Symposium, Koç University Research Center for Anatolian Civilizations, Istanbul, 6 December 2015.

15 Pavlikianov, The Athonite Monastery, 173–5.

16 For a concise overview of the different types of Ottoman textiles, among them the less luxurious qualities such as atlas, see Gürsu, N., The Art of Turkish Weaving: Designs Through the Ages (Istanbul 1988) 22 .

17 As a textile term, metaxa usually denoted raw silk during the Byzantine era. One cannot be certain of the meaning during the Ottoman period but it was probably either a generic term for silk or simple silk weaves. See Galliker, J., ‘Terminology associated with silk in the middle Byzantine period (AD 843-1204)’, in Nosch, M. L., Michel, C. and Gaspa, S. (eds), Textile Terminologies from the Orient to the Mediterranean and Europe 1000 BC-AD 1000 (Oxford, forthcoming) 147 , esp. 6.

18 This is a Byzantine term which stood for porphyry red silk, and later became generic for silk. The fact that the specific term was used in the inventory list for the cloth covering the holy relic is an indication that it might have been a Byzantine remnant. On the term, see Kazhdan, A. P. (ed.), The Oxford Dictionary to Byzantium (New York and Oxford 1991) 296 ; Kriaras, E., Λεξικό της μεσαιωνικής δημώδους γραμματείας, IV (Thessaloniki 1975) 130 .

19 Paizi-Apostolopoulou, M. and Apostolopoulos, D. G., Ἀφιερώματα καὶ δωρεὲς τὸν 16ο αἰῶνα στὴ Μ. Εκκλησία: Θεσμικὲς ὄψεις τῆς εὐσεβείας (Athens 2002) 153–5.

20 In the collection of the Byzantine and Christian Museum there is a sixteenth/seventeenth-century fragment from the Monastery of the Transfiguration, Meteora, patterned with crosses and tulips. See Konstantios, D. (ed.), The World of the Byzantine Museum (Athens 2004) cat. 338. The main body of the omophorion of the Archbishop of New Justinianopolis and all Cyprus, Sylvester, is made of exactly the same design. According to the embroidered inscription, this stole dates to 1720, but the silk under discussion is from earlier. See Papanikola-Bakirtzis, D. and Iacovou, M. (eds), Byzantine Medieval Cyprus (Nicosia 1998) cat. 165.

21 T. Gritsopoulos, ‘Η αρχιεπισκοπή Δημητσάνης και Αργυροκάστρου’, Επετηρίς Εταιρίας Βυζαντινών Σπουδών 20 (1950) 209–56, esp. 222–5.

22 Almost a century later, but still relevant, is Alexandros Mavrokordatos’ (1636-1709) oblation to the Patriarchate of Constantinople. In its codex of oblations it is noted that in the year 1705 he donated fourteen phelonia of white kemha (‘καμουχὰ ἄσπρο’) to the Great Church. See Gedeon, M., ‘Κῶδιξ ἀφιερωμάτων καὶ δωρεῶν εἰς τὸν πατριαρχικὸν ναὸν’, Εκκλησιαστική Αλήθεια Κωνσταντινουπόλεως 38 (1884) 568–71, esp. 568. Kemha is also mentioned in relation to the textile oblations that a Valide Sultana presented during her pilgrimage to Mecca in Tzanes’ The Cretan War: ‘. . .Μέγα καράβι ἐφόρτωσε, οὗλο προσκυνητάδες, φορέματα ὁλόχρυσα, βελοῦδα καμοκάδες, ν’ ἀφήσει στό προσκύνημα καὶ ἄλλα νά χαρίσει εἰς ε̉φτωχούς ὁπού ’τον κεῖ κι’ ὄνομα ν’ ἀποχτήσει. . .’ (Nenedakis, A. Ν., Μαρίνος Τζάνες Μπουνιαλής: Ο Κρητικός Πόλεμος (1645-1669) (Athens 1979) 211). It would be correct to state that in the Greek world the pertinence of kemha as an official present was universally understood, and was also understood in relation to the customs of the Ottoman court.

23 N. Vryzidis, ‘A study on Ottoman Christian aesthetic: Greek-Orthodox vestments and ecclesiastical fabrics, 16th-18th centuries’, unpublished PhD thesis, SOAS-University of London, 2015, 206-74.

24 In Κόποι και Διατριβή, by Archbishop Arsenius, the English provenance of a kamouha is noted: ‘. . .καὶ Ἐγκλητέρας καμπουχὰν μὲ εὔμορφα κλαδία. . .’. See Zampelios, S., ‘Κόποι και Διατριβή του ταπεινού Αρχιεπισκόπου Αρσενίου’, Πανδώρα 10 (1859-60) 414–18, 390-5, 370-5, esp. 414. Similarly, in Limenitis’ The Plague of Rhodes, first published in the early sixteenth century, the Pisan provenance of a kamouchas is duly noted: ‘. . .Και πασαένα φόρεμα που να ’ναι τιμημένον χρεια ’ναι ’πουκάτω στην ποδιάν τριγύρα να ’ν’ ραμμένο βελούσιν ή και τσατουνίν ή καμουχά αφ’ την Πίζαν. . .’ (Henrich, G. S., Εμμανουήλ/Μανόλης Λιμενίτης: Το Θανατικόν της Ρόδoυ (Thessaloniki 2015) 68).

25 See Kalousios, D. G.,‘Ο κώδικας της Τρίκκης: 1688-1857 (ΕΒΕ 1471)’, Θεσσαλικό Ημερολόγιο 48 (2005) 364 , esp. 22, 25, 27 and 45; Karydis, C., The Orthodox Christian Sakkos: Ecclesiastical Garments Dating from the 15th to the 20th Centuries from the Holy Mountain of Athos. Collection Survey, Scientific Analysis and Preventive Conservation (Oxford 2010) 258 ; Odorico, P., Le Codex B du Monastère Saint-Jean-Prodrome Serrès XVe-XIXe siècles (Paris 1998) 95 , 149.

26 Kalousios, D. G., ‘Ο κώδικας της Τρίκκης: 1688-1857 (ΕΒΕ 1471)’, Θεσσαλικό Ημερολόγιο 49 (2006) 65128 , esp. 75.

27 ‘. . . Ἐστὶ καὶ ἕτερον χρυσοῦν, ὡραῖον σερασέρι, ὅπερ κρεμοὺν τὰς ἑορτὰς κὶ ἔχει ἒν μεσαστέρι’. See Paisios, Bishop of Rhodes, Ἱστορία τοῦ Ἀγίου Ὄρους Σινᾶ καὶ τῶν περιχώρων αὐτοῦ: Ἔμμετρον σύγγραμμα συνταχθὲν μεταξὺ τῶν ἐτῶν 1577-1592 (St Petersburg 1891) 613. In the Ottoman collection of the Benaki Museum there is a textile with the mentioned motif (‘μεσαστέρι’) that could have been used as a hanging (ΓΕ3777).

28 For large-scale motifs in serâser and faux-serâser, a term art historians used for kemha silks which imitate the costly cloth of gold, see Atasoy et al., İpek, figs. 168-74, 179, 180, 185, 187, 188; Mackie, L. W., Symbols of Power: Luxury Textiles from Islamic Lands, 7th-21st Century (New Haven and London 2015) 8.7, 8.24, 8.41. One of the largest star motifs, representing the mythological seal of Solomon, can be found in a kemha caftan at the Topkapı Palace (TSM13/21). A later velvet cushion cover, adorned with a central eight-pointed star, is to be found in the Royal Armoury of Sweden, Stockholm; see Atasoy et al., İpek, cat. 74. While star motifs appear quite often in kemha silks within the Greek ecclesiastical context (for example: BXM 20857 and BXM 20844 in the collection of the Byzantine and Christian Museum of Athens), no serâser drapery, such as the one described by Bishop Paisios, has yet been published or discovered within a sacristy.

29 Kazazis, I. (ed.), Λεξικό της μεσαιωνικής δημώδους γραμματείας του Εμμανουήλ Κριαρά, XVII (Thessaloniki 2014) 471–2. Another reference reinforces this point regarding the textile's popularity, at least for the eighteenth century: in a 1759 official motion of the community of Mytilene, women are encouraged to adopt a more modest attire and avoid serâser, among other sumptuous textiles, because of their incompatibility with a pious appearance. See Spanos, A., Κώδιξ Α΄ Ιεράς Μητροπόλεως Μυτιλήνης (18ος αι.) (Mytilene 2006) 222 .

30 Patriarch of Jerusalem, Nektarios the Cretan, Ἐπιτομή τῆς Ἱεροκοσμικῆς Ἱστορίας (Venice 1739) 330.

31 ‘. . .Με σερασέρια όλοι τως ήτανε στολισμένοι, μπεήτηδες και οι λοιποί οπού ’σαν ’πεσταλμένοι, να τους τιμήσουν περισσά αυτούνους τους ελτζήδες. . .’. See Kaplanis, T., Ioakeim Kyprios’ Struggle: A Narrative Poem on the ‘Cretan War’ of 1645-1669 (Nicosia 2012) 130 .

32 ‘Κατιφένιον’ and ‘κατουφέ’ are both terms which derive from kadife and appear in the 1673 and 1796 inventory lists of Simonopetra monastery (Mount Athos). See Karydis, The Orthodox Christian Sakkos, 263 and 265.

33 See Pavlikianov, The Athonite Monastery of Vatopedi, 174. In this collection there is a phelonion made of a sixteenth-century Italian silk brocade, but it is not velvet (inv. no. 128).

34 Atasoy et al., İpek, 222-4.

35 See E. Bayraktar-Tellan, ‘The Patriarch and the Sultan: The struggle for authority and the quest for order in the eighteenth-century Ottoman empire’, unpublished PhD thesis, Bilkent University, 2011, 80-168.

36 The abundance of Ottoman motifs on the clothing of holy figures in Greek icons and mural paintings during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries is only relatively well-documented. See the relevant article by Merantzas, C., ‘Le tissu de soie comme représentation culturelle: le cas de la peinture monumentale post-byzantine dans la Grèce du Nord-Ouest’, Bulletin du CIETA 83 (2006) 621 . Also for relevant examples in the mural paintings of southern Greece, see Proestaki, X., ‘The wall paintings of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries at Stemnitsa in the Peloponnese, Greece’, Zograf 38 (2014) 165201 , esp. figs. 8,30,40,42; X. Proestaki,‘Ο Ναός του Αγίου Αθανασίου στο Στεφάνι Κορινθίας’, in Proceedings of the 2nd Conference of Corinthian Studies: Historical Corinthian Monasteries, Corinth 7-9 October 2011 (Corinth, 2014) 21-58, fig. 8; Proestaki, X., ‘Western influences on 17th-century post-Byzantine wall paintings in the Peloponnese: Roots in the 16th century’, Byzantinoslavica 68 (2010) 291352 , esp. figs. 27-8, 33. Research on the subject remains insufficient.

37 There certainly was a blending of heavenly and earthly worlds at the core of Byzantine ceremonial symbolism, especially during the late Palaiologan era. The representation of angels in frescoes wearing imperial garments was an artistic expression of this point. This has been correctly understood by Byzantinists as being a political metaphor for the protection of the Faith by both God and Emperor. See Maguire, H., ‘The heavenly court’, in Maguire, H. (ed.), Byzantine Court Culture from 829 to 1204 (Washington, D.C. 1997) 247–58; Nelson, R. S., ‘Heavenly allies at the Chora’, Gesta 43.1 (2004) 3140 ; Tirnanić, G., ‘Divine images and earthly authority at the Chora parekklesion in Constantinople’, in Walker, A. and Luyster, A. (eds), Negotiating Secular and Sacred in Medieval Art (Farnham 2009) 75101 .

38 See Vryzidis, ‘A study on Ottoman Christian aesthetic’, 121-2; C. Merantzas,‘Ottoman textiles within an ecclesiastical context: Cultural osmoses in mainland Greece in the 17th and 18th centuries’, paper presented at ‘The mercantile effect: on art and exchange in the Islamicate world during the 17th and 18th centuries’, Berlin, 18 November 2016.

39 On the Ottoman classical style see Necipoğlu, G., ‘A kânûn for the State, a canon for the arts: Conceptualizing the classical synthesis of Ottoman art and architecture’, in Veinstein, G. (ed.), Soliman le magnifique et son temps: Actes du Colloque de Paris, Galeries Nationales du Grand Palais 7-10 Mars 1990 (Paris 1992) 195216 .

40 On the emergence of the Ottoman floral style, read Denny, W. and Belger Krody, S., The Sultan's Garden: The Blossoming of Ottoman Art (Washington D.C. 2012). The Greek Church's use of metallic-thread brocades with floral motifs has been noted in travelers’ accounts. For example, Jacob Elser noted textiles with a red ground and golden flowers (‘mit goldenen Blumen auf einem rohten Grund’) in Greek vestments, a description which recalls Ottoman floral kemhas with a red ground. See Elser, J., Neueste Beschreibung derer griechischen Christen in der Türckey: aus glaubwürdiger Erzehlung Herrn Athanasius Dorostamus (Berlin 1737) 63–4.

41 Sticharion is the tunic-shaped vestment worn by deacons, priests and bishops. It evolved from late antique tunics and was generally plainly decorated until the Ottoman period. The bishop's sticharion was distinguished by its richer decoration, called potamoi. Woodfin, W., The Embodied Icon: Liturgical Vestments and Sacramental Power in Byzantium (Oxford and New York 2012) 56 , 8-10, 13-15.

42 ‘+ ἐπροσήλωσ(εν) ὁ κυ(ριος) μανουὴλ ὁ ψάλτ(ης) ἓν στιχάριον πράσινον καμοχὰ ἀσπρ(ῶν) β· καὶ ἐγράφει εἰς τὴν πρόθ(εσιν) καὶ μνημονεύεται καὶ παῤῥησίᾳ·.’ The word ‘ἀσπρ(ῶν)’ is the genitive plural of the noun ‘asper’ (akçe) and it probably indicates the monetary value of the kemha: 2000 aspers. The note may refer to the pictured vestment, which is a contemporary sticharion made of green kamoucha. I am indebted to Father Theologos, the monastery's archivist, for transcribing and kindly providing me with this unpublished note. The complete text of the folio, together with the other Ottoman-period documents from the Iveron archive, will be published by Kriton Chrisochoidis of the Greek National Foundation for Research. In a description of the 1674 Maundy Thursday service, Dr John Covel mentions a green taffeta sticharion, worn by the Patriarch: ‘. . .Then, the Patriarch vested himself in his robes, στοιχάριον, with a hole on top like a surplice with sleeves, body to the ankles; Sallow green (or yellow green) tuffetay. . .’ (Bent, J. T. (ed.), Early Voyages and Travels in the Levant (London 1893) 157).

43 There are references to green floral silks in ecclesiastical codices. In a folio from a codex of the diocese of Trikke (f.10a) there is a reference to a green phelonion with floral motifs (‘πράσινον μέ λολούδια’) in the collection of St. Stephen, Trikala. Although the exact year of the folio is not known, it probably dates to the late seventeenth century or later. See Kalousios,‘Ο κώδικας της Τρίκκης’, 22.

44 In the 1710 inventory list of the Monastery of Meteora there is a reference to an epitrachelion hetayi (‘χεταΐ’) (f. 142b). See D. G. Kalousios, ‘Ο κώδικας της Τρίκκης: 1688-1857 (ΕΒΕ 1471)’, Θεσσαλικό Ημερολόγιο 51 (2007) 193-257, esp. 244. Then, in the 1761 inventory list of St. Stephen, Trikala, there is a reference to a Chios hatayi dress (‘φόρεμα Χιώτικον χαταΐ’). See Kalousios, ‘The codex of Trikke, 51. Although these inventories date to the eighteenth century, they list all the objects which entered the sacristy until they were compiled. The aforementioned hatayi garments were most probably earlier. The term χαταΐ is also mentioned in the 1796 inventory of the sacristy of Simonopetra monastery (Mount Athos). See Karydis, The Orthodox Christian Sakkos, 266. For a reference in an official document related to women's dress, see Spanos, Κώδιξ, 221-2. However, the earliest mention of the hatayi motif I managed to trace in relation to vestments comes from the seventeenth century inventory list in the codex of Saint George of Argyroupolis (Gümüşhane) (Συλλογή ταμείου ανταλλαξίμων/Musée Benaki Echangeables; codex ΤΑ 324, f. 4). On the evolution of hatayi motifs of Far Eastern origin, reinvented and Ottomanized by the sixteenth century, read Gürsu, The Art of Turkish Weaving, 64-7.

45 On the Iveron sakkos associated with Emperor Ioannis I Tzimiskes (c. 925-76) see Kousoulou, T., ‘Conserving the legend: conservation and research of a sixteenth-century sakkos from Mount Athos’, Journal of the Institute of Conservation 36.1 (2013) 1834 .

46 In the same folio there is a reference to a vestment with sleeves made of Ottoman velvet (kadife): ‘ταχτικὸν με μανι(κια) κατηφένια’ (the unpublished Iveron codex 240, f. 4r). For a discussion of this practice, see Vryzidis and Papastavrou, ‘Sacred Patchwork’.

47 According to Suraiya Faroqhi, green was avoided by most Ottoman Muslims as well because it was a colour reserved for the descendants of the Prophet Muhammad. See Faroqhi, S., ‘Introduction, or why and how one might want to study Ottoman clothes’, in Faroqhi, S. and Neumann, C. K. (eds), Ottoman Costumes: From Textile to Identity (Istanbul 2004) 1548 , esp. 22. As many relevant textile remnants I initially had at my disposal came from Cyclades, where there was no significant Muslim settlement, I thought that this was a localized phenomenon. However, the ecclesiastical inventories and the objects themselves show that green was far from forbidden for the Church and could be worn by clerics even in the Ottoman capital. For example, there is reference to a green sticharion even in the Patriarchal codex. See Paizi-Apostolopoulou and Apostolopoulos, Ἀφιερώματα καὶ δωρεὲς, 153. Whether they could be worn in processions outside the churches is an intriguing question. It is worth mentioning that the tunic-shaped sticharia were not destined solely for the high clergy, bishops and archbishops. This undermines any notions about green being affordable only by the Greek clerical elite. It was a liturgical colour that could be worn by clerics regardless of their office.

48 Epitrachelion is a stole worn about the neck, underneath the phelonion, by the priest and the bishop. See Woodfin, The Embodied Icon, 10-11, 15. In the vestment analysed above, the large-scale triple-spot design was visible as only the epitrachelion’s upper part was covered by the phelonion.

49 For triple-spots in Ottoman court caftans and other textiles, see Rogers, M. J., Tezcan, H. and Delibaş, S., The Topkapı Sarayi Museum: Costumes, Embroideries and Other Textiles (Boston 1986) cats. 2, 8, 10, 22, 26, 44, 53, 87, 92, 95, 100; Roxburgh, D. J. (ed.), Turks: A Journey of a Thousand Years, 600-1600 (London 2005) cats. 263, 267, 313, 315, 366. For crescents, see Rogers, Tezcan and Delibaş, The Topkapı Sarayi, cats. 21, 25, 32, 51.

50 Atasoy et al., İpek, fig. 191; Vryzidis, ‘A Study on Ottoman Christian aesthetic’, figs. 6.2, 6.3, 6.33, 6.34a, 6.34b, 6.35, 6.41. The triple-spot motif was certainly not an Ottoman discovery. We find small-scale triple-spots on the representation of garments in Byzantine art as well. However, the large-scale version is quite characteristic of the Ottoman court aesthetic.

51 Vryzidis, ‘A study on Ottoman Christian aesthetic’, fig. 42. There is another relevant piece at the Byzantine and Christian Museum (BXM20842).

52 On the triple-spots, very often accompanied by the wavy stripes motif, see Atasoy et al., İpek, 264-5; Gürsu, The Art of Turkish Weaving, 57-9.

53 My findings so far point to a religiously mixed workforce for this production. Silks with Christian iconography can have Greek, Armenian and Ottoman inscriptions. Then, there is the fetva issued in Bursa in 1004 Hegira (c. 1595 CE), forbidding Muslim weavers to serve under a non-Muslim master, which indicates that Muslims and Christians were often collaborating despite the local Mufti's displeasure. See Dalsar, F., Türk Sanayi ve Ticaret Tarihinde Bursa'da İpekçlik (Istanbul 1960) 321 .

54 For Ottoman figural silks in Eastern Europe, mainly in Russia, see Atasoy et al., İpek, pls. 10, 51, 53, 55 and cats. 20, 21, 29, 40-1. For an Armenian piece, see Savigny, M.-A. P. (ed.), Ors et Trésors d'Arménie (Lyon 2007) cat. 56.

55 See Woodfin, W., ‘Orthodox liturgical textiles and clerical self-referentiality’, in Dimitrova, K. and Goehring, M. (eds), Dressing the Part: Textiles as Propaganda in the Middle Ages (Turnhout 2014) 3151 .

56 Warren Woodfin's seminal monograph has clarified this. Woodfin, The Embodied Icon, 47-129.

57 One of the most official clerical vestments of the Byzantine and Ottoman periods is the sakkos. This Greek equivalent of the dalmatic is worn by the high clergy – in Byzantine times, only by the Patriarch – and probably evolved from its secular, courtly counterpart. According to Symeon of Thessalonica, it symbolized the purple robe that Christ wore when mocked by the Romans. It was used for important dominical feasts like Easter and Christmas, and probably also other special processions. See Woodfin, The Embodied Icon, 25-8.

58 All three published Byzantine-period sakkoi feature clear iconographic programmes, as analysed by Elisabeth Piltz in her monograph. See Piltz, E., Trois sakkoi byzantins: analyse iconographique (Uppsala 1976). One cannot be certain that more comparable pieces will not be discovered in the future, especially as cataloguing and recognition efforts continue in Greek monasteries. However, the general scholarly consensus is that chances of a significant discovery are slim.

59 ‘ἕτερος (σάκος) καὶ αὐτὸς ὀξὺς κλαπωτός, ἔχων κισσόφυλλα ἀργυροδιάχρυσα τριάκοντα καὶ φάκτα μετὰ ὑελίων δώδεκα καὶ ἁγίων εἰκόνας ἓξ μετὰ φεγκίων καὶ μαργάρων.’ See Miklosich and Müller, Acta et diplomata graeca, 568. The ivy leaf is a motif we find in surviving examples of Byzantine embroidery, such as on an epitaphios in the Victoria and Albert Museum, London. See Johnstone, Byzantine Tradition, figs. 99-100.

60 From the directors’ correspondence in the Rhode Island School of Art archives, it appears that the Museum bought an ensemble of Greek Orthodox vestments made of Ottoman textiles from Elizabeth Titzel and Rudolf Riefstahl in 1928. Having toured Turkey and the Middle East many times before, the couple resided in Constantinople between 1927 and 1929. As their purchases took place in 1928, just before Titzel and Riefstahl sailed back to Turkey, one might assume that they acquired these pieces there. See Guzman, D., ‘Elizabeth Titzel Riefstahl’, in Joukowsky, M. S. and Lesko, S. B. (eds), Breaking Ground: Women in World Architecture (Online 2004). Available at [accessed 28 November 2016]. This makes it probable that the Rhode Island sakkos came from a church or monastery which belonged to the jurisdiction of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.

61 This motif can be found in various forms in the following collections: the Kremlin Museums (oxr13052); the Benaki Museum (ΓΕ3862, ΓΕ3908); the Harvard Museums of Art (1975.41.27); the National Museum in Warsaw (sz52); and the National Historical Museum of Armenia (E-1930). See Privat-Savigny and Berthod (eds), Ors et trésors d'Arménie, cat. 56.

62 For example, Safavid silk patterns were inspired by Persian popular stories. In these patterns, the representations of one or two familiar protagonists from these narratives was deemed sufficient, instead of having multifaceted visual cycles. See Mackie, Symbols of Power, 346-55. In this respect, the Ottoman figural production is closer to the Persian than the Byzantine, which favoured more complex iconographic programmes.

63 On the topic, read Papastavrou, E. and Filiou, D., ‘On the beginnings of the Constantinopolitan school of embroidery’, Zograf 39 (2015) 161–76, esp. 161-70.

64 For examples of Italian and other Western European elements in post-seventeenth century embroidery, see Ballian, A. (ed.), Relics of the Past: Treasures of the Greek Orthodox Church and the Population Exchange: The Benaki Museum Collections (Milan 2011) cats. 43-5; E. Papastavrou and D. Filiou, ‘On the beginnings’, 172-4; Papastavrou, E. and Filiou, D., ‘Church embroidery in Constantinople during the 19th century: Putting a veil by Kokona of Rologa in context’, in Stoufi-Poulimenou, I. (ed.), Γ' Επιστημονικό Συμπόσιο Νεοελληνικής Εκκλησιαστικής Τέχνης: Πρακτικά (Athens 2015) 543–55; E. Papastavrou and D. Filiou, in I. Stoufi-Poulimenou and S. Mamaloukos (eds), ‘Χρυσοκέντητο Πέτασμα Ωραίας Πύλης της Κοκόνας Ρολογά από τη συλλογή του Βυζαντινού και Χριστιανικού Μουσείου (αρ. 21055)’, Β΄ Επιστημονικό Συμπόσιο Νεοελληνικής Εκκλησιαστικής Τέχνης: Πρακτικά (Athens 2012) 301-14.

65 Orarion is a narrow stole worn by the deacon. See Woodfin, The Embodied Icon, 6-7.

66 Among other pieces, the triple-spots adorn a 1608/9 Epitaphios veil from the Varlaam monastery (Meteora). See Vlachopoulou-Karabina, E., Εκκλησιαστικά χρυσοκέντητα άμφια βυζαντινού τύπου στον ελλαδικό χώρο (16ος -19ος αι.): Το εργαστήριο της Μονής Βαρλαάμ (Trikala 2009) 341–2. Epitaphios is a processional veil used on Good Friday.

67 A comparable epigonation from Dousikou monastery again depicts the Last Supper with the triple-spot motif appearing over Christ. See Vlachopoulou-Karabina, Εκκλησιαστικά χρυσοκέντητα άμφια, 361. The epigonation has been published in Skambavias, C. and Chatzidaki, N. (eds), Βυζαντινή και Μεταβυζαντινή Τέχνη (Athens 2007) cat. 200.

68 The same creative reworking and adaptation of Ottoman floral designs and motifs can be seen in many other Ottoman-period Greek embroideries. See Ballian, A. (ed.), Relics of the Past: Treasures of the Greek Orthodox Church and the Population Exchange: The Benaki Museum Collections (Milan 2011) cat. 11; Johnstone, Byzantine Tradition, figs. 22-23; Kakavas, G. (ed.), Post-Byzantium: The Greek Renaissance, 15th-18th Century Treasuries from the Byzantine and Christian Museum (Athens 2002) cats. 47 and 49; Vlachopoulou-Karabina, E., Holy Monastery of Iveron: Gold Embroideries (Mount Athos 1998) figs. 8, 12-13, 40b, 61; Vlachopoulou-Karabina, Εκκλησιαστικά χρυσοκέντητα άμφια, 351, 354-5, 362, 374-8, 380; Karakatsanis, A. (ed.), Treasures of Mount Athos (Thessaloniki 1997) cats. 11.11 and 11.25.

69 See Theochari, M., ‘Χρυσοκέντηκα άμφια’, in Vatopediou, I. M. M., Ιερά Μεγίστη Μονή Βατοπεδίου: Παράδοση-Ιστορία-Τέχνη (Mount Athos 1990) 420–56, esp. cat. 15.

Acknowledgements: I would like to cordially thank Father Iosif, Sacristan of Vatopediou Monastery, and Father Christophoros, Secretary of Iviron Monastery, for facilitating my research; Anna Ballian and Elena Papastavrou for hosting my doctoral research in Athens. Research for this article was supported by the Grabar Post-doctoral fellowship (Association of Islamic Art Historians) and a grant from the Barakat Trust (Oxford University).

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