Rare silk Ottoman style Caucasian cushion

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This hand-embroidered silk rare cushion's design is inspired by the traditional 17th-19th century Ottoman Catma textiles. Using natural dyes, each yarn is individually crafted by hand in small batches. The intricate technique, known as Harkatar, is exclusive to this region and consists of three different methods: cross-stitch, surface darning, and diagonal surface darning. The panels are meticulously darned on hoops and take several months to complete, often done by women at home either alone or in the company of others.

23" wide x 16" high
59 cms wide x 41 cms high

About Caucasian embroideries

Kaitag and Caucasian embroideries represent, as an art form, a repository of motifs and symbols that appear to reach back to a distant past. They are the artistic expression of a socio/religious "language" of the Caucasus region.
Caucasian embroideries, often displaying very fine work with very complex stitching, seem to have originated some three hundred and fifty years ago, reaching the peak of their artistic expression in the 18th century. The art of Caucasian embroidery found its fullest expression in two specific regions of the Caucasus, Kaitag in Daghestan and the Karabagh region further south.

Kaitag embroideries were used at the three major transitional times in a person's life-- birth, marriage and death-- and were clearly seen as possessing a supernatural, protective force, displaying specific symbols to this effect. Kaitag embroideries were used as a cover for the cradle to protect the baby from an ill-intentioned, envious glance (warding off the "evil eye"). They also formed part of a girl's dowery and were used to cover the faces of the newly deceased. Kaitag embroideries reflect the emotions and beliefs of the women who made them and were stitched with great love and attention. What is truly remarkable is how they still resonate with us as we look at them with eyes formed by our experience of modern art.

People of the Karabagh region made embroideries for similar rituals. Though stylistically very different from Kaitag embroideries, they share the use of ancient symbols--dragons, solar symbols, flowering vegetal forms--and both display creatively rendered motifs derived from Ottoman and Persian art. In embroidery, women were able to harmonize their own traditions and beliefs with ancient ones and, in so doing, created powerful pieces of textile art. Known as "Caucasian embroidery" or "Armenian embroidery" these rare, precious, and beautiful textiles are now housed in some of the world's major museums and private collections. They may be seen occasionally at auctions fetching dazzling prices.

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