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PostPosted: Tue Dec 14, 2010 4:41 am 
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I'm in a mystery textile mood, so here's a late 19th/early 20th century coat sold to me as "Russian" - but which I think is more likely to be from SE Europe.

It is hand quilted and hand couched. It is a duller red - the brightness comes from the flash.

Any information would be much appreciated!


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 29, 2010 9:28 pm 
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Forum member Gleb provided some information on what this is NOT

gleb wrote:
I'm collecting Russian textiles for 10 years...

I'm sure that the robe has nothing to do with Russian folk costume... at least I've never seen anything of this kind in Russian costume collections, catalogues, during expeditions etc. The fabric and tecnics don't match the ones used in European part of Russia as well. It looks like an object from somewhere in Sourthen Europe.

Regards, Gleb

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 31, 2010 4:24 pm 
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Just to elaborate on the S E Europe theory for this robe.Is it possibly from some region of Albania or Macedonia, where it would most likely be a woman's garment worn over a dress? Just a wild guess since I am away from my costume reference library, but something to hopefully stimulate the thread.
As has been said above, sure it's not Russian, at least not European Russia. I have some good visual references on Russian costume and this type of garment dosn't seem to feature.


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 01, 2011 4:05 am 
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The couching makes me think SE Europe too.

A friend has a Syrian Bedouin robe of comparable age with the same shape and with cross stitch embroidery where this has couching at the neckline. It is much less heavily embroidered than most Bedouin robes. There is no other relationship - the colors, materials and technique are completely different - but the similarities are interesting.

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 17, 2011 2:40 pm 
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Greetings in the New Year!

I was just in the ethnological Linden-Museum in Stuttgart and found its catalog for an exhibition in 1991: Syrien - Mosaik eines Kuturraumes. I saw that it had a section on textiles and, with this question in mind, bought it. There is more about textiles than I first noticed, so I am quite pleased, and now even more pleased, since the photos suggest strongly that Member Ikat's coat is from Syria.

I will have to ask Pamela to post my images from the book. The pink silk coat is also quilted, which probably won't be evident here. The embroidery on the front of a black item is typical of that on several other items in the catalog. The detail of other embroidery is the most telling image; it is so similar to that on Ikat's piece, described as:
“embroidery with metal threads on velvet, trees of life on mountains, Qalamoun-Mountains, 20th c.” (Al Qalamoun, Kalamoun)

AND the description on the page with the other photos translates:
“Women's coats from Qalamoun (Tell Mnin, above [the pink one]) The Qalamoun is noted for the existence of the most varied styles of clothing. The patterns are traditional, but use a variety of materials and are decorated in the greatest number of techniques in accordance with the preference of the individual village.”

Regards, Larry


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 17, 2011 11:27 pm 
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Hi Larry:

Another mystery solved!

Thanks so much for posting this. I'll try to get a photo of my friend's textile, which he bought recently in Damascus, so folks can see the relationship despite the differences.

This is great. Thanks again!
Anna

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 18, 2011 12:59 pm 
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I am so very pleased that Larry managed to provide such an informative ID for your textile, Anna. I was very much feeling that we were letting you down!

I had had a look at my very few reference books on southern European and also middle eastern textiles. I had hoped that Sheila Paine ("Embroidered Textiles: Traditional Patterns from Five Continents") might have been able to help as I know she has travelled and collected in the region. Most of this volume focuses on details of embroidery, not a whole costume so was not very helpful for the task in hand. However, there was an example of Bethlehem embroidery - couched gold thread work - with strong echoes of the embroidery technique on your garment. That led me to "Palestinian Costume" by Shelagh Weir (published in 1989 by the British Museum to coincide with their superb exhibition of the same name which I visited several times). This had examples of the couched thread embroidery and some of the garment shapes were similar to yours. I felt that I might be roughly in the right region but not quite 'Eureka' moment I was seeking! Looking at maps of where the 'Qalamoun-Mountains' are situated this would make sense as a regional use of a similar embroidery technique.

I am going to post the front cover of Shelagh Weir's book as it has a detailed shot of 'gold (qasab) cord couching. Further images of the qasab work inside seem to be Bethlem or Beit Jala.


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File comment: Cover of "Palestinian Costume" by Shelagh Weir (published in 1989 by the British Museum).
Palestinian_Costume.jpg
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 19, 2011 12:00 am 
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Hi Anna and Pamela,

First, thank you, Pamela for posting the images.

Most topics here are beyond my ken, though always interesting, so it was a pleasure to have one that I could add something to, especially with my new book and such closely related items.
Personally, I don't like the identification of that embroidery as "trees of life on mountains." Can there be more than one tree of life?
They just look like flowers to me on both pieces, but we all know how dealers like to make motifs sound more significant, and their names for them get into the literature.

Regards, Larry


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 19, 2011 12:31 am 
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Hi Pamela:

Last time I checked, the tribes this forum focuses on don't ride camels, so there is no (rational) reason for guilt when I post a textile from far beyond its purview. I am a huge believer in the "ask everyone" school of problem solving - and, it worked!

I have that book - and the exhibition catalogs - plus a few others on Palestinian material - I just paged through them and saw that some garments I bought in Aleppo are shown as Palestinian. I won't wade into those waters.

While couching and various types of coats (in various fabrics) are seen in "the Levant," it was the quilting and the relative lack of ornamentation that threw me.

Of course, once you know the answer, you start finding information everywhere. On www.ethnic-silver.com there are several examples of Syrian woman's dresses, including one from the Qalamoun's outskirts, a photo and description of which is being used with Marlene Gallone's gracious permission.

Some people read mysteries. Others go on scavenger hunts. But I know that there's an excellent team, always willing to solve textile mysteries, right here.

Best,
Anna


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File comment: Old women's coat probably from Qalamoun outskirts. About 40 to 80 years old. See similar dress and more details in " The arts and crafts of Syria " by Johannes Kalter, p. 175.
Qalamoun outskirts.jpg
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 23, 2011 2:02 am 
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I just received the L'Orient des femmes catalog from Amazon, France (see posts on the catalog and exhibition elsewhere on this site).

As I began paging through it, I came across an image of this type of robe (p. 61) showing how it was worn, and the following attribution:

Festival robe, Quiteifeh (Rif de Damas Province), ca. 1930

I would never have guessed that it was worn with a shirt with that type of sleeve.

There is another, more elaborate, robe, with the same attribution, on page 65.


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Syrian-Quteifeh-1930W.jpg
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Syrian-Quteifeh-1930_ElaborateW.jpg
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