Turkish Bursa, Ottoman Dynasty, Dalmatic, 1550-1600, Silk compound weave with discontinuous supplementary silk and metallic patterning wefts; Center back length: 132.1 cm (52 inches), Museum Appropriation Fund 28.008
Bursa was an important stop on the Silk Road between the Far East and western markets. Initially a trade center, by the 1400’s it had developed a weaving industry. The Museum’s dalmatic, a tunic-shaped liturgical vestment, was made out of an extraordinary example of Ottoman Turkish fabric. Used in the Eastern Orthodox church, this vestment features Christ Pantocrator (Christ the Redeemer) with a cross bearing an inscription meaning “Jesus Christ the Victor” and surrounded by symbols of the evangelists Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. The cloth is one of several surviving examples of Christian imagery woven in Turkey specifically for use by the Orthodox church of the Byzantine Empire. Governed for centuries from Constantinople (modern Istanbul), that city fell to the Turks in 1453, but its new Muslim rulers allowed the practice of Orthodox religion to continue there.