|Sofreh (floor spread),Turkey, Ottoman
Empire, late 17th or early 18th century
An Ottoman house was generally empty of standing furniture. For dining, a round cover like this one would have been spread on the floor to serve as a table. Sometimes a cylindrical stand, perhaps covered with a matching textile, might have been put on top of it. A lavish food tray would then be placed on top of the stand.
Floor spreads like this one were also used for dining in the Sultan's palace. In her letters, one traveler described such a table, which was set for four British men who were installing a chandelier in the Palace: "They were treated with dinner on a silver gilt table with a beautiful embroidered cloth laid under it, and embroidered napkins."
Three linen panels embroidered with silk were sewn together to form this spread. All the embroidery was done before the panels were sewn together.
The Textile Museum 2001.6.1
Each month we will highlight a different textile from the Museum's collection.