Enquiry about object: 5993

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    Large, Rare Ottoman Embroidered Ceremonial Metal-Thread & Purple Velvet Circular Sinni Tray or Table Cover (Sofra Bezi)

    Ottoman Turkey, probably Istanbul
    18th-19th century

    diameter: 84cm



    UK art market

    – scroll down to see further images –

    This large and spectacular circular purple silk-velvet tray or table cover is richly embroidered and couched in gilt metal-thread and metal  sequins.

    It is decorated with radiating arabesques and palmettes.

    Raised areas of couching probably are in higher relief due to cardboard inserts having been added beneath the couching. (Couched supported gold work was known as the dival technique.)

    Such covers were used to decorate table tops but also to lay inside round trays from which coffee and small meals might have been served in the palaces and aristocratic houses of Istanbul.

    Serving coffee to guests was an important ritual among the well-to-do in Istanbul and the wealth and success of the household was reflected in the opulence of the tray coverlet that was used.

    For related examples see Yeo (2004, p. 50), and Koc (2007, p. 65).

    For another examples please see, Sotheby’s ‘Art of the Islamic World’, 24 April 2013, lot 282; Sotheby’s ‘Art of the Islamic World’, 09 October 2013, lot 171; Sotheby’s ‘Art of the Islamic World’, 20 April 2016, lot 197.

    Our example currently is mounted and framed under protective glass. It has some fading, small areas of loss, and minor holes. All the couching is intact. It remains bright and very impactful.


    Koc, A., et al, Istanbul: The City and the Sultan, Nieuwe Kerk, 2007.

    Rogers, J.M., H. Tezcan & S. Delibas, Topkapi: Costumes, Embroideries and other Textiles, Thames & Hudson, 1986.

    Yeo, E. (ed.), From the Land of the Ottoman Sultans, Asian Civilisations Museum, 2004.

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