In a Turkish household, the number of textile items is large, which probably goes back to Turk's nomadic past of wrapping all their possessions in textile bundles to cary them from place to place. Most of these are small pieces hand embroidered with patient diligence. Due to the amount of work it takes to produce them, they are not used in everyday life but stored in bridal chest as family heirloom only to be used for ceremonies such as weddings, ceremonial bridal baths, child births, circumcision and funeral. The bride sends gifts to her fiancé’s house wrapped in embroidered cloths. Embroideries accompany a Turkish life style from cradle to grave; they are placed on the coffin when it is carried to cemetery.
They are made by young girls and women who create these delicate objects of beauty and love from almost nothing except their time and effort. All the desirable characteristics expected of a girl; patience, perseverance, diligence, sense of beauty and dexterity, were mirrored in the embroideries. The appeal of these embroideries lies not only in their exquisite composition and perfection but also in the young girls expression of her feelings, hopes and wishes for which there was no socially acceptable verbal outlet in her society.
The fabric was always unbleached, retaining its brownish natural color, which darkens with time and contributes to the aesthetic appeal of the embroidery.
Two excellent references on the subject are by Ulla Ther, "Floral Messages", Bremen: Ed. Temmen, in English, Turkish and German, 1993 and by Pauline Johnstone, "Turkish Embroidery", Victoria and Albert Museum, 1985.
Some selected examples (please click on pictures to enlarge):