During the 19th century, it was popular among Jewish, as well as non-Jewish, brides in the urban centers of the Ottoman Empire to wear a velvet wedding dress in wine-red or purple hues, embroidered with gold thread in couching technique in the Turkish Baroque style. When the white wedding dress came into fashion in the beginning of the 20th century, the velvet ones, which were part of many Jewish women’s trousseaus, were often transformed into Torah Ark curtains. Following this hallowed practice, Hannah Matsa from Ioannina re-stitched the sleeves and front part of her grandmother’s dress into a curtain and dedicated it to her local synagogue, in memory of her husband Abraham and her son Moses, in 1921.

© The Jewish Museum of Greece

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