Valuable textile

Among the artefacts donated to the JMG collections in 2020 was this valuable textile, made from two oblong pieces of the same fabric. The textile’s foundation weave consists of coral silk and silver threads, woven on its surface with a brocaded pattern made of gold and silver threads.  Although the basic floral motif -the carnation- and the curvilinear lattice pattern refer to Ottoman aesthetics, the textile was not made in the Ottoman Empire. This can be concluded on the basis of the weaving technique and the relatively naturalistic representation of the flowers, tendrils and leaves. It can be assumed that it was woven in Italy during the 17th century. The export-oriented production of luxury goods in 17th-century Italy, such as brocaded silks and velvets, provided a large consumer market in the Ottoman Empire.

The textile was part of the bequest of Eftychia Avdela and was donated to the JMG by her daughter Effi Avdela. The item had formerly belonged to Eftychia’s mother, Efthymia Sabbethai-Negri from Trikala, probably as part of her trousseau. She had been guarding this precious brocade throughout her lifetime: From Trikala to Volos and to prewar Athens, during her family’s escape to Palestine in 1943 and on her return to Athens after the Dekemvriana, the December events, in 1945. Neatly wrapped in a large, soft cloth, the textile had been well preserved through all this time and finally found its way to the Museum.

© The Jewish Museum of Greece