The aim of this catalogue is to publish the 43 Ottoman textiles which are preserved in the Royal Museums of Art and History. Except two for which we are nor sure, these specimens were woven in the major metropolitan weaving centres of the Ottoman Empire namely Bursa, Istanbul and their environs. All date from the period between the late 15th to the early 19th century. Two types of weaves are represented. Firstly the velvets of which the collection counts 25 examples, one of them being an important çatma, probably the earliest preserved in the world. Follow the kemha or lampas fabrics, of which we preserve 16 specimens, 6 of them bearing inscriptions, the others decorated with various patterns. The third main type of Ottoman weaves, the serâser or cloth of gold and silver, rare in Western collections, is not represented here. Finally, the collection contains two silks in a distinctive weave, an extended tabby, of which one is a military banner. Although these fall slightly out of the otherwise homogeneous group, they where not excluded from this study because certainly produced within the Ottoman realm.
This publication puts on record a status quaestionis of the knowledge we gathered the last ten years on the account of this group of silks and to place it at the disposal of other museum curators and researchers. Since the scrutiny of the weaving technology and of the natural dye analyses can lead to a better understanding of the silk industry and offers at the same time concrete elements to delimit groups of textiles and of -who knows in the future- workshops or production centres, special focus is laid on these aspects.