(from Persian خفتان
) is a man's cotton or silk cloak buttoned down the front, with full sleeves, reaching to the ankles and worn with a sash
The kaftans worn by the Ottoman sultans
constitute one of the most splendid collections of Topkapı Palace
in Istanbul. Some of them were so precious that they were given as rewards to important dignitaries and victorious generals during elaborate religious festivals (see the "khalat
Kaftans were often embroidered on the front and on the sleeves, but like everything else under the Ottomans, there was a strict hierarchical order in the colours, patterns, ribbons and buttons, which were chosen according to the rank of the person to whom they were presented.
While in the 14th century large patterns and subdued colours were used, these became both smaller and brighter in the next century. By the second half of the 17th century, the most precious fabrics were those with 'yollu': vertical stripes with various embroideries and small patterns, the so-called "Selimiye" fabrics.
Most fabrics were manufactured in Istanbul
, but some came from as far as Venice
and even China
. Each had very specific characteristics and was named accordingly: there was velvet, aba, bürümcük, canfes, gatma, gezi, diba (Persian ديبا), hatayi, kutnu, kemha, seraser (Persian سراسر), serenk, zerbaft (Persian زربفت), tafta (Persian تافته), and... Read More