AUD $350.00

Sufi Mystic's Metallic Embroidered Hat

The quality of this old Sufi hat, from somewhere in old Turkestan, possibly Tajik it was found in Afghanistan, (but possibly from Bukhara which is famous for metallic embroidery) is a puzzle to me, as it is supposed to be a Sufi or Dervish hat, worn by ascetic mendicant Dervishes.
These were ascetic (sworn to poverty, collecting alms for the poor) mendicants (learning humility by begging, but not to their own advantage, living on charity, very similar to Buddhist monks.) It seems ironic that they would have such a lavish, beautifully constructed and embellished possesssion. But some also had incredibly exotic ”coco de mer” alms bowls (highly collectable and sought after by the rich European Gentleman, for his cabinet. We may a still have one on this site, see SA100
A very worn, wide brown velvet rim, supports a high embroidered dome. Heavily embroidered in metallic/silver bound yellow cotton or silk threads, in intricate repeated “boteh” and interlocking “s” designs. Modern versions have Religious symbols machine embroidered into their crowns, which whilst important to the wearer, are nowhere near as well made as this fine old hand stitched piece.
The velvet rim has been has been rubbed so long, that the soft pile has worn down exposing the weave of the base cloth. Much of the metallic thread has worn away, revealing the bright yellow thread it was twisted around, it’s very random and almost peppered allover, in no way detracting from the age and character of the piece.
I can’t be sure what metal thread this is, sometimes it’s gold, most often it’s silver, but it doesn’t appear to have oxidized, however, it’s what it is and how well it’s done that really matters now.
The rim is frayed all round, except where it has been repaired, here a hand stitched leather patch adds to it’s genuine age and wear.
I suspect the height and shape were to allow the addition of a turban, whilst still displaying the fancy dome.
The shape of the opening, is an oval, measuring 150 mm x 170 mm, but as it’s flexible it could be round (diam 160 mm.).

Age: Late 19th/Early 20th century.

Size: L 170 mm x W 150 mm x H 140 mm

Weight: 156 grams