Thursday, July 31, 2008

Needle Lace Silk Scraf

Anatolia’s thousand and one species of plants and gaily colored flowers are reborn in the imagination and inner eye of its women. The history of the decorative edging known in Europe as ‘Turkish lace’ is thought to date back as far as the 8th century B.C. to the Phrygians of Anatolia. Some sources indicate that needlework spread from 12th century Anatolia to Greece and from there via Italy to Europe. Traditionally, the headdresses and scarves women wore on their heads, the printed cloths, and prayer and funeral head coverings were decorated with various kinds of oya, which was also used on undergarments, to adorn outer
garments, around the edges of towels and napkins and as a decorative element in many other places. In the Aegean region even men’s headdresses were decked with layers of oya.

Oya edging, which appears all over Anatolia in various forms and motifs, has different names de
pending on the means employed: needle, crochet hook, shuttle, hairpin, bead, tassel to name just a few. Sewing needle oya is a variety that was produced by affluent , aristocratic, urban women. The most beautiful examples of such oya, which was usually made with a sewing needle using silk threa d, were produced in the Ottoman Palace.


Young maidens, new brides, and young women traditionally conveyed their loves—whether hopeful or hopeless, their expectations, their good tidings, their happiness and unhappiness, their resentment and their incompatibility with their husbands to those around them through the oya they wore. In the Marmara and Aegean regions, for example, floral oya is a phenomenon in and of itself. A woman adorned her head with oya embodying flowers, nature’s loveliest gift to man, the species of the flowers differing depending on her age. Aged grannies used tiny wild flowers, which symbolize the return of dust to dust. Virgins, brides and young women employed roses, arbor roses, carnations, jasmine, hyacinths, violets, daffodils, chrysanthemums and fuchsia in their oya. And all of them carry messages which are conveyed through their shapes and colors. Women reaching forty used a bent tulip. As in the poem ‘Narcissus’ written by the Roman poet Ovid in the 8th century, a woman who wrapped yellow daffodil oya around her head was declaring a hopeless love. A woman whose man had gone abroad to work bound wild rose oya around her head; new brides on the other hand wore oya of roses and arbor roses. Girls engaged to marry the man they love wore oya of pink hyacinths and almond blossoms, while a girl in love wore purple hyacinths