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Creator Nationality: Morocco
Creator Name-CRT: Morocco
Creation Start Date: 1900
Creation End Date: 1933
Creation Date: Early 20th century
Object Type: Costume and Jewelry
Classification Term: Textiles
Materials and Techniques: Metallic thread, silk, cotton; embroidered
Dimensions: 42 9/16 x 60 in. (108.1 x 152.4 cm)
AMICA Contributor: The Minneapolis Institute of Arts
Owner Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA
ID Number: 99.80.1
Credit Line: The Christina N. and Swan J. Turnblad Memorial Fund and The Adele Roller Fund
Context: This caftan would have been worn at a formal court appearance or an elaborate party such as a wedding celebration. The owner undoubtedly commissioned the garment from a merchant who specialized in gold thread work.
Once the order was placed, a designer would be engaged to draw the design or create special templates which the embroiderers use to guide their work. The merchant would purchase gold thread from the Jewish craftsmen who specialize in its production. The design, pre-cut velvet fabric panels and the exact amount of thread needed to complete the pattern was then given to one or more embroiderers who specialize in metal thread work. When the needlework was completed the panels were given to a tailor who created the couched border designs and applied the imported woven metallic bands before assembling the completed garment. The metal buttons were individually made by yet another specialist.
Often it was several months from the time the initial order was made to receipt of the finished caftan. But it was worth the wait, for Shakespeare's admonition "Costly thy habit as thy purse can buy, for the apparel oft proclaims the man," was as true for this early 20th century woman, as it would have been for the English of the 17th century.
AMICA ID: MIA_.99.80.1
AMICA Library Year: 2003
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