Topkapı Palace garment collection to be restored

Topkapı Palace garment collection to be restored

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
Topkapı Palace garment collection to be restored

Within a protocol between the Culture Ministry and the Turkish Textile Employers’ Association, the costume collection at the Topkapı Palace will undergo the most comprehensive restoration ever.

The former apparel storage room at Istanbul’s Topkapı Palace is set to undergo a series of restorations, together with its contents.

According to a protocol signed yesterday between the Culture Ministry and the Turkish Textile Employers’ Association, allowing for the restoration of Topkapı Palace’s “Dormitory of the Expeditionary Force” (Seferli Koğuşu), which houses the Imperial Wardrobe Collection and was historically used for the cleaning and storage of the Sultan’s apparel, the palace’s entire garment collection of the palace will be restored for display.

In Ottoman times the women of the palace were not allowed to take their palace clothing with them when leaving the palace. The same rule applied to all inhabitants of the palace and its harem.
Therefore, the apparel collection to be restored is believed to include a great number of pieces, stored in thousands of boxes and bundles of fabric. According to Ahmet Ertuğ’s “Silks for the Sultans: Ottoman imperial garments from Topkapı Palace,” there are around 2,500 garments in the collection.

Poor storage

No such comprehensive restoration work has been undertaken in the Seferli Koğuşu in near past, and the clothes stored there are not expected to be in very good condition due to poor storage conditions in bundles and cardboard boxes. Presently, a limited selection from the collection is on display in one part of the Seferli Koğuşu.

The Seferli Koğuşu’s costume collection is very valuable and includes the precious kaftans of the Sultans. It also houses a collection of 360 ceramic objects. The dormitory was constructed under Sultan Murad IV in 1635 and restored by Sultan Ahmed III in the early 18th century. The building is vaulted and supported by 14 columns. Adjacent to the dormitory, to its northeast, is the Conqueror’s Pavilion. The closed part of the dormitory bears visible marks of the past in the form of cracks at the corners of its walls and on its dome. The structure is also suffering from water leaks and structural issues due to excessive humidity, as it has no proper insulation. The restoration work will necessitate renovation of the entire façade, as well as the improvement of the exhibition units within the building, in order to use them for future exhibitions.