Name of Object:

Cushion cover


Glasgow, Scotland, United Kingdom

Holding Museum:

Burrell Collection, Glasgow Museums

About Burrell Collection, Glasgow Museums, Glasgow

Date of Object:

Hegira 11th century / AD 17th century

Museum Inventory Number:

BC 51.10

Material(s) / Technique(s):

Hand-woven silk velvet.


Length 129 cm, width 65 cm

Period / Dynasty:





A hand-woven cushion cover of rectangular form that would have been used to back the low divans or sofas in Ottoman palaces from the AH 10th / AD 16th century onwards. The cushion is made of crimson-red voided velvet (a technique whereby the pile is cropped so short that the structure and colour of the field can be seen), and woven with green and cream threads. The composition is typical of the period, with a central field and two arched boarders; a large floral medallion fills the central field in this example. Having completed such a cover, the weaver did not cut it off the loom, but inserted a wooden baton between the Warp and the weft, and began on the next cover.

View Short Description

This cushion cover is made of a crimson-red voided velvet, where parts of its pile have been cropped very short so that the structure and colours of the warp and weft are exposed, creating an elaborate floral pattern. This type of velvet was sought after both within the Ottoman Empire and beyond.

How date and origin were established:

Artistic analysis: the elements of the pattern (a central field and two arched boarders; a large floral medallion in the central field) are a recurring theme in a variety of Turkish textiles and ceramics from the 10th / 16th century onwards.

How Object was obtained:

Part of the collection given to the City of Glasgow by Sir William and Lady Burrell in 1944.

Selected bibliography:

Baker, P. L., Islamic Textiles, London, 1995.

Johnstone, P., Turkish Embroidery, London, 1985.

Taylor, R., Ottoman Embroidery, London, 1993.

Citation of this web page:

Noorah Al-Gailani "Cushion cover" in Discover Islamic Art, Museum With No Frontiers, 2020.;ISL;uk;Mus04;31;en

Prepared by: Noorah Al-GailaniNoorah Al-Gailani

Noorah Al-Gailani is Curator for Islamic Civilisations at Glasgow Museums, Scotland. With a BA in Interior Design from the College of Fine Arts, Baghdad University and three years' experience in design and folk art preservation, she moved to the UK in 1992. On completing her MA in Museum Studies at the Institute of Archaeology, University College London in 1994, she worked as Project Officer at the Grange Museum of Community History documenting the presence of Muslim communities in the London Borough of Brent. In 1995 she was Assistant Curator, Ancient Monuments Laboratory, English Heritage, and in 1996 became Curator for John Wesley's House and the Museum of Methodism in London. She co-authored The Islamic Year: Surahs, Stories and Celebrations (Stroud: Hawthorn Press, 2002) for non-Muslim children. Since 2003 she has been based at The Burrell Collection in Glasgow, working across the city's museums to interpret Islamic art and culture, ancient and modern, through research, exhibitions and educational activities.

Copyedited by: Mandi GomezMandi Gomez

Amanda Gomez is a freelance copy-editor and proofreader working in London. She studied Art History and Literature at Essex University (1986–89) and received her MA (Area Studies Africa: Art, Literature, African Thought) from SOAS in 1990. She worked as an editorial assistant for the independent publisher Bellew Publishing (1991–94) and studied at Bookhouse and the London College of Printing on day release. She was publications officer at the Museum of London until 2000 and then took a role at Art Books International, where she worked on projects for independent publishers and arts institutions that included MWNF’s English-language editions of the books series Islamic Art in the Mediterranean. She was part of the editorial team for further MWNF iterations: Discover Islamic Art in the Mediterranean Virtual Museum and the illustrated volume Discover Islamic Art in the Mediterranean.

True to its ethos of connecting people through the arts, MWNF has provided Amanda with valuable opportunities for discovery and learning, increased her editorial experience, and connected her with publishers and institutions all over the world. More recently, the projects she has worked on include MWNF’s Sharing History Virtual Museum and Exhibition series, Vitra Design Museum’s Victor Papanek and Objects of Desire, and Haus der Kulturen der Welt’s online publication 2 or 3 Tigers and its volume Race, Nation, Class.

MWNF Working Number: UK4 35


 Artistic Introduction

 Timeline for this item

Islamic Dynasties / Period


On display in

Discover Islamic Art Exhibition(s)

The Ottomans | Art outside the Capital

MWNF Galleries


See also

Virtual Visit Exhibition Trail

EARLY OTTOMAN ART - Legacy of the Emirates


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