Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Persian Pants

Persian pants are not the latest fashion statement in Istanbul, but they are on display at the Yapi Kredi (my bank) museum. These pants were created using the sprang technique, where vertically stretched threads are interlinked or intertwined together. It is thought this technique was used prior to knitting to create an elastic type garment, plus you could create this nice zig-zag pattern. Here is a small sample of some sprang work to give you a better idea as to how it is done. The pants were known to be worn by the Persian army as well as all Scythians and they are depicted here on a re-created painting and the original, found in a wooden burial chamber. The burial chamber is thought to be the only painted wooden grave chamber ever to be found. And it was found in Afyonkarahisar in western Turkey. Recently, the chamber has been excavated and the paintings studied. The chamber was built around 470 B.C. and has painted panels on all the interior walls. As you can see, the archers look very smart on horseback with their zig-zag designed pants. A time before camouflage to blend into the landscape.

The German excavation team did some research to determine how the paint was made and retained its color. They took pigments and mized them with such things as egg, linseed oil, cherry gum and rabbit skin glue to recreate the colors and their longevity.

The pigment colors were derived from locally available minerals.

The entire chamber is currently located in the Yapi Kredi museum in Istanbul, and will subsequently be moved to a museum in the city of Afyonkarahisar.

I have not seen anyone wearing these pants in downtown Istanbul, but I have seen girls wearing denim shrugs. Not sure if that is last year's fashion or this year's, but they are a new fashion item to me.

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