Syrian woman’s silk robe called an Abaya from Aleppo

Technically a combined skirt and attached shawl and often referred to as an ‘abba’ street dress, but more properly and closer to the original Arabic, an abaya, this type of fine woven silk is called 'meydaniyyeh' in local Aleppo/Gaziantep terminology. ‘The Modern Traveler’ from 1825, describes traditional Syrian dress of the period and states ‘abba, which is the name reserved for the striped robe’. The abaya is made from two woven panels of very unusual light chestnut and golden brown silk with saf design and stripes in silver grey thread and is hand stitched. The skirt has one maroon silk velvet drawstring (it would have had two originally. The ends of the panels which originally made a double tube have been unstitched revealing the original deep blie selvage edge, thus the panels can now be laid flat as seen in the photos.

The dress was made either as a street dress, as in the photos of Kathi modelling the dress but I have also seen them referred to as used after a hammam Turkish bath. Estimated to be from the late 1800s to early 1900s, the silk was woven in Aleppo, Syria near the border with Turkey and Gaziantep.

The abaya dress/shawl is in exceptional complete condition with just some marks from use around the silver grey  part of the shawl worn over the head. Together they form two double rectangles of strongly woven silk 200cm long and 93cm wide. The actual dye used is not known but could be madder, rhubarb or walnut. The abrash or variation in the hues from different batches of dyed silk is paricularly unusual and appealing.

Size 200cm x 186cm No 7920 €295 Sold