Fabric of Palaces : Kutnu Fabric
Gaziantep Market is one of the most vibrant in Anatolia with every tone of red, yellow and green in evidence. Fiery spices, gleaming copper, blue, red and purple ‘kutnu’ fabrics and blood red ‘yemeni’ slippers. Kutnu is one of the colourful handicrafts of Gaziantep. Let’s learn what is Kutnu Fabric?
Kutnu is a woven textile with a shiny surface and colourful vertical stripes, made with silk warps (lengthwise yarns) and cotton wefts (crosswise yarns). It used to be made on wooden looms with shuttle and pulling whip, but is today woven on more advanced dobby and jacquard looms. Although the type of loom may have changed, the weaving method has stayed the same for centuries.
In Turkey, the art of weaving kutnu is only practised in Gaziantep. Having been brought here from Syria in the 16th century, it was taken to new heights by the Antep craftsmen, who were able to sell their material far and wide.
Kutnu: Fabric of Palaces
Woven in Gaziantep since the 16th century, kutnu fabrics were produced mainly for use by the Ottoman sultans, whose most valuable garments were the caftans made of this cloth. Later on, fashionable apparel in Anatolia was always sewn from kutnu textiles, which even made it as far as Europe and America in the hands of merchants travelling outside the Ottoman Empire.
As well as being healthy to wear with its hallmark striking colour and designs, kutnu cloth was admired and in demand over a wide area in the past. Kutnu is an important part of the traditional local costume and is a truly handcrafted product requiring different work at each stage of production. In the past employing thousands of Gaziantep inhabitants, the kutnu weaving sector is today being kept alive in the face of modern technology by a small group of Craftsmen determined to continue the profession with painstaking hand labour.