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Published: 07 March 2020

By Andy Ross

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Article of the week -Number Five

Each week something from the studio collection features in the blog. This week there are two items of children's clothing.

In 2010, on a trip to Istanbul, the first of these was added to the collection. The more ornate of the two (pictured top left) was bought in the Grand Bazaar and there was no information about it. Subsequently the second was purchased on eBay (pictured right). 

These pieces come from nomadic peoples from Central Asia, the Turkmen from Turkmenistan and Kuchi from Afghanistan.The kirlik or kirklik vests are made of cotton, probably from the former Soviet Union industry, and each is decorated differently. You can see (left and right) the inside linings of each garment; printed cotton in bright colours. 

The more elaborate vest is covered in amulets, tassels and embroidery, and includes some charming ornaments such as a diamante brooch in the shape of a heart, and badges . The other is simpler in its design but possibly more important in that cowrie shells and the silver disks represented considerable value - the shells were once currency in their own right while the disks have taken the place of coins. 

These pieces are celebration vests, worn by children at important milestones in life. While these two have not been verified as authentic and these items are made nowadays for the tourist trade, both have some age to them. One has a badge with "Istanbul 1955" on it and my feeling is that this is the younger of the two, which places both around the mid-20th Century mark. 

If anyone knows anything more about these, please get in touch and let us know.