Oya Lace - From Ottoman Fashion to Global Textile Art by Gérard Maizou and Kathrin Müller
12.02.2023 9:30 PM CET

Oya Lace - From Ottoman Fashion to Global Textile Art by Gérard Maizou and Kathrin Müller<br>Online<br>12.02.2023 9:30 PM CET

Honeysuckle Oya, Western Turkey, 20th c.

12 February 2023 at 9:30 pm CET

An invitation to register for this Zoom webinar will be sent to all current IOLI Members a week before the event.

Ottoman culture was a textile culture, and its high-quality products, such as carpets, silk fabrics, velvets, and embroideries, also found their way to European princely courts, rich monasteries, and trade offices. On the other hand, European textile products were always in demand in the Orient and provided inspiration for independent developments.

In the early 19th century, the Oya made their appearance as colourful flowers made of the finest silk needle lace. By the second half of the century, they were already widespread throughout the Ottoman Empire, in Asia Minor, the Balkans, the Aegean islands, Palestine, and Egypt. As paintings and early photographs show, Oya adorned the clothing of women and men and were proudly presented at the World Exhibitions of the 19th century.

Today, Oya are having a renaissance and their patterns are being disseminated via the internet. Oya are again a current and successful theme in textile and fashion design and are integrated by artists in the field of textile art.

Since there has been no study of the history, distribution, and characteristics of Oya lace to date, the authors have made it their task to shed light on this interesting handicraft. In their lecture they will talk about the formative aspects of the Oya, its history and distribution, characteristics of form and colour, the role of Oya in non-verbal communication, and they will show show numerous examples in their PowerPoint presentation.

In 2011 they set up an exhibition called “Museum Five Continents" in Munich, which ran for one year, and they produced a catalogue for it. They were invited to organise an international exhibition on Oya for the “Museum of Turkish and Islamic Art” in Istanbul with the accompaniment of an extensive basic work and catalogue. Unfortunately, the exhibition could not take place due to the political situation. In 2023, an exhibition will take place in Traunstein, Germany, and their extensive work on Oya (approx. 750 pages and 900 illustrations) will hopefully be printed by the renowned publishing house De Gruyter − if enough donations are received from interested parties and supporters.


Gérard J. Maizou is a journalist and photographer. After doing an apprenticeship as an artwork producer, he studied print technology in Munich, Germany. Then he worked as an executive editor for different publishing companies. Since 1987, he has been working as a freelance journalist and photographer. He has published magazine articles and books about various kinds of handicraft, as "Leaf Metal", "Modelling", "Enamel", "Tiffany", "Textile Designing", "Knitting", "Modern Jewellery", and many more.

Dr. Kathrin Müller is an orientalist scholar. She finished her Semitic languages and Turkology studies at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich, Germany with a Ph.D. degree. She worked for the Commission of Semitics in the Bavarian Academy of Sciences and Humanities Munich until 2015. She has published several books and articles about classical Arabic language and literature, and two catalogue volumes about Arabic manuscripts for the Bavarian State Library Munich.

For the last fifteen years, both have been working with the special kind of Turkish handicraft, Oya. In 2011 they curated the exhibition "Oya, From Ottoman Fashion to Turkish Folk Art" (with catalogue, "Oya. Von osmanischer Mode zu türkischer Volkskunst") for the Munich museum of ethnology “Museum Fünf Kontinente.” They were invited to curate an international Oya exhibition at the “Türk ve Islam Eserleri Müzesi”, Istanbul (with extensive accompanying publication), beginning 2015 but postponed due to the renovation of the museum, then due to the political developments. They also gave lectures on Oya at different places and wrote articles for different scientific magazines.

More information about the webinar: 

Woman at the market of Bodrum, Turkey

Passion Flower Oya, Kütahya, Turkey, 2006

Grass Oya, Konya, Turkey, 20th c.

"Be careful what you fish for", Rumisu, Istanbul 21st c.

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