Eustis Estate


Hotamis Kilim (detail), central Anatolia, early 19th century

The textile used to make the uppers of these distinctive slippers is called “kilim.” A special form of tapestry weaving popular in Western Turkey, kilim is often used for rugs, hangings, and domestic textiles. At the end of the Crimean War (1853-56), fought to protect the rights of Christian minorities in the Holy Land and to block Russian territorial expansion, Turkey exported large amounts of kilims to its allies, especially to France and to Britain. Parisian slipper makers used kilims to create distinctive and popular footwear. The United States made a ready market for these beautiful pieces.

Sold at Thomas Moseley of Boston, c. 1855. The owner, reportedly pregnant and suffering the pinch of her fashionable shoes, slit the vamps (across the top of the foot) and hid the alteration with silk ribbons.