Silk kontusz sash (front view)

The sash factory in Slutsk1780/1795

The Polish Museum in Rapperswil

The Polish Museum in Rapperswil

A silk kontusz sash, decorated with floral motifs along its border, and on the ends (front view). The bottom left corner contains an inscription in the Cyrillic alphabet: "Leon Madżarski".

Kontusz sashes (“kontusz” = outer coat-like garment) were mainly worn by the representatives of the Polish nobility in the 17th and 18th centuries. They were usually made of silk, the more expensive ones had gold and silver threads woven into them. The sashes had richly coloured patterns, often with Oriental motifs. Kontusz sashes produced in Polish sash factories were specially woven in a manner which allowed them to be worn in up to four colour variants.

The oldest and most notable sash factory, whose products acquired a symbolic meaning, and became synonymous with the kontusz sash, was the factory in Slutsk, founded in 1757 by Michał Kazimierz Radziwiłł. Next, the management of the factory was taken over by Karol Radziwiłł, who, in 1758, was succeeded by an Armenian, Jan Madzarski. After 1780, the lease passed to his son, Leon. When he stepped down in 1795, and then died in 1807, the Slutsk textile centre gradually began to deteriorate. It was closed down in 1842.

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  • Title: Silk kontusz sash (front view)
  • Creator: The sash factory in Slutsk
  • Date created: 1780/1795
  • Location created: Slutsk
  • Provenance: A deposit of the Romer family
  • Type: Textile
  • Medium: Silk kontusz sash