South Anatolian, embroidered sofa. South Anatolian, embroidered sofa.

A sofra is a rectangular and often embroidered floor spread that was used as a table setting in traditional, urban Ottoman houses. They were spread on the floor. A sofra sometimes served as a table itself, or sometimes a cylindrical stand was placed on top of the sofra to accommodate a food tray (tepsi).

The early examples of sofras were made out of narrow, embroidered strips of cloth. The use of sofras as a table setting was popular throughout the cities of the Ottoman Empire until the latter half of the eighteenth century. They were replaced by round versions, called sofra bezi, which were also often embroidered. Rectangular floor spreads, although generally not embroidered, continue to be used in some rural, Turkish villages today.

See also: tepsi örtüsü.


  • KRODY, Sumru Belger (2000). Flowers of Silk and Gold: Four Centuries of Ottoman Embroidery, The Textile Museum, Washington, cat. no. 41, pp. 82 and 143.
  • KRODY, Sumru Belger (2016). 'Ottoman embroidery,' in: Gillian Vogelsang-Eastwood  (ed.), Encyclopedia of Embroidery from the Arab World, London: Bloomsbury Publishers, pp. 168-181.
  • TAYLOR, Roderick (1993). Ottoman Embroidery, London: Interlinked Publishing Group, pp. 25-139 and pp. 123-129 in particular.

Digital source of illustration (retrieved 25 June 2016).


Last modified on Monday, 24 April 2017 12:34