Uncanny Artist Ephemera and Objects for Artists and Collectors
  • Antique Embroidered Vest or Yelek

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    This is an exquisite Antique Embroidered Vest or Yelek, which was probably made in the late 19th or early 20th century in eastern Europe (Albania or Serbo-Croatia).  A yelek (also jelek and jelick) is a vest or sleeveless and collarless waistcoat embroidered with metallic threads on to silk, velvet or leather, which is worn by both women and men as part of a traditional costume.  The exterior of this yelek is completely embroidered with black, burgundy, orange, silver-green, and metallic silver threads in swirl, loop, circular, floral and line flat and overlay designs.  (The metallic thread is made by winding long strips of thin metal around a silk thread, which is sewn with small silk stitches on to the top of the vest.)  There are fourteen handmade wound black thread buttons with a deep red coral bead at the end (which are for decoration only) and a woven cotton lining in lines and twists in two shades of blue on an ivory textured background.  The vest measures 13" long (from shoulder to bottom edge), 13" wide along the bottom edge, 7" long armholes (in front), and 10" from shoulder to shoulder outside edge.  Maker and exact age are unknown.  This Antique Embroidered Vest or Yelek is in Good condition, particularly given the age.  There are two small areas on the back where the stitches are damaged.  The buttons show the greatest wear with missing threads and beads.  The lining is significantly stained and has a hole and worn seams.  Wonderful piece for display.