TSILANIOTIKO – The Kazzie Scarf

(Kastellorizian word – (based on the Greek version of the word ‘Ceylon”- Tsilan).

The Tsilaniotiko, is a type of Mandili resist dyed, from Ceylon, and found in Kastellorizo. It was the dark, resist dyed cloths on which the rings at the logo were threaded. It is also used to refer to certain other types of Mandilia, which may have been the widow’s. (Description from Nick Bogiatzis).

Many Kastellorizians brought these beautiful pieces with them to Australia. They should be treated with care. Some people might even decide to frame them to preserve them.


Soon after the Treasures of Kastellorizo exhibition at KAV in August last year, Litsa Augoustakis forwarded to our guest speaker, Nick Bogiatzis, some further information on the Tsilaniotiko.

Litsa found the following from a Cypriot site: (The google translation from the Greek is rather weird, and I have abridged it and tried to make it readable– you will get the gist of the process).

Koilaniotiko or Tsoilaniotiko, female torso scarf from teak silk fabric with fringed edges. It was made in the village of Kilani in Cyprus, with tie-dyeing technique. A cross divided the surface into four large squares and basted with continuous red thread. Then they tied the knots that would remain unpainted and sunk the fabric in an aqueous solution of alum. They began the first painting in yellow by boiling with the fabric chrysoxylou pieces, (local wild plant species.) Then the yellow knots were tied and the next dying was red, the third blue, and of course another process to get green.   The base was dark oinerythri (kraseti) the yellow compound, red and blue. There were seven kinds of colours. The line drawings form a complex tapestry: diamonds, crosses, lines and zigzags, rosettes, all formed with dots as a result of technical knotting. Each of the four sub-blocks had a different leitmotiv. These specialties were used as scarves and head scarves in the cities of Cyprus but were also exported – mainly to the Dodecanese.

Excerpt from Nick Bogiatzis’s reply to Litsa Augoustakis:
It is interesting how different cultures reinterpret artefacts from elsewhere. The mandili for the head and waist in Cyprus becomes a specific mandili in Kastellorizo for the daktilidia (rings) in the marriage arrangements.

We are learning all the time. If you wish to add to the information, or make any corrections, please contact gregory1942@bigpond.com.