The mente - a kind of overcoat - was a typical piece of the Hungarian noblemen’s outfit worn over the dolman in the 16th-17th century. The mente surviving in the Esterházy collection was probably worn by a boy at the age of about 10 years. The cut adopts the pattern of Turkish kaftans. At the hips it is widened by inserts. The long sleeves (pipe-sleeves”) reaching down to the bottom of the garment are only for decoration; the arms were stuck through the openings at the shoulders. There is a broad turned-down collar.
The fabric is one of the most finely and proportionately patterned specimens of the most expensive Turkish court silk lampas fabrics (kemha) interwoven with gold and silver threads. The pattern is in the 75 four-flower” style typical of the Turkish cloths of the period, comprising lines of mandorlas including carnation, rose, tulip and lotus flower. The child’s mente was probably retailored from another garment, as the collar of several pieces and the slightly askance direction of the pattern on the back suggest. Sources reveal that using clothes of valuable fabrics - this time perhaps a Turkish gala kaftan (hil’at) received as a gift - were used for skirts, mente lining, children’s attire or ecclesiastic vestments. Tradition has it that the mente was worn by archbishop of Esztergom Miklós Olah (1493-1568), but recent researches prove that the fabric was produced in the second half of the 16th century the earliest, so the archbishop could not wear it in his childhood. It was probably to enhance the magnificence of the family that the Esterházy’s associated the garment with this notable personage of the past.