Type IV Holbein Carpets

Type IV Holbein Carpets

This type constitutes a variation of the large-pattern Type III Holbein carpets with a pattern of large squares, octagons or stars with octagon fillings in the center, and with two small octagons above and below these. This is the first “grouping” to be seen in the art of the Turkish carpet, and thus constitutes a very important innovation. Although at first glance one might attribute this to Mamluke influence, the two carpets in the Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts, İstanbul, have an obvious affinity to the large pattern Type III Holbein carpets. İn the first of these carpets, dating from the beginning of the 16th century, this affinity is clearly visible in the pattern consisting of two large squares placed one above the otherand the two small octagons placed above and below each square. The Turkish character of the carpet is further emphasized by the interlacing Kufic border. The repetition of the group composition in the second carpet points to the principle of infinity which forms a basic feature of Turkish art. These two carpets stand out from among the other examples of this type of carpet in the Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts, İstanbul, in their size and in the vibrant freshness of the coloring. The large central octagon and the border motif consisting of a rendition of Kufic can also be seen in examples of Holbein carpets in the same museum dating from the beginning of the 16th century.

Another carpet dating from the second half of the 17th century has a border conforming to that in Holbein’s “The Ambassadors” while, the pattern of small double medallions above and below the central octagon is derived from the small octagons in the Type I Holbein carpets.

İn another example from the 17th century the large octagon takes the form of a sixteen pointed star, while the small octagons above and below are surrounded by dark blue, light blue and red flora I motif s on a brown ground. The very brightand lovely colors create a very striking and unusual color harmony.

İn a carpet dating from the 18th century the central octagon is enclosed within a star, while the small medallions above and below are arranged in such a way as to form part of an infinite pattern.

İn a 19th century carpet with a red field in the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, the central octagon is replaced by a large square with a pair of small octagons above and below. An identical specimen is to be found in the McMullan Collection, New York. These have a very close affinity to later period Bergama carpets.

Carpets Depicted in Paintings by Crivelli and Memling

Another group of Anatolian carpets with patterns similar to those to be seen in the Holbein type carpets with large and small octagons is to be found depicted in paintings by Crivelli and Memling, and is thus referred to by the names of these painters.

Apart from the large pattern Type II Holbein carpet depicted by the Italian Renaissance painter Crivelli in his painting “The Annuciation” dated 1486, now in the National Gallery, London, a small carpet can be seen hanging from the balcony over the large arch in the “Annunciation” dated 1482 in the Kulturinstitut, Frankfurt.

An original of these Crivelli carpets is to be found in the half width fragment of a carpet dating from the end of the 15th century in the Museum of Applied Arts, Budapest (1.64×60 m). The basic motifconsists of a complex pattern in the form of a sixteen-pointed star produced by brightly colored angular sections on a yellow ground, while other sections are filled with birds and stylized four legged animals reminiscent of early carpets with animal figures. The border displays rows of yellow and red serrated leaves on a deep indigo ground reminiscent of the large pattern Holbeins in the Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts, İstanbul, and of 19th century Bergama carpets (III. 31).

Another two examples of the type of carpet first depicted by the Renaissance painter Carlo Crivelli ha ve been published quite recently. One of these consists of a fragment in the Museum of Applied Arts, Budapest, and the other is a carpet discovered by Professor Nejat Diyarbekirli in the Sivrihisar Mosque.

Besides the main group of small-pattern and large pattern Holbein carpets that began to be exported from Anatolia to Europe on a large scale around the middle of the 15th century, there are also other types of carpets to be seen in paintings by Flemish masters. These are sometimes named after the painter in whose works they appear .

Paintings by the Flemish master Jan van Eyck (1390-1441) depict Turkish carpets with geometric patterns not to be seen in Italian paintings. The carpet beneath the throne in the painting of the Virgin Mary in the Dresden Gallery displays a lozenge pattern composed of octagonal stars connected by bands, and a rosette or star filling in the center of each of the lozenges. The same carpet can be seen depicted in a painting by Van Eyck’s pupil Petrus Christus in the Staedlichen Kunst Institui Frankfurt. An original of this type of carpet to be found in the Mevtana Museum, Konya may be dated to the 17th century.

The carpets depicted in Fiemish paintings of the 15th century display patterns with geometric divisions containing knots or stars or large octagonal stars. The finest examples of carpets of this period are to be found depicted in the last quarter of the century by Gerard David and, more particularly, Hans Memling. Most of these resemble Type III Holbein carpets with the pattern composed of octagons enclosed in squares and in the fillings they contain. Another pattern very often encountered in these carpets is that with the motif known as the Memling gül, with repeated medallions with hooked contours.

As in the case of the “Lotto” carpets, the name Memling is given to this group of carpets depicted in a number of paintings by that painter (1465-1494). These particular carpets are not to be found depicted in any İtalian paintings. An example of this type of carpet with octagons with stepped centers enclosing lozenges with hooked contours arranged side by side and one above the other, is to be found depicted in a painting by Memling in the Hof Museum Gemelde Galerie, Vienna. The carpet spread beneath the throne on which the Virgin Mary is sitting holding the Christ Child in her lap is of this type.

16th and 17th Century Classical Turkish Carpets (Uşak Carpets)


Large-pattern Type III Holbein Carpets

Large-pattern Type III Holbein Carpets

These carpets display a simple pattern consisting of large squares with octagon fillings arranged in superimposed rows over the whole field. There may be two or four squares throughout the length of the carpet. This type of carpet, which develops throughout the 15th century, derives from the animal-figured carpets of Anatolia and the carpets with geometric patterns illustrated in 14th century paintings. The large squares are all equal in size, and are surrounded by a frame of geometric or plant motifs. The interlacing Kufic border to be seen in the earlier exam ples is very typical. The corners of the large squares enclosing octagons, stars and geometric plant motifs, which constitute the basic pattern, are embellished with hooked triangular fillings.

This type of carpet was well known in Europe before the time of Holbein. Such carpets are to be seen in Italian, Spanish, French and English paintings from 1460 to 1550, and display a much greater variety of modification and development than is to be found in the other two small pattern types of carpet.

Examples of these large-pattern Type III Holbein carpets are to be seen depicted in Marco Constanzo’s painting of “St Gerolamo” in the Cathedral of Syracuse dated 1468, and the painting of St Sebastian by Antonella da Messina in the Dresden Gallery, dated 1476.

The same type of carpet with four large squares is to be seen depicted in a painting of the Madonna dated 1526 formerly in Dresden, and in a portrait of Meyer, the Mayor of Basel, and his family This type of carpet was very well known in Spain and imitations were made in the various carpet manufacturing centers in the southern part of that country towards the end of the 15th century.

Among the rare examples to be found in the Vakıflar Carpet Museum, İstanbul, is a carpet with a single large square and a hooked octagon in the center, displaying a pattern of stylized palmettes and plant fillings. The border has a cartouche pattern. This carpet may be dated to the beginning of the 17th century. Another carpet in the same museum, this time from the end of the 17th century, has eight armed motifs set within large squares and borders with Chinese cloud bands.
A rather late carpet showing a continuation of the traditional pattern with bright, vivid colors, also to be found in this museum, may be dated to the middle of the 18th century.
The two magnificent carpets in the Berlin Museum with superimposed rows of three and four squares are very rare examples, one of which dates from the beginning, and the otherfrom the middle of the 16th century. The first of these measures 4.30×2.00 m, and has all the distinctive features of a traditional carpet, with a pseudo Kufic border and four large squares arranged in a vertical row on a red ground. A forerunner of this type is to be seen in the carpet hanging ostentatiously from a balcony just to the left of the peacock in the painting in the National Gallery, London, by Carlo Crivelli, who preceded Holbein in depicting carpets of this type. Another rather unusual example of the same type of carpet with a Kufic border and octagons arranged in the shape of a star is to be seen spread out under the throne of the Virgin Mary in a painting by Domenico Ghirlandaio in the Uffizi Gallery, Florence.

The same type of carpet is to be seen used as a table cover in the portrait of Domenico Morone by Andrea Solario in the Galleria Brera, Milan.

The carpets hanging from the gondola in the famous series of paintings illustrating the legend of St Ursula painted by Carpaccio towards the end of the century (dated 1495) may be classified as belonging to this same type, while similar carpets can be seen hang­ing in Venetian fashion from the window and balcony in a painting by Mansuetti hanging alongside it in the Accademia, Venice.

A typical example of a “Holbein” carpet can be seen spread out over the table in the painting, “The Ambassadors” by Hans Holbein the Younger dated 1533 to be found in the National Gallery, London.
A similar type of carpet is shown hanging in a painting of “St Sebastian”by Antonello da Messina (1430-1479).
Another carpet from the end of the 15th century can be seen in a fresco by V. Foppa dated 1485 in the Galleria Brera, Milan. The Type III Holbein carpet hanging from the balustrade in front of the Madonna with the Christ Child in her arms displays an interlac-ing Kufic border indicative of an early period. Another Holbein Type III carpet with a Kufic border is depicted in a French miniature of ca. 1460.

İn a miniature in the “Livre du cuer d’amour espris” of Duc Rene d’Anjou, an early Holbein carpet is to be seen spread out in front of the bed, while in front of the divan on the left there is another 15th century carpet with Memling or Türkmen rose motives and stepped hooked octagons (Pl. 69).
A large pattern Holbein carpet is depicted spread out on the floor in a picture of the Rites of St Giles (ca. 1500) by an unknown hand. Here octagon filling motifs are repeated twice within the large sguares.
Carpets of this type are to be found depicted in miniatures as well as in Western paint-ings. This type of carpet with a Kufic border indicating the second half of the 15th century and three large octagons placed one above the other is to be seen spread out under the throne in a Kelile Dimne manuscript in the Millet Library, Cairo (III. 29).
A large pattern type III Holbein carpet is to be seen in a miniature dating from the second half of the 14th century in a Kelile Dimne manuscript of H 743 (1343-1344) in the Egyptian National Library. The carpet has a Kufic border and a very clearly distinguishable octagon motif with a white geometric filling (III. 29a).


İn a French miniature of 1460 made for King Rene d’Anjou (National Library, Vienna), the same pattern is to be seen in the carpet on which a male figure is standing. The carpet spread out under the bed belongs to the large pattern Type III Holbein group, and is subsequently to be seen depicted in a number of paintings by Memling.
The original of this type of carpet was discovered in two fragments measuring 62×93 cm and 107×93 cm in the Museum of Applied Arts, Budapest. This carpet displays an unusu-al form of the Type I Holbein carpet pattern divided into squares with small motifs. Here the square sections enclose rows of lozenges with red, stepped and hooked contours on a yellow ground, and a border pattern to be seen later in Bergama carpets.
This carpet is to be dated to the end of the 15th century, and a sim Har example in the Mevlana Museum, Konya, in the form of a small fragment with the same pattern and a border of pseudo Kufic must belong to around the same date. This motif is to be found repeated in later Bergama and Caucasian carpets, and a carpet in the Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts, İstanbul, would appear to constitute a very late continuation.
The Memling gül, which takes the form of stepped octagons embellished with hooks, continued to be employed in the Caucasian carpets of the 19th century. These carpets also include a number of prayer rugs. Carpets displaying this motif, which is also known as a Türkmen rose, are woven even today by the Yörüks, and are to be found throughout Anatolia.

Carpets of the Ottoman Period 3


Carpets of the Ottoman Period

Carpets of the Ottoman Period

Kurt Erdmann was the first to undertake the work of evaluation of the carpets of this period by unearthing examples of animal-fig-ured carpets in various regions and then carrying out the dating of them, He placed them in a two century period, from the beginning of the 14th to the end of the 15th century. This was based on the depiction of these carpets in the paintings and frescoes of European artists.

The carpets in various paintings of that period indicate that those displaying a pattern of small squares enelosing geometric motifs were being produced. These may well be regarded as forming the first stages in the development of the type of carpet later to be known as “Holbein.” Three carpets of this type depicted in three İta Han paintings, the first two dated 1451 and 1460, display Kufic borders. İn the third carpet depicted in a painting dating from the end of the 15th century by Rafellino del Garbo (formerly housed in Berlin but destroyed by fire during the last war), the Kufic border takes the form of a chain pattern (III. 25). A similar Kufic border is to be seen in the Pistoia altarpiece by the Florentine painter Lorenzo di Credi (1478-1485).

By the middle of the 15th century carpets with geometric motifs, which until then had been few in number compared with those with arıimal figures, began to replace the latter to such an extent that by the end of the century animal-figured carpets had almost completely disappeared, leaving those with geometric patterns predominant The first examples of these carpets are depicted in pictures by the painters of Florence and Assisi at the beginning of the 14th century. A carpet with geometric motifs can be seen in a fresco by a painter of the School of Giotto dating from the beginning of the 14th century. Other examples can be found in a fresco in the Church of Santa Maria Novella, Florence and in the Church of San Spirito, Prato. Similar examples can also be seen among fragments of carpets discovered in Fostat.

Carpets dating from the middle of the 15th century onwards display a predominantly geometric type of pattern with floral motifs stylized and formalized to such a degree as to have lost all resemblance to their originally derived natural forms. Such carpets are to be found depicted first in a fresco dated 1541 by Pierro della Francesca in the Church of San Francesco, Rimini, and a liftle later in a painting by Mantegna of the “Mother and Child”, dated 1459, in the Church of San Zeno, Verona.

The fragment discovered by Riefstahl in the Eşrefoğlu Mosque, Beyşehir on 30 May 1932 may be regarded as a forerunner of the type of carpet later to be referred to as “Holbein”. This carpet which was brought to the Mevlana Museum, Konya, has a dark blue field divided into large squares enclosing large, red, octagonal, more or less lozenge shaped medallions surrounded by one yellow and one blue strip. The partial lozenges in the corner fillings produced by a combination of the quarter lozenges intersecting the corners of the squares are red. The center of each of the large lozenge like octagons is filled by a design stylized lotus with stems issuing from the four sides of a yellow rosette. The wide border contains angular Kufic-derived decorative motif s arranged in rows of symmetrically placed sguares to form a sort of meander desigin in light blue on a dark blue ground. The narrow borders contain purple floral motifs on a crimson ground with yellow, schematic leaves on each side, arranged in the form of rows of stylized motifs pointing alternately upwards and downwards. The field and the borders are surrounded by a band of broken “S “s in yellow on a light brown ground. The carpet which is actually a fragment of a large carpet of some 5 m in length, can be dated to the first half of the 15th century. The present fragment consisting of four squares discovered by Riefstahl was completed by the addition ofthree other fragments discovered in the museum storerooms in the summer of 1969 form in g a total of ten squares, which were then sewn on to canvas in four large pieces.

Fragments found in Fostat include examples of carpets with octagons, hexagons and lozenges arranged in staggered rows. Of the various pieces to be found in Swedish museums, the fragment in the Röhss Museum, Gothenburg, displays a border identical with the border displayed by the Beyşehir carpet.

Small pattern Type I Holbein Carpets

From the middle of the I5th century onwards there is a steady increase in the number of carpets with patterns composed of octagons and lozenges arranged in staggered rows depicted in European paintings. This type of carpet is erroneously linked with the name of the German painter Hans Holbein. Actually, this type of carpet is to be found in paintings by Italian artists long before the time of Holbein the Younger. This group of carpets, which prepared the transiti on from the I5th century to the classical period of the 16th century, consisted of four different types, only two of which were depicted by Holbein. İn the first of small pattern type of Holbein carpet the field is divided into small squares, the basic pattern consisting of squares with an octagon in the center, with lozenges produced by the combination of the quarter lozenges in the corners ofthese squares, thus repeating the geometric composition of the Beyşehir carpet with its division into small squares. The contours of the octagons consist of braided strips, while the octagons themselves each contain an eight pointed star with a small octagon in the center. The fillings are composed of cruciform palmettes with highly stylized and schematic lotuses with lozenges between them. This produces an alternation of lozenges and octagons in staggered rows. İn addition to this, the motifs are surrounded on ali four sides by small octagonal rosettes each enclosing a star. İn this type of carpet the field is normally blue or red, green being very rarely found. The original carpet, measuring i.59×0.89 m, now in the Museum of Islamic Art, Berlin, is a typical specimen ofthis type, with a Kufic border in the form of a plaited interlace. This carpet, originally from the Düsseldorf collection, is dated by Erdmann to the 15th century. The others all date from the 16th century. The Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts, İstanbul, has fragments of two carpets of this type, one of which has a Kufic border. These carpets were produced over a period of two hundred years, becoming rather scarcer in the 16th century and disappearing altogether in the 17th. Hans Holbein included a carpet of this type in a portrait he painted in London in 1532.

One of the last examples of this type of carpet is to be seen covering the long table in “The Somerset House Conference”, a painting by an unknown hand dated 1604 and now preserved in the National Gallery, London. The Kufic border is depicted in a very lively fashion (Pl. 49, 50).

A carpet from the McMullan Collection now housed in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, with a Kufic derived border, and blue lozenges and white octagons on a red ground is a very rare specimen from the end of the 17th century.

A very rare and in some ways quite unique, though rather worn, specimen of the Type I Holbein carpet has recently been added to the Keir Collection. Octagons with alternate white and light blue fields, lozenges formed by two symmetrically placed, highly stylized lotus blossoms in full bloom and, between them, motifs consisting of eight-pointed rosette stars without any connection between them, are arranged on a dark blue ground. This carpet, which is rather reminis cent of a kilim, may be dated to the end of the 16th or the beginning of the 17th century (Pl. 52).

The carpet on which the Prince of Rimini is shown kneeling before St Sigismund of Burgundy in a wall painting by Piero della Francesca dated 1451 in the Church of San Francesco, Rimini is the first example of this type of carpet to be depicted in a European painting.

A similar type of carpet with a Kufic border is to be seen in a miniature (ca. 1429/30) of the Herat School preserved in the Topkapı Saray Museum, İstanbul (Inv. No. 2153).

The small pattern type of Holbein carpet depicted in the 1451 fresco in the Church of San Francesco, Rimini is to be found in a number of other İtalian paintings, as well as in Spanish and North European paintings up to and as late as the 1550s. Paintings in which this type of carpet is depicted include: the 1459 altarpiece by Montegna in the Church of San Zeno, Verona; the picture by Baldovinetti dated 1460 in San Miniato, Florence; the picture by Lorenzo Credi dated 1480 in the Cathedral of Pistoia; the St Cecilia series by Carpaccio dating from 1495; and the 16th century frescoes in Siena painted by Pinturicchio and dated 1505.

These specimens ali point to a chronological development in the Kufic and interlaced Kufic borders in these carpets. Typical stages in this development can be seen in the Kufic border in the carpet used as a table cover in Hans Holbein’s portrait of “The Merchant George Gisze” in the State Museum, (Museum of Islamic Art), Berlin and in the interlaced Kufic border of the carpet beneath the throne in the painting of the “Madonna and Child” by Rafeilino del Garbo dating from the end of the 15th century, which was lost in the fire which destroyed the Berlin Museum during the last war. Another example of the development of the Kufic border is offered by the carpet in Van Orley’s painting of “The Holy Family” in the Prado. The attractive nuances in color and design to be found both in the borders and in the field greatly enhance the success and hchness of these carpets. This all clearly indicates that the small pattern Type I Holbein carpets from the looms in the Uşak region of Anatolia were exported in large numbers to the various countries of Westem Europe, that they were greatly prized and admired, and that a number of imitations were made.

İn a carpet fragment in the Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts, İstanbul dating from the beginning of the 16th century, the interlaced Kufic border is developed in the form of a chain pattern. The decorative quality of this very successful Kufic border is further enhanced by the use of rosettes.

A carpet of this type from the Ulu Mosque, Divriği, displays rows of rosettes used as filling between the interlaced octagons.

İn a very small, very worn carpet in the Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts, İstanbul, the field is divided into eight sections by means of plaited bands, with indistinct lozenges formed by the plaited band in the corners of the squares, which are of different colored grounds in each row. This carpet is similar in pattern to the Type I Holbein example, and can be seen depicted in 15th century miniatures belonging to the Herat School of the Timurid Period. This carpet must have been a product of a later period. The division of the field into equal squares is a form of composition stili to be found in the Tekke Türkmen carpets of the 19th century. But here the octagons are placed in the center of lozenges produced by the corners of the intersecting squares.

A very close imitation of the field characteristic of this type of carpet can be found in a Swiss embroidery of 1533 in the Landesmuseum,  Zürich  (III.  26).   The  very worn carpet in the Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts, istanbul can be dated to around the same period.

İn the carpet with a red ground measuring 1.60×2.40 m from the Ulu Mosque, Divriği,acquired by the Vakıflar Carpet Museum, İstanbul, a modification of the Type I Holbein pattern has led to the disappearance of the lozenges, so that the rows of interlaced octagons alternate simply with rosettes. This carpet, with its border composed of highly stylized cloud bands and interlacing tendril motifs, may be dated to the end of the 16th or the beginning of the 17th century.

On the other hand, in another Anatolian carpet with a geometric pattern of which only a small, very worn fragment has survived, the field is divided into small squares (probably four in each row) filled entirely with geometric motifs. İt displays features characteristic of a later period which extended into the 18th century.

This museum also has another Western Anatolian carpet with a geometric pattern displaying the characteristic features of a comparatively late period. This carpet, which measures 1.74×1.23 m, hasa very simple pattern of octagons and very small yellow lozenges on a red ground. There are two projections on each side of each square, the color of the octagons being arranged diagonally in yellow, blue, red and dark blue. The border, which consists of a row of stars, (flowers and rosettes, is of no particular interest. This Holbein type carpet may be dated to the second half of the 18th century, and evidences a development extending to the Türkmen carpets.

Type II Holbein or “Lotto” Carpets

Although at first glance they appear very different, these carpets preserve the same pattern, except that here plant motifs predominate. As the octagons, the contours of which have completely disappeared, and the cruciform lozenges lose the geometric character displayed in the first Holbein specimens, motifs with indistinct outlines are produced by combining rumis and palmettes into a loose, symmetric pattern by means of slender stems. The triangular leaves serrated on the upper and lower edges form a new feature of these carpets. The design consists of rumis and palmettes, usually in yellow on a red ground, but sometimes in yellow on a dark blue ground. As this type of carpet never appears in any picture by Holbein but is to be seen depicted in several pictures by the Venetian painter Lotto, it has recently come to be referred to as a “Lotto” carpet. Actually, this type of carpet can be seen depicted in Italian paintings from 1516 onwards, in Portuguese paintings from 1520 onwards, and in a number of North European and English paintings of the second half of that century. Very often depicted in Dutch paint­ings as a table cover, this type of carpet con-tinues to be depicted in European paintings until 1660, and can even be seen in a few paintings of a later date. The first examples of “Lotto” carpets appear quite suddenly at the end of the I6th century, to disappear just as suddenly at the end of the I7th. Of the hundreds of “Lotto” carpets preserved in various museums and collections some are as much as six meters in length, and bear an armorial crest. These carpets vary in size, and display either sparsely or densely arranged patterns. İn addition to the pseudo Kufic borders, there are also borders with cloud bands reminis cent of the traditional Uşak carpets, as well as very ornate and unusual borders with cartouches and interlacing tendrils.

These carpets are depicted in great detail by Lorenzo Lotto in the altarpiece in the Church of San Giovanni Paolo, Venice, as well as in the family group in a painting in the National Gallery, London (Pl. 59). As far as Italian painting is concerned, they are also very successfully depicted in the group portraitby Sebastian del Piombo dated 1516, for-merly in the Harwood collection, and in a painting by L. Longhi in the Gemâlde Galerie, Berlin.

This type of carpet was widely known in İtaly where it became very popular, and the tvwo examples in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, and in the Kunst und Gewerbe Museum,   Hamburg,   bearing  the  coats  ofarms of the Centurione and Doha families, indicate that carpets bearing the armorial crest of the owners were sometimes made to order in Turkey.

Turkish fabrics were very popular in Poland and had been imported into that country since medieval times. This trade further developed as the result of an agreement signed in 1439. King Sigismund Augustus and Stefan Batory imported a quantity of Turkish carpets and textiles, and the nobles and high dignitaries ordered a number of carpets bearing their own coats of arms. The populahty of Turkish textiles in Poland is evidenced by inventory entries, tax ledgers and laws. The largest quantities of artistic artifacts from the East were imported during the reign of King John III.

A very well preserved “Lotto” carpet with a Kufic type border from the end of the 16th century is to be found in the Victoria and Albert Museum, London (Pl. 62).

İn a 17th century “Lotto” carpet in the Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts, İstanbul, with a yellow pattern on a red ground, a swastika filling is to be found in the center of each of the rosette flowers set amidst cloud band motifs, a characteristic of the traditional Uşak carpet. This carpet, measuring 5.18×2.75 m, was brought from the Murat Pasha Mosque, Antalya on 10 May 1930. There are also examples with patterns on a dark blue ground. An unusual specimen in the Vakıflar Carpet Museum, İstanbul, has a blue pattern on a brown ground, with red fillings between the palmettes. This carpet, with its rather vague pattern, may well be dated to a later period, probably towards the end of the 17th century.

Another very well preserved “Lotto” carpet with the traditional Uşak border is to be found among the collections housed in the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

Typical examples in the Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts, İstanbul, include a carpet with a blue ground dating from the end of the 17th century displaying a very unusual pattern with red octagons, compressed lozenges with red grounds and yellow double palmettes containing a filling of blue palmettes. Other “Lotto” carpets with blue fields are to be seen in the McMullan Collection in New York and a private collection in Holland. Another carpet with a blue and green pattern on a brown ground in the Vakıflar Carpet Museum, İstanbul, may be described as the last example of a “Lotto” carpet. This pattern, composed of rumi and palmette motifs, was to be continued in a rather modified form in the medallion Uşak carpets.

The Type I, or small pattern Holbein carpet, and the Type II Holbein or “Lotto” carpets prepared the transition to the Uşak carpet group. More particularly, the palmette and rumi motifs in the “Lotto” type carpets were continued and further exploited in various forms in the medallion Uşak carpets.

Carpets of the Ottoman Period 2


Animal Figured Carpets – Part 2

Animal Figured Carpets – Part 2

About fiftyfive years ago a rug was discovered in Sweden in a church in the village of Marby in damtland province. The rug is divided into two octagonal sections, each containing a pair of facing birds flanking a tree. But in this composition the octagon is completely filled with the branches of trees and the ir reflection below, each tree appearing as if in water. The wide and narrow borders fit the characteristic patterns of the Konya Selçuk carpets and the old Turkish carpets.

This Marby rug is of a type seen in the 15th century paintings by such artists as Baldovinetti, Morone and Hans Memling. İt has been suggested that the compositional arrangement of the Marby rug may also suggest a possible vahation of the combat motif within the classical octagonal framework.

İn the National Historical Museum, Stockholm,  on two of the three fragments from Fostat are displayed different and varied stylistic compositions of this carpet’s decorative form. The two show a vahation on the Marby carpet of two birds flanking a tree. This is an example of the endless diagonal composition which does not have geometric sections.

On the third piece between a geometric motif of eight pointed stars and hexagons is an opposing four legged animal figure. The originals of the three animal figured carpets have not been found. The two fragments originally in the Lamm collection in the same museum are dated to the middle of the 15th century. The bird figures on these have completely disappeared.

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The difference between the third piece and the other two is that the birds are a pair facing each other and the geometric sections are separated with the birds between and outside of them. This carpet fragment is also older than the other two and dates to the early 15th century.

Yet another interpretation of this theme can be seen on a carpet now kept among the collection of the General Directorate of Pious Foundations in the Vakıflar Carpet Museum, İstanbul. İt was collected from Foundation premises in Ankara but from which particular building is not known. The carpet measures 2.21×1.53 m and, like the Marby rug, has a field divided into two rec-tangular sections containing depressed octagons. The octagons each contain a pair of stylized figures facing each other with a tree between. The figüre is a quadruped, some what like the figüre on the Konya carpet, although its stylized wings and trefoil crenel-lation are larger and more detailed. On a field of red are placed white figures studded with red and dark blue crescent shapes. Wings stretch out from a rectangular lozenge on the back of the figüre. The medallions are framed by a band of alternately placed hooked and plain lozenges in red, white and yellow on a green field. The border contains eight pointed stars and hooked “flint” motifs on a white field. The same border continues across the center of the carpet cutting the field between the two medallions. The inner and outer guard borders are filled with floral motifs in two alternating colors on a purple ground. At each end of the carpet are two extra narrow bands with dark fields in which naturalistic foliate scrolls alternate in pairs or singly in three different colors.

The figüre and border motifs are comparable to those on a carpet in the Museum of Turkish and Islamic Art, İstanbul (Inventory No. 1036). The carpet in the Vakıf Museum, however, displays a more complex and highly deveioped composition than that of the Marby rug, and the combination and complexity of motifs in the Vakıf carpet indicate that towards the end of the 15th century importaot changes were occurring in the device and its use.

Another carpet from this group, the surviving part of a carpet which was once cut in half, is now in the Ethnographic Museum, Konya (Inventory No. 841). İt was brought from the Medrese of Mevlana on October 9, 1926 to the Mevlana Museum and subsequently transferred in 1978 to its present location. The carpet measures 2.15×1.08 m and contains ten rows of stylized figures described as cockerels on a red field. Each row of the motif contains four figures, their colors changing as they descend diagonally from green in the upper righthand corner to white, purple, white, blue, white and purple. A rectangular device on the bird’s back fıom which wings appear to extend, bears a floral motif and fillings contrasting in color to the main motif. The body is also stippled in contrasting colors. Two stylized motifs, one foliate and the other animal like, fiil the border in alternating rows of dark blue and red on a cream ground. A row of red linked leaves outlined in blue fills up the dark blue field of the outer guard border. The large hooked wings of the main motif would suggest that it is a stylized form of the motif of a phoenix and dragon in combat, the phoenix being represented only in a very symbolic form by the wings.

A replica of a bir d motif with some resem blance to the one in the Konya carpet described above can be seen in a painting by Jaume Huguet (1455-1456) which is now in the Catalonia Museum, Barcelona The tail and claws of both motifs are almost identical, although there are differences in some of the elements of the body, wings and neck. The birds in the replica face right, whereas those in the Konya carpet face left. On the other hand, the border bears no resemblance to the Konya original, but contains many pointed stars in squared divisions (III. 20). However, as it seems to belong to the same figural group, this painting helps date the Konya carpet to the first half of the 15th century.

An animal-figured carpet similar to the Konya carpet is in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, with the profile head of a bird reminiscent of the figüre in one of the Fostat fragments. İt is similar also to that seen in Buonacorso’s painting in the National Gallery, London, of the “Marriage of Mary”.

An animal-figured carpet in the Turkish and Islamic Arts Museum, İstanbul (Inv. No. 566) which had come from the Alaeddin Mosque, Konya, shows the highly stylized figures in a geometric form of the late 15th century. İt is in poor condition. İn the middle of a 90×90 cm section of the red field is a large deep blue octagon while on the two borders are “S” motifs, inside blue on red, and outside brown on yellow.  These are separated by lines, red with white accents.

The Konya animal carpet has used the motifs of the Ming and Marby carpets in a different and highly stylized composition within a completely geometric framework. The Kufic like border decorations here are reminiscent of those in Carlo Crivelli’s painting of the large pattern Type III Holbein carpets.

Another carpet showing a composition of a series of hexagons filled with eight pointed stars is seen hanging from the corner of the balustrade in a second Crivelli painting dated 1486, aIso in the National Gallery. A Crivelli type composition can be seen on half of an original carpet preserved in the Decorative Art Museum, Budapest. These stunning examples are reminiscent of the Marby or Ming rugs but here the geometric areas are not delineated. The compo sition of a large star appears twice on the main yellow field. The areas around the stars are filled with birds and four legged animals much like the first animal figured carpets.

The stylized border of yellow and red oak leaves on a dark blue field was to appear on Holbein (Type III) carpets, and then even later, on the Bergama carpets. The stylized bird and animal figures and other details are typical of those found in Crivelli paintings in London and Frankfurt, thus giving it a dating to the end of the century. These carpets have taken on his name because of their frequency in his paintings.

Nejat Diyarbekirli at the First International Turkish Carpet Congress (İstanbul, 1984) pre-sented a Sivrihisar prayer rug ofthis type. But on itin place of the ground of yellow is one of pomegranate red with a single Crivelli medallion containing an animal figüre. Also the border and fillings in the corners are quite different and the medaillon composition is distorted.

A cushion cover, dated to the late 15th or early 16th century and now in the Nordenska National Museum, Stockholm, bears a similar device which suggests that the use of such a motif became widespread. İn the Vakıf carpet the motif had begun to show signs of extreme stylization; in the cushion cover the phoenix element has begun to disappear completely, the dragon simply changes shape by becoming even more stylized. The figüre which has been described as a dragon or cockerel on both the Vakıf and Konya carpets can be seen here in all its detail, including elaborate crests, hooked devices and claws. The dating of such pieces as the Marby and Ming carpets to the first half of the 15th century is generally confirmed by a parallel trend in their painted representations. This type of carpet appears less frequently in the paintings of the second half of the 15th century than the first half, and no new types seem to occur.

İn summary we must conclude that artists of the 14th and 15th centuries adopted the animal-figured carpet more than any other type of carpet as a favorite to paint. Paintings of carpets with geometric sections filled with totally geometric motifs do exist, but they are in the minority. (Actually they may have been the commoner type of carpet used by people of this period.) With the help of paintings, we can date the existing carpets and trace their apparent disappearance from the market. As examples of animal-figured carpets began to disappear from Western paintings in the second half of the 15th century to be replaced by carpets with geometric compositions, so also probably did the carpet designs change.

The group of animal figured carpets as a whole was faithful throughout the 14th and 15th centuries to the fundamental techniques and design concepts of the Selçuk carpets as were the possibly more numerous geometric carpets of the period. And yet, at the same time, the weavers were gradually beginning to possess a compositional sense and to use a group of motifs which were to lead to the major developments in Turkish carpets during the 16th and 17th centuries. This was, basically, the scheme of geometric filler motifs within a field divided into square sections.

Schematic drawings of 15th c. animal figures


Animal-Figured Carpets

Animal-Figured Carpets

Historically the second group of carpets that is most important after the Selçuk carpets are those known as the animal-figured Anatolian carpets. We assume that some figured carpets must have been produced by the Selçuks of Anatolia since in so many ways their palaces display in artistic expression a rich variety of figured representations. İt would be hard to think that these were not carried over into the carpets. But examples do not exist, probably because they were destroyed from constant and negligent use. As we have seen, those Selçuk carpets which have remained are from the mosques where they were preserved in quite good condition. Since no figurative decoration was allowed in these places of worship we naturally find that the mosque carpets have mostly geometric designs. Stylized floral motifs do appear but very rarely.

Ambrogio Lorenzetti's "The Virgin Mary Entbroned, guadreped animal-figured carpet motif; formerly in Baer Collection, Munich now in Abec Foundation, Berne.

The rugs of a decorative character with stylized animal figures began to appear among Anatolian carpets about the 14th cen­tury, a date confirmed with the help of the pictorial guide which exists in the European paintings from the beginning of the 14th to the end of the 15th century.

The recognition of the importance of this group came first from these paintings, then samples of the  original carpets began  to
appear, even if only a few in number. The first to be found was the so called Ming carpet; later came the Marby rug, it was followed by the fragments from Fostat.

The study of animal-figured carpets was first taken up as a separate subject of research by the art historian K. Erdmann.

He divided these carpets into various figural types. Taking into consideration ali the figured carpets that are now known, we would separate them into the following types: those that contain simple motif s of animal or bird like figures between or within geometric frames which are arranged in straight offset rows on the main field (actual carpets of this type exist); those that depict a bird-like figüre as an heraldic symbol, as in the case ofsingle -or double- headed eagles (only seen in 14th century paintings); and those that have in them a figüre resembling a cockerel. The animal type generally has in it some kind of an ambulant quadruped, often with a reversed head.

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The more complex types of carpet designs may also include pairs of birds flanking a tree either within a frame or in rows on the main field. Even more complex animal figures, when they finally developed, took on the characteristics of a group motif of combat between a phoenix and a dragon. Examples of this type ali come from the 15th century. The geometric frames in earlier carpets are rectangular or square, but later they become elongated hexagons or octagons.

Erdmann cites examples of re prese nations in his writings, the earliest in a painting of the Giotto school around 1330. We have no woven sample of this type of carpet but the frequency of the representations, and the occurrence of this carpet motif on Anatolian Turkish monuments and textiles of the Selçuk and later periods suggest that it may have been one of the earliest carpets of this type.

Ambulant animal figures were frequently seen on rugs and their representations in the 14th century; six examples in ali have been recorded. There is only one such example dating from the 15th century. From the miniature in the Demotte “Shahnama” in the Freer Gallery, Washington, DC, it appears that representations of carpets from this group were even being made in more eastern regions by the middle of the 14th century. The repeated ambulant animal figüre in a geometric frame to be seen in part in this miniature could well have been copied from a rug imported from Anatolia.

Strongly stylized bird motifs first appear in İtalian paintings, generally of the Sienese and Florentine schools, beginning with the paintings of Giotto early in the 14th century. They continue to occur in paintings of these schools up to the middle of the 15th century.
The first representation within large rectangles of two birds on either side of a tree can be seen in Simone Marti’s painting of St. Louis sitting on a throne. This painting is dated 1317 and is found in the St. Lorenzo Church, Naples. İn this carpet, different colored eagle-like birds are facing outwards from within rectangles of differing colors.
Another example can be seen in Filippo Memmi’s painting of Mary and the Infant Jesus (1350). The carpet depicted is large consisting of twenty sections; the borders are not visible. On a light red ground are cream colored rectangles with cut off corners and filled with two birds on each side of a tree. The field between the sections contains blue rosettes.
The stylized heraldic eagle in frontal or profile position appears as early as 1259 in a Byzantine fresco in Boiana and is found in replicas of textiles and carpets up to the 15th century (Pl. 25).
The motifs may sometimes be ambivalent; they may be seen as either animals or birds. Nevertheless they have a distinct stylistic character. There is one representation in an Italian painting, dated in the second half of the 14th century, of a carpet with bird-like animal figures filling geometric divisions. This is the painting on wood by Niccolo di Buonacorso (d. 1388) of the “Marriage of the Virgin”, dated 1370 and in the National Gallery, London. İt contains the characteristic zoomorphic device (Pl. 26, 27). The carpet has a red main field divided into rectangles with corners depressed. The frames are filled with stylized standing cockerellike devices with heads reversed. The colors of the motif and the inner field of the rectangles alternate, a red bird on a yellow field, then a yellow one on a red field.

A   fragment of a   carpet kept in   the Metropolitan  Museum  of Art,   New  York, bears part of a simillar bird figüre. This fragment which may fall into this group of Anatolian carpets, measures 25.5×18 cm (1,600 Turkish knots per 10 cm2) and was one of the fragments recovered from Fostat. The colors are green, lightbrown and two tones of red.
Western examples of this type are to be found in a painting of the “Madonna and Child Enthroned with Saints” in Siena. İn this painting by Ambrogio Lorenzetti (1319-1347) we see a carpet spread beneath the throne of the Virgin which bears within an octagonal frame the ambulant figüre of a leopard with tail stretched forward. A similar painting by the same artist, in the Munich Baer Collection until 1933 (when it was auctioned), contains a carpet again under the Madonna’s throne, but here we see rows of standing quadrupeds within alternating dark and light geometric divisions (III. 14).
A detail of the “Annunciation” (Sienese School), originally in the Schlossmuseum, Berlin, which was painted by an artist of the same school, contains the representation of a carpet spread on the ground. The carpet displays rows of ambulant quadrupeds in sçuares with their heads and tails reversed. One figüre is occasionally turned so that it faces the next one and the corners of the squares are cut off and contain swastika motifs. Despite the popularity of these kinds of representations within the Sienese School, this precise type of carpet has yet to be discovered in the original (///. 15).

Another two bird composition within rectangles appears in Pietro Gerini’s St. Matthew fresco in the Church of St. Francesco da Nicola, Prato. The carpet depicted is a 14th century one used as a table cover. Within rectangles with cut corners the bird composition appears light on a dark ground and then this reverses.

A valuable piece of evidence for the dating of carpets with rows of single animal or bird like figures on öpen or framed grounds, and indeed for categorizing a 14th century group of animal carpets, exists in the damaged fresco of Matteo di Giovanni in the Papal Palace in Avignon. The carpet shown in this fresco contains a white “swan” motif, rather like a peacock, repeated geometrically. A 14th century document in the form of a narrative refers to the existence of such a carpet. it seems that Pope Benedict XII, one of the Popes residing at Avignon during the 14th century, was very fond of carpets and always kept a carpet spread in front of the Papal throne, one which contained parrot and swan like figures. A painting by Giovanni di Paolo of “The Pope Enthroned Attended by St. Catherine of Siena” which is in the Stocklet Collection, Brussels and is dated 1440, records this 15th century legendary carpet and its assumed patron. This carpet of the Anatolian type contains geometric frames, each filled with a single bird.

Carpets within the final group to be described contain motifs somewhat removed from simple isolated animal figures. Each figüre is here incorporated into group combat compositions, varying in complexity and level ofstylization. More carpets of this type actually exist than of any other. The first to be found was the socalled Ming carpet, acquired by Bode in 1890. İt was in the possession of an antiçue dealer in Rome having just been discovered in a church in central İtaly. Bode purchased the carpet for the Museum of Islamic Art, Berlin. İt was at that time considered to be the oldest carpet in the world, a theory not to be changed until the discovery of the Selçuk carpets.

The Ming carpet, now in the East Berlin Museum, has a main field divided into two equal rectangularsections. The corners of the rectangle are cut off by a hooked device thus forming two octagons. Within the octagons are identical compositions of combat between a dragon and a phoenix. The figures have become highly stylized to the point of being decorative motifs. The compo-sitional motif of a phoenix and dragon is much used in Chinese art, being associated mainly with the Ming period, when, however, they were not portrayed in combat. The appearance, as in this carpet, of the two actually engaged in combat is the result of a different world view. The field color of the carpet is yellow, the Chinese imperial color. The liberty and creativity used by expert weavers are shown in the great variety of depictions of the figures in the combat scenes within the octagons. Variations of the motif can be seen in the Konya carpet discussed below, where the motif described as a cockerel also contains a highly stylized composite device in which the phoenix is present only in a symbolic form.

The phoenix and dragon combat motif is to be seen also on two of the fragments found at Fostat (III. 16, 17). The motif on the fragment in the Völkerkunde Museum, Basel, has a composition which is identical to that found on a fragment discovered by Erdmann in an antique market. İt is much damaged, but traces of the dragon and the head of the phoenix can be distinguished in red with blue contours. This motif occurs freguently in Florentine paintings of the 15th century.

A representation of this combat motif with­in a field in eight sections in a fresco of the “Marriage of the Foundlings” in the Ospedale S. M. della Scala, Siena, dated 1440-44 and painted by Domenico di Bartolo suggests that the original Fostat fragments may also have been sections of carpets with a main field divided into eight sections (III. 18). This type of motif is also suggested in the painting by Giovanni di Francesco (1420), the Cassone panel and the painting by Bartolomeo değil Erri, “Scene from the Legend of St. Vincent Ferrer ” (III. 19), Mills cites eight other Florentine versions from the middle of the 15th century and two later versions from the same school. İt also appears in a painting by the Flemish school.

With the distorted form of the phoenixand the dragon, the motif of the Ming carpet is seen in the painting of “Dorothy St. John, Lady Cary” attributed to William Larkin, ca. 1600. Here the composition is within long hexagons, an arrangement which did not appear after the 14th century. The phoenix is  depicted larger and its head resembles a hook with the tail cut off. On the other hand the figüre of the dragon is rather small, taking the form of a simplified animal. They are similar to the dragon figures that look like birds on either side of the tree in the animal carpet in the Vakıflar Museum, İstanbul.

Animal Figured Carpets 2


Selcuk Period Carpets – Part 2

Selcuk Period Carpets – Part 2

İn the same period Ebul Fida in his writings informs us that, according to İbn Said (d. 1274), “There, Turcoman carpets are made and exported to all countries of the world. Aksaray is mentioned as a center of production and is probably the “there” referred to in the quote. Another traveler, İbn Battuta who passed through Anatolia in the 14th century, similarly praises the carpets of Aksaray, which he says are exported to all “the Turkish countries” referring to Egypt, Syria, lraq and Iran.
The fragments found at Fostat corroborate this. İn fact, as Lamm relates, whether they came from Fostat or from the rubbish heaps near the tombs, it is certain that they are all examples of carpets imported to Egypt from Anatolia between the 13th and 15th centuries. The commercial channels between the two areas were well established by this time. During the Selçuk era important trade routes passed through Anatolia and certain trade rights were granted to the Venetians and Genoese. For example, in 1220 trade rights from the port of Antalya were granted specifically to the Venetians.

We can also learn a great deal of Information from examining the contemporary paintings of the period both in the East and in the West. We see characteristic Selçuk carpets represented in paintings as early as the 13th century. The Makamat Manuscript (İstanbul, Süleymaniye Esad Efendi Library, Inventory No. 2916) contains a miniature representing a carpet with a geometric field pattern and Kufic border which is compositionally a varia-tion of the Selçuk type. The field design is reminiscent of the eight Konya carpets with their interlinked octagons interspersed between small sguares.

Towards the end of the 14th century and even more so in the 15th century, these carpet representations began to appear in Iranian miniatures. Ira design these painted carpets contain a main field filled with small, repeated geometric devices and borders which are derived from Kufic motifs. A miniature of Huma and Humayun, in a Shiraz Baysungur manuscript dated 1420, shows Hümayun who fainted when he first looked at Huma. He is lying on a carpet of a similar composition consisting of interlinked octagons with a border of interlaced Kufic devices, a composition which also could even be a ceramic design (III. 5). Another miniature in the British Museum, London dated 1485, contains a carpet with a design composed of rows of interlaced cruciform and star motifs with alternate rows of star-shaped rosettes between them. This composition is typical of the first type of Holbein carpets (III. 7). Squared geometric divisions and interlaced Kufic borders are the marked features of these carpets of this period and are clearly seen on the carpets in all of these miniatures.

But towards the end of the 15th century we begin to see interlacing appearing between the field devices. Also medallions and foliate scrolls begin to appear alongside the geometric motifs, and finally they become so dominant that they replace the geometric motifs altogether. A Herat miniature from the first half of the 15th century found in Folio 24a of an albüm in the Topkapı Treasury (Inv. No. 2153), contains a representation of su eh a carpet (III. 6).

Another example can be seen in a fresco painted by Giotto in the Arena Chapel in Padua dated 1304. İt was used as an altar hanging. The field design is an exact copy of the one in the second Komya carpet. Here we see a series ofstars outlined by cruciform arms. İt is quite possible that as a model Giotto might have used a  carpet which was imported from Anatolia. İn fact a document dated 1305 refers to such importations.

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The influence of the use of Turkish carpets is seen in the oll paintings during the 15th century, first in Flemish paintings by the Eyck Brothers in the city of Ghent, and then later in the Italian artists and particularly those in Venice. İt became a popular custom to drape these carpets from windows or balconies. The use of the colors in these carpets can also be seen in paintings starting with Giovanni Bellini and it was then taken up by other Renaissance painters like Titian, Tintoretto and Veronese.

The dating of the Selçuk carpets has been challenged by some authors notably Agnes Geijer, who traced the patterns of one of these carpets to a Chinese textile of the 14th century. The proof of this argument lies primarily in the similarity of the motifs in the textiles of the Yuan Period (1279-1378) in China. The comparison is made with a small Konya purplishred carpet containing stylized flowers in alternate diagonal rows. The stems of flowers are twisted alternately left and right.

İn a Chinese scroll by Liu-Kuan-Tao deseribed earlier, the Kubilay Han hunting scene is exactly represented as the background motif of the biggest Selçuk carpet at the Turkish and Islamic Arts Museum, İstanbul. The background motif decorated with flowers and erosses in the middle, can also be seen on a Chinese silk fabric which was found in Egypt.

The Chinese silk fabrics and the carpet represented on the scroll which were said to have been influenced by the Huns, are all left from the time of the Yuan family. This family, belonging to the Mogul dynasty of Cengiz Han, and the Moguls were all faithful to the Turkish culture and the art developed in the hands of the Turks especially the Uigars. So, it is more logical to say that the Turkish carpet motif s have influenced the Chinese textile and art with the help of the Moguls. New information about these Chinese scrolls and silk fabrics is being documented.

The tendency to say that the Selçuk carpets belong to the 14th, even to the 15th century is a result of not knowing the Selçuk art and culture well enough. There has always been both an interrelated and a parallel development in Selçuk art particularly between carpets and other branches of art such as architecture, tiles, fabrics, decoration, paintings and miniatures. Later on however, this has changed between the Selçuk and Ottoman periods, as can be clearly seen in the architecture of the 14th and early 15th centuries.

The Selçuk field motifs can also be seen on a Spanish carpet from the second half of the 15th century. An example is the carpet with Spanish knots having dimensi ons of 3.73×1.52 m which was brought to the Washington Textile Museum from the Dumbarton Oaks collection. On it hooked dark brown flowers are lined up on a dark mustard colored ground. The  border has braided bands like the ones on later Spanish carpets and the inside border is made up of diamond shaped designs (III. 11).

The characteristic background design of these Selçuk carpets also has been used on the Uşak carpets of the 16th century. A long half rug (5.75×1.56 m), now in the İslamic Art Museum, Berlin has a dark brown background with red flowers and yellow in the middle and diagonal clouds scattered among the flowers. These are interlaced with each other with stems from the tips. Selçuk carpet motifs have most certainly influenced the 14th century Chinese silk fabrics as they have also influenced the 15th century Spanish carpets and the 16th century Uşak carpets (III. 12).

The geometric motifs of the Selçuk carpets have survived in Anatolian carpets, kilims and cicims and are considered as traditional motifs used on Middle Asia Türkmen carpets for many centuries. The Turkomans especially the Tekke Turkomans have used the Holbein Type I carpet compositions and color contrast up to our time. Maybe the origin of these carpets goes as far back as Turkestan’s old carpet art.

Animal Figured Carpets


Selçuk Period Carpets Found at Fostat

Selçuk Period Carpets Found at Fostat

İn 1935-36 about one hundred fragments some Selçuk in origin were discovered at Fostat and taken to Sweden by C. J. Lamm. Many of these are stili to be found in the Nationalmuseum, Stockholm; one is in Gothenburg and others are in Lamm’s private collection. A large number have also been acquired by other museums: the Benaki Museum, Athens; the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; the Islamic Museum, Cairo; and the Museum fur Islamische Kunst (Islamic Art Museum), Berlin. Lamm has pub-lished drawings and pictures of twenty-nine of these fragments from the collection in the Swedish museums; the ones in the Benaki Museum, however, are neither exhibited nor published and therefore remain unknown. The other Fostat fragments in the museums of New York, Cairo and Berlin are also unpublished.

The story of the discovery of some of these Fostat carpets by Riefstahl is worth relating. When purchasing some old carpet fragments from a Cairo antiçue market where they were being sold for very Iittie, he learned from the dealer that these were but a few from among many pieces which were constantly coming to light from excavations at Fostat. Soon such fragments began appearing frequently at the markets and of course their price rose steeply   Riefstahl in  his article about this states that “all rug fragments discovered in Egypt are described as coming from the ruins of Fostat. We must, however, admit that many of these fragments may simply have been found in the rubbish heaps to the south and east of Cairo. Unless a definite scientific record of a find is established, we have no guarantee that a rug fragment is from Fostat or predates the destruction ofthatcity, i.e. the middle of the twelfth century.” He further notes, “I have seen such fragments in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; in the G. H. Myers Textile Museum, Washington, DC and in a Paris collection.
Seven of the twenty-nine carpet fragments published by Lamm unguestionably belong to the Konya group. They enrich our comparatively slight knowledge of Selçuk carpets, giving evidence of new designs and helping confirm that the production of Konya carpets must have extended into the 14th century. Undoubtedly, other Selçuk examples would surely appear, if as a whole all the pieces that have been discovered so far were available to be studied. The Fostat carpets are smaller than the Konya ones and their knots are tighter and finer. They are woven with the Turkish knot with a warp of mat white or brown wool, and a weft of red wool. Geometric compositions are prevalent, although some have animal figures too. İt is remarkable that though there are many representations of animal-figured carpets in European paintings, there are com-paratively few showing geometric designs, while those of the animal figured carpets of Fostat with complex figured groups are very rarely represented.

Let us look more closely at the seven Selçuk fragments from Fostat which were published by Lamm. The first six are in the Nationalmuseum, Stockholm.

The first example is a small fragment ofthe field of a woolen Anatolian carpet dating from the 13th century and measuring 0.14×0.165 m (Inv. No. 39/1936). The design contains off-set rows of thinly scattered dark red lozenges with a pair of “U“- and “\/“-like fillings turned outwards, all on a dark blue ground. The lozenges are terminated at both ends with a Kufic like hooked motif outlined in dark red or brown on a light red field. İt is very difficult to identify the main composition but other smaller lozenges with blue and green fillings can be clearly identified alongside the main motif.

The second example is a fragment from a woolen carpet measuring 0.26×0.17 m (Inv. No. 220/1939). The main field contains a large polygonal medallion with dark blue inner contours and a brown outline. The medallion is symmetrically filled with four large cream eight sided stars with rectangles in between. The remaining space is filled with squares and lozenge shapes in red and cream. Besides the medallion, small stylized dark purple floral motifs which resemble lilies cover the rosered field.

The third fragment is the border and a section of the main field of a woolen carpet measuring 0.315×0.18 m (Inv. No. 42/1936). Dark olive green motifs resembling lilies, which in the previous example surrounded the medallion, here cover the rose red field . They probably filled the area between the border and the central medallion. The Kufic border is light green on a dark blue ground. The interior border consists of a whitish angular flower design with a dark brown outline. There is a white band on either side of the interior border and a blue band separates the main field from the border.

The fourth fragment measuring 0.40×0.145 m is from the border of another woolen carpet (Inv. No. 43/1936). The composition contains a row of yellowish Kufic motifs outlined in brown on a red field. Depressed green rectangles join the letters (Pl. 19). The inner guard border contains a row of chevrons in brown on a cream field with alternating red and green triangles filling the empty spaces.

The fifth example dating from the 13th or 14th century is a small fragment from a woolen carpet measuring 0.33 x 0.95 m (Inv. No. 222/1939). The field in this fragment consists of a row of dark blue and red rosettes with angular stylized flowers outlined in brown on a belge ground (Pl. 20). The flower like design alternately faces downwards and upwards.

The sixth fragment is a small part from the field of a carpet dating from the 14th century (Pl. 21). İt measures 0.275×0.105 m (Inv. No. 221/1939). The design contains a device derived from an eight pointed star with arrowheads projecting from the four sides and is outlined in brown with red and green fillings.

The seventh fragment which is kept in the Röhss Museum, Gothenburg is severly dam-aged and very small, 0.31×0.255 m (Inv. No. 321/1935). İt consists of a section from the field and border of a woolen carpet from the 14th century (III. 2).

Though it is impossible to establish the relationships between the Fostat fragments and the Konya and Beyşehir finds, certain additional facts about them give us clues in the dating and composition of the total group. The Kufic inscriptions, for example on some of the Fostat fragments bear the date H. 202 (817-818), that is, during the Abbasid Period. As mentioned earlier this shows that those carpets were pretulunid. These carpets are knotted on a single warp with a technique bearing some similarity to the one traditionally identified as the Turkish knotting technique. (This single warp knot is also

 seen later on Spanish carpets.) However, a possible link of relationship is seen in the fragments in the Nationalmuseum, Stockholm containing offset rows of octagons. These do resemble the Konya carpets, but a vertical link between the octagon and the hexagons flanking them has been added to the composition. The filling devices are also different. The border resembles that of the Beyşehir carpet belonging to the proto Holbein carpet. İn short, the evidence of relationship remains inconclusive.

Before proceeding to a general discussion of compositional design and historical perspectives, let us turn to one last Fostat frag­ment.
A Fostat Konya carpet fragment purchased by the late Richard Ettinghausen in Cairo and now in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York is a piece belonging to the late 13th or early 14th century. İt measures 0.31×0.225 m and bears the same color characteristics as the Konya carpets, that is red, dark blue and light blue. The main composition consists of dark blue hexagons on a red field with light blue symmetrical hooked devices. Octagons with hooked devices project from their corners and thick double stemmed floral motifs appear above and below the main device. The hexagons are linked on each side.

This composition is not to be found in the Konya Alâeddin Mosçue carpets, though the hooked devices issuing from the corners of the motif show a considerable similarity of style to two of the Konya carpets. Both have a geometric framework derived from cloud devices, something which is also characteristic of the Damask silks belonging to the Yuan Dynasty (1279-1368). İt is impossible to state with certainty whether the origin of the device in the Fostat fragment was a cloud motif of the Chinese silks and damasks or an ogival lotus motif. These Chinese prototypes, if indeed they can be called that, are to be seen on medieval silk fragments belonging to the Mameluke Sultan Muhammad Nasr bin Kalavun (1309-1340) which were discovered together with other date-inscribed silks in excavations in Upper Eygpt.

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A great deal can be learned about carpets in general and these in particular by turning to some literary references. İn writings of the period, Anatolian Selçuk carpets of the 13th century were highly praised. The Venetian, Marco Polo on his journey from Anatolia to Iran between 1271 and 1272 passed through Sivas and Kayseri. İt is not certain that he visited Konya. We have no conclusive evidence, either, that he was able to observe the magnificence of the three architectural monuments in Sivas whose dates of completion were the same year as his visit. They were the Gök Medrese, the Çifte Minareli Medrese and the Buruciye Medrese. All of them are situated on the main street of the city so it would have been very difficult for him to have missed them. İt is recorded, however, that because of language he was not in contact with Müslim Turks but made contact with the Christians in the area. The following quote records the event. “İn Turcomania three types of people are found. Of these the Türkmen live by raising animals, the Greeks and Armenians are engaged in commerce in the cities. Here the world’s richest carpets are woven.

Selçuk Period Carpets Foundat Fostat2


The Carpets of Beyşehir

The Carpets of Beyşehir

Twenty-five years after Martin discovered the Konya carpets, more Selçuk carpets were found in the same way in the Eşrefoğlu Mosque in Beyşehir, a district capital lying on the shores of the Beyşehir Lake. They were discovered by R. Riefstahl and brought to the Mevlana Museum, Konya. Three of these carpets, which all bear the same characteristics as the Konya carpets, are worth examining closely. İn fact one fragment, of which only a small part of the field border remains, is very similar in composition particularly to one of the Konya carpets. The fourth piece is from the 15th century.

The first fragment measures 1.70×2.54 m and, on a dark blue field exhibits a composition of a series of diagonal rows of light blue lozenges and a pair of hooks extending from both sides, to form a small diamond which is dotted with red or yellow fillings. The main lozenges contain eight pointed stars. They are either light yellow or red with dark blue outlines, or they are dark blue with yellow or red rectangles in the center. The border of which only one small fragment remains, must have consisted of a Kufic motif in white on a red field.

The field pattern of this carpet with hooked lozenges is used as an emblem on the tea boxes   of  the   Ceylon   Tea   Center   near
Piccadilly in London. Buddhism which disappeared in India, the country where it was born, lives on in Ceylon. İt might be a Budd-hist symbol that came to Anatolia from the Uighurs. The same motif later appears in the 18th century Turkish carpets and prayer rugs. We see a characteristic example ofthis in the borders of the Ladik prayer rugs with three mihrabs divided by thin columns.

The second fragment measuring 1.16×0.49 m (Inv. No. 867), is a very damaged border piece of a woolen carpet which has lost its pile. İt is a 13th century Anatolian carpet. The composition is schematically identi-cal to that of the second Konya carpet, although here the motif is brown on lightred; the Konya carpet is light blue on blue.
The third example consists of fragments of a carpet which presumably was originally five meters long. İn an article by Riefstahl on the subject, he refers to it as a Selçuk floral carpet, approximately five meters in length, with designs reminiscent of those seen in the stonework on the left side of the main facade of the Turumtay tomb in Amasya, and also on the Gök Medrese and Çifte Minareli Medrese, both in Sivas. Riefstahl claims that the hooked lozenges of this carpet were taken from Byzantine textiles. However here the system of devices is quite different and has become very Turkish in character.

The carpet in question contains an endless repetition of geometric floral motifs arranged in rows. A reversed flower bud projects from a vertical stem and from its tip extends a hooked palmette facing right or left in alternate rows. The palmette itself bears a forked band with hooked leafy tips. The base ofeach stem joins the tip of another in the next row.
The main border is covered with a repeated Kufic like device in which a pair of hooked figures, “arms akimbo”alternate with two half figures of the same kind, each motif separated by double lines and obtuse triangles. The guard borders are flanked by bands of chainlike devices, and contain rows of vertical motifs identical to those found in the first Beyşehir carpet.

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The Beyşehir carpets were all brought, as mentioned to the Mevtana Museum, but later one of them disappeared and hereby hangs a tale. İn 1957 Erdmann was shown a photograph of a carpet fragment by the director of the Textile Museum, Washington, DC, one which he was about to purchase as a Selçuk carpet. When the director learned that it was a missing fragment from a Beyşehir carpet he withdrew his bid to purchase it. After an account of this was related in a Turkish publication in 1973, a rather large fragment of this Beyşehir carpet, one which had previously only been known from its illustration and description in Riefsthal’s publication of it, was put up for auction. İt was part of the estate of a Mr. Pozzi, the onetime French Ambassador to Turkey who had died in Paris. This fragment was purchased at that time by Dr. Edmund Unger for inclusion in the Keir Collection, London. The carpet, formerly described in the literatüre about it as having a border with dark blue motifs on a light blue field, is now correctly seen in reality to have instead a light red border field with a dark blue motif, and one of the guard borders, which was thought to have had a light yellow field with reddish brown twin Kufic devices, instead has a light brown field with reddish brown motifs.

This Beyşehir fragment which measures 2.07×1.85 m has a 2 “S” ply warp of undyed white and light brown wool, with a 2 and rarelya 3-ply weft of reddish brown wool. The knots are Turkish. The remaining mark lines on the incomplete borders give us a clue about the width of the field, which appears to have been approximately 1.30 m. The knots of the narrow border are visible in the upper part. The border measuring 0.63 m is half the width of the field, thus the carpet was 2.60 m in width when intact. This is one half of the 5 meters which was the previous estimate of its original length. None of the Selçuk carpets from Konya or Beyşehir has attained such extensive dimensions. This fragment, bearing as it does floraI motifs, shows the development from totally geometric motifs prevalent in the other Selçuk carpets towards floriated motifs and may therefore be dated to the end of the 13th century. This is further corroborated by the fact that this date corresponds to that of the completion of the Eşrefoğlu Mosgue, Beyşehir.

A few years after Dr. Unger’s purchase there appeared in a private collectlon in Germany yet another fragment of similar size from this same Beyşehir carpet. This time, the mark lines on both the width and length of the border give the limits of the carpet in its complete form. The border actually exists only on one of the long sides of the carpet. The other three borders are missing. With this data in hand from this carpet fragment, we must assume that this third Beyşehir carpet was large and did originally measure nearly 5 min length and 2.60 m in width thus verifying Riefsthal’s stated estimates. But Beyşehir’s daim to being part of the historical development of Selçuk carpet making is not only these four carpets found in the Eşrefoğlu Mosque. Seventeenth century kilims also found by R. Riefstahl in Beyşehir attest to the fact that more discoveries and research are necessary before we have the total picture of this area’s contribution.

Selcuk Period Carpets Foundat Fostat


Selcuk Carpets – Part 2

Selcuk Carpets – Part 2

This largest surviving Selçuk carpet with the so called “camel foot” device in depressed octagons in rows shows that a Chinese influence, perhaps brought in from imported textiles, metalwork or porcelain, had already been assimilated into Anatolian Selçuk culture by the 13th century.

The “camel foot” medallion is to be seen in a representation of a carpet on a Chinese handscroll dated to the end of the 13th century depicting the Mongol Khan Kubilay hunting in the steppe. The scroll now in the National Palace Museum, Taiwan, was executed by Liu Kuan-Tao in 1280. The illustration shows three camels in a caravan loaded with goods wrapped in carpets and kilims. The third camel displays a carpet with a red field with series of white hexagons on top of each other. These are filled with arrow headed palmettes again filled with hexagonal stars. This same motif is also seen on the third Konya carpet on a lightyellow background with dark red depressed hexagons. This “camel foot” device, lately called the “Türkmen rose” motif, clearly came too Anatolia with the Selçuks.

The fourth carpet measures 2.30×1.14 m . The deep red field of this fragment is filled with diagonal rows of light red, highly stylized floral motifs, basically hexagonal in shape with hooked motifs extending from the sides, and a crescent motif from the tip. The hexagons contain swasticas in red or deep red on a blue or red field. The hexagons are joined to horizontally stepped stems, alternating from right to left in each row.

The pattern of this carpet, as Agnes Geijer has pointed out, resembles a Chinese silk piece belonging to a group found in Egyptian
tombs ofca. 1300. The direct copying of the Chinese silk damask is easily recognizable despite the simplification of the forms and the angularity of the drawing which are necessitated by the coarser carpet technique. But the silk damask is monochrome in color. Besides noting the similarity of the pattern it must be recognized that all kinds of influences are almost always reciprocal. The border consists of a row of squares with protruding hooked motifs resembling that of the second Konya carpet, but here it is depicted in turquoise on a natural brown field. The square of the former has now become an eight-pointed star, and the motif on the side border has wings protruding from each side of the star within a star motif. These wings terminate in hooks and are linked in the center with lozenges. The inner and outer guard borders contain a row of “flint” or “S” motifs decorated with hooks and triangles in white on a red field. The inner guard border is separated from the main field by a wide blue band filled with a light red hooked motif in the corners of the field.

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The fifth carpet with the same attributions measures 0.90×0.74 m (Inv. No. 684). The warp is single-ply rather thick red wool. The Turkish knots in this piece are inclined slightly to the right. The main field contains hexagonal hooked motifs in offset rows . The motifs arranged vertically on a dark blue field are light blue and contain red “flint” or geometric “S” motifs in their centers. They are terminated below by an “arrowhead” and above by a lozenge containing a small red filling. The main border contains a Kufic motif of repeated groups of white Kuficlike stems, outlined in brown. Each group of characters is linked to the next by a hooked device ending in what could have been a crescent motif, but which, due to the poor state of the fragment, is impossible to identify. On the inner edge of the border, rectangular spaces created by the Kufic motif are filled with a red and blue chevroned strip on three sides. Within this, on the red field of the border is a small red square flanked on each side by two blue triangles which form an eight pointed star. The inner guard border contains a wide band of geometric floral devices using the so called “goose foot” motif. The effect resembles arrowheads which have one red and one blue side and are turned alternately to right and left on a yellow field.
The sixth example from the collection of the Alaeddin Mosque consists of two fragments, one measuring 0.87×1.66 m  and the other measuring 1.32×1.23 m . They are in a very damaged condition, but must have been part of a carpet some three meters in width and most probably much longer in length. The composition consists of offset rows of closely set, hooked lozenge motifs of “arms akimbo” devices in dark blue set on a beige-yellow field. On the lower edge of the field the colors change, the motif becomes belge, the field color dark blue and the motif has a red lozenge filling. The extremely wide main border has a Kufic device in it, and each pair of the opposing Kufic stems is linked to the next by a hooked device which is crowned with a crescent motif. The stems and the linking devices are dark red outlined in brown on a light red field, while the crescent motif is green. The inner guard border separating the border from the field is a yellow strip outlined on both sides by a reddish brown contour.
There is a large carpet (2.26×1.23 m) of the same design and colors but it is in very poor condition. İt lacks one side and most of the border; its color is faded and much of its pile is lost.
The last fragment to be described is very small, 0.77×0.17 m and contains only a small part of the main field and the border (Inv. No. 678).   İt was brought to  the  museum  on August 10, 1928 from the Kılıçarslan tomb in the Alaeddin Mosque complex. The main field compositon consists of light blue hooked lozenge motifs containing small yellow diamond shaped fillings which are sur-rounded by a series of light blue elongated hexagons linked together to form an octagonal framework around the first movement. These in turn contain “flint” motifs on a dark blue field. Despite certain variations in color tone, it is clear that the border of this fragment resembles that of the fifth Konya carpet.
These Konya carpets, extremely varied in color and composition, were ali very large, one as large as 15 m2, and were designed to cover large spaces. İt has been assumed that they were donated to the Alaeddin Mosque after its extension had been ordered by Sultan Alaeddin Keykubad in 1221, and were actually presented to the mosque during his lifetime. They are indeed among the most monumental examples of Selçuk art.

The Carpets of Beysehir


Selçuk Carpets

Selçuk Carpets

A high point in the art of carpet making was to be achieved during the three centuries of the Selçuk Period but unfortunately there are no examples from the period called the Great Selçuk Period. We do however ha ve surviving carpets and fragments from the Anatolian Selçuk Period. These have been designated the “Konya Carpets” but basıcaIly this is a misnomer. The sources of our evidence come from three finds those from Konya, those from Beyşehir and those from Fostat.
İn spite of the fragmented condition of most of these samples, it has been possible to piece together what we have come to believe is the first expression in a consistent development of design and quality. Thus this group can be called the first group of Turkish carpets recognizable as the forerunners of carpets of later periods even up to the present.

Today the total Selçuk carpet collection consists of eighteen pieces, fifteen of which are fragments. Eight of these were found in Konya and three in Beyşehir. Seven are from Fostat. Only two with in the group are quite similar; both of these are in the Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts, İstanbul. The others ali have varying colors and motifs; each is unigue. Such variation indicates the existence of considerable creative potential on the part of those who produced them.

In essence a study of the Selçuk group reveals that the prototypic designs were derived from the infusion of highly stylized floral motifs into geometric designs and from border compositions consisting of Kufic devices. İn som e cases the geometric forms are created by the repetition of motifs in rows. İn fact floraI motifs, if one can identify them as suchf are not only stylized but highly abstract; certainly representational figures are unknown. As we examine each ofthese fragments it will become quite clear that generalizati ons must give way to the unique and stunning quality of each piece.

The original carpets discovered in Konya’s Alaeddin Mosque dating from the first half of the 13th century are products of Selçuk Anatolia and show the development in pile carpet making up to that period. They have also come to be considered as prototypes for ali post-Selçuk carpets. The details of their origins stili are a matter of speculation.

Until 1905 none of the visitors to the Alaeddin Mosque, Konya including F. Sarre, the carpet expertt had been aware of the existence of any valuable carpets there. They were first discovered in 1905 by F. R. Martin who pointed out their great importance to the history of carpet making to Herr Loytved, the then German consular representative in Konya. İn a short space of time they became very well-known even though Martin himself did not publish them until 1908. Then they were given a place in his extraordinary two volume work of text and plates measuring 67×56 cm.  (The text volume alone weighed ten kilos.)The story of the adventure surrounding this discovery and ultimate publication is found on page 113 of Martin’s volume. He states that in the “Alaeddin Mosque in Konya, which was finished in 1220 AD, are four carpets and two fragments that differ from all the others which to the number of several hundred cover the floor of this mosque, one of the most beautiful and most ancient in Turkey Their ground is decorated with a very simple pattern repeated many times. The border of these carpets, which is their charaeteristic feature, consists of Kufic decorative letters, which by their pompous form and large size are entirely different from all such letters known on other carpets.” After Ferid Pasha ceased to be the governor of Konya, and became the Grand Vizier of Abdulhamid II who had assumed the Ottoman throne, he ordered that photographs and watereolors be made for H.R.H. Prince William of Sweden of any Selçuk carpet he wished.
Martin’s footnote No. 247 goes on to explain how “the German consular representative Herr Loytved had kindly undertaken to supervise the photographing. However before dispatehing to H.R.H. Prince William any copy of the photographs, Herr Loytved, who is a Dane by birth, though now in German employ, deemed he might serve his new country by sending the photographs of these remarkable carpets to those interested in the matter in Berlin. That is the reason why Dr. F. Sarre could reproduce them in a recently published article on the carpets of Asia Minor in the Austrian art review Kunst un d Kunsthandwerk, October 1907. Dr. Sarre states that they are the object of ‘besonders hoher verehrung.’ İt is a liftle peculiar that the author of the text of a large work on oriental carpets during ali the lengthy period that he devoted to the study of oriental art in Konya, and assuredly for preparing his great work on Persian arehiteeture, was often a visitor at this mosque, had not before noticed or heard ofthese carpets which he now finds so remarkable. They are certainly tattered, though not so “ausserts sehleeht erhalten’ that their peculiar colour and design do not at once strike the beholder. The real fact is that these carpets were not appreciated at ali, being relegated to that portion of the mosque that was farthest from the Mihrab, where they have been trodden underfoot unnoticed not only by Herr Loytved, but also by all other carpet connoisseurs that have visited Alaeddin’s wonderful mosque, and yet they are so total-y different from all other carpets in this mosque, that even ata distance their peculiar colouring would have attracted the eye. Subsequent to my having pointed out to Herr Loytved their great scientific value they have become one of the sights of Konya and object of “besonders hoher verehrung.”

A further note explains how the Prince asked Loytved to assume responsibility for the photographs and watercolors made at the time, and also, that Loytved had copies made also for himself, sending them without permission to Berlin. A year previously Sarre had stated in an article on the subject that he had worked from Loytved’s watercolors and photographs without having seen the original carpets. Sarre’s article, “Mittelalterliche Knupfteppiche” in Kunst und Kunsthandwerk, appeared a year prior to the publication of Martin’s book and was widely distributed, causing an immediate interest in these carpets. The interest of course was renewed when the carpets were republished in 1909 in his book, Seldchukische Kleinkunst They were again published in 1914 by Bode and Kühnel in the second publication of Vorderastiatische Knupfteppiche aus After Zeit.

The eight carpets discovered in 1905, though severely damaged, have indeed survived from the Selçuk Perlod and now have all been brought to the Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts, İstanbul where they are preserved among the world’s largest and richest collection of carpets, one which now consists of over one thousand items and is housed in the museum’s new location at the renovated İbrahim Pasha Palace.

Let us look at these pieces. Three of them are almost intact and five are fragments. Ali are knotted in wool with the Turkish knot, with a two play warp of coarse cream and buff colored wool and a weft of twoplay stiff red wool. These pieces have an average of 840 knots per 10 cm2 and two or three weft shoots between each row of knots. The main charaeteristic design element is a border of large Kufic writing, but highly stylized plant motifs and geometric devices are also featured.

Because of their importance, each piece will be deseribed individually. First among the pieces discovered is a woolen carpet 2.85×5.50 m deslgnated as Anatolian 13th century  which was brought to the museum on March 31, 1930. The carpet conta ins dark red highly stylized (eagle?) motifs resembling arrowheads, outlined in brown, and with small light blue lozenge shaped central fiilings arranged in offset rows on a light red field. The border consists of light blue Kufic motifs outlined in white on a darker blue field and decorated with red bands and yellow hooked fiilings. A row of eightsided blue stars in red squares fills the inner guard border, while the outer guard border which encloses the main border has the same scheme, but here the colors are reversed.

The second carpet from this group and of the same period,  measuring 3.20×2.40 m was broughtto the museum on the same date as the first piece. The knots of this carpet are slightly inclined to the right with 729 knots per 10 cm2. The dark blue maln field is covered with light blue eight pointed star filiings, all arranged in offset rows and joined on four sides by a cross-like scheme of double bands which are also light blue in color and decorated with double hooks resembling Kufic letters.

The third carpet is 6.08×2.46 m and has the same attributions as the one above except that in it the Turkish knots are a littie inclined to the left. The compositon on the main field consists of red octagons in offset rows on a cream field. The octagons are filled with four palmette like hooked motifs  known as “camel’s  feet” arranged in mirror image pairs.  The main border, which survives on only one edge of the fragment, contains a row of paired facing Kufic like motifs. Each pair, drawn with white contours and outlined in brown, is linked in the center by a motif crowned by a crescent. The inner and outer guard borders are identical, consisting of a wide brown band between two narrow blue bands.

Selcuk Carpets 2