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Go Back   Turkotek Discussion Forums > Rugs and Old Masters: An Essay Series > 1. Animal Rugs in Renaissance Paintings > The tile hypothesis

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Topic Review (Newest First)
February 5th, 2012 06:25 PM
Yohann Gissinger There are lot of mysteries remaining especially with the long legged birds...

Y
February 4th, 2012 01:25 PM
Pierre Galafassi Hi Yohann,

Excellent!!
You have got an amazing "nose" for extracting information from the net.
Do you think you could make it perform as well for truffles?

regards
Pierre
P.S. I agree with Filiberto. The more we dig in "rugs and paintings" the more the feeling grows that we vastly under-evaluate the importance of Spain in rugs.
February 3rd, 2012 01:37 PM
Filiberto Boncompagni Bravo Yohann!

And both textiles are fom Spain... Interesting.

Regards,

Filiberto
February 3rd, 2012 01:21 PM
Yohann Gissinger
The silk textile hypothesis

Hello to all,

I don't think the tile hypothesis is valid in this case:


FIG b. P. del Pollaiolo, allegory of Faith, 1469-1470 Uffizi, Florence

The bands format drove my research to some silk textiles fragments still existing in some museums or collections:


XIV-XVth c. Spain (made) Satin band, woven in gold thread along the centre.

A simulated Kufic inscription on a red ground; along either side runs the repeating Arabic inscription "Glory to the All-powerful Lord" in red silk on a white ground, bordered by narrow bands in green, red, blue and white.
Source: V&A museum website

or like this one:


XIVth c. Spain (made) Silk and metal-wrapped thread in lampas weave.

The weaver of this silk from Muslim Spain has accurately reproduced the flowing lines of an inscription in Arabic, a task requiring enormous care. The phrase ‘Glory to our lord the sultan’ has been repeated within the widest band in the design, creating the illusion of a long frieze of calligraphy.
Source: V&A museum website

Best regards,
Y
January 31st, 2012 09:34 AM
Filiberto Boncompagni Yes, that could have been a possibility but, as you say, such floor should be still in existence today or, if lost, its memory should have been recorded somewhere.
Regards,

Filiberto
January 31st, 2012 08:38 AM
Pierre Galafassi Hi Filiberto,

Yes a painter"s creation based on a real rug is a credible option, perhaps the best one.

I have dropped the hypothesis of a (semi-precious) stone-inlaid floor, mostly because such a costly solution could hardly have gone un-noticed at the time and we would probably still be able to admire it in a florentine church or palace. I am not hinting here at inlaid tiles (which would have to show vertical and horizontal lines too) but at this technique which was (and still is today) practiced by florentine artisans, mainly for tables. With this technique the brilliant and saturated colors of Del Pollaiolo's floor could have been easily achieved and no straight lines would appear.
Best regards
Pierre
January 29th, 2012 04:50 PM
Filiberto Boncompagni Hi Pierre,

There are seven paintings in this allegoric series symbolizing the Virtues. Six are from Piero del Pollaiolo. All of them but one (the “Charity”) have the same floor decoration. The “Charity” however has a slightly different one, more carpet-like but again with multiple Kufic borders:



More exactly like a “small pattern Holbein rug” as seen in your essay on “Geometric Rugs in Early Renaissance Paintings”:



Now, if you want my opinion, those floors are sort of “A painter's invention”.

Well, not exactly inventions, though: I think the artist used real elements of a “small pattern Holbein rug” in the same way he used virtual architectonic elements (I say virtual because I exclude that the niches surrounding the women were real) to build up his compositions.

Regards,

Filiberto
January 29th, 2012 10:27 AM
Pierre Galafassi Hi Filiberto,
I have looked for these (perpendicular or oblique) lines too, without finding them.
But what else can it be?
It does not really have the structure expected from a rug, does it?
Intarsia or marquetry? The colors seem much too saturated and bright for such wood-inlay techniques.
Stone inlay? Unlikely, despite the Florentine mastery of this technique?
Textiles?
A painter's invention?
Best regards
Pierre
January 29th, 2012 08:54 AM
Filiberto Boncompagni Pierre, I have to disagree on the last painting: I don’t think it’s a tiled floor.

First, for the reasons mentioned in the second post of this thread.

Second, and more important, because if that is a tiled floor I would expect to see a grid pattern. What I see, instead, are only lines parallel to the Kufic script and no perpendicular lines. Unless those are very long tiles…
Regards,

Filiberto
January 28th, 2012 05:29 PM
Pierre Galafassi Hi Patricia,

Thanks a lot for this interesting contribution! I shall try to find an on-line scan of Francisque Pelegrin’s (Or Francisco Pelegrino's) book, if possible. The illustrations should be of great interest, not only for scholars interested in tiles, like Mr Puis, but perhaps as well for ruggies.
Tile floors were ubiquitous in Renaissance painting, being much more frequent «studio props» than carpets or even than velvets and other precious textiles.
The following paintings feature tile floors with probable islamic influence, as those mentioned by Mr Puis, but painted as early as the second half of the fifteenth century:
The first example illustrates the «Livre d’heures de Catherine de Cleves » (Anonymous, ca. 1450, Munster) and shows what might be the sainak motif (Most frequent on Turkmen ensi, and also found on some much older Anatolian rugs).


The later tile floor, with its pseudo kufic «borders», appears in several allegories painted by P. del Pollaiolo (Here, the Allegory of Faith, ca. 1470, Uffizi, Florence).


Best regards.

Pierre
January 27th, 2012 07:18 PM
Patricia Jansma Dear All,

Just wanted to add the following text about tiles and rugs by Mr. Jan Pluis (a prominent scholar on tiles in the Netherlands) from the book "The Dutch tile, designs and names, 1570-1930" (Nederlands Tegelmuseum / Primavera Press, Leiden, The Netherlands, 1998, second edition). Page 31-35:

"Ornamental tiles 1560-1700
In Western Europe during the late middle ages, many buildings were erected in Gothic style. Monasteries, churces and the houses of the well-to-do often had floors of fired earthenware tiles. Red-firing floor tiles were either unglazed or were covered with a monochrome leadglaze or they had a decoration in relief or a white inlaid design. In Flanders, France, England, in the Northern Netherlands and Germany, these tiles were much used and were laid to form large 'tapestries' or 'carpets' of ornamental and/or figurative design.
In the third quarter of the 16th century, there was some cross-fertilisation of inlaid and tin-glazed (previously called 'maiolica') tile designs. Inlaid and relief patterns found their way onto maiolica tiles - or possibly vice versa?- during the second half of the 16th century (Van Dam, Tegel 12, 1984).
Ornamental tiles from the second half of the 16th century nearly always have a design painted in reserve against a dark background, producing an effect similar to that of inlaid floor tiles. Van Dam surmises that a number of floor tile makers switched over to the maiolica technique around 1550.
Although no examples remain of these early ornamental tiles installed on walls, it is likely that this was the case from abouth 1570 on. [...]
The traditional Italian system of surrounding a square, figurative tile with four elongated hexaganal tiles was abandoned in the middle of the 16th century. [...] The designs of this (pj: 1560-1600) period are purely ornamental ands show a mixture of renaissance and islamic styles, undoubtly influenced by the ornament books of the second quarter of the 16th century. One of the earlies of these was published by Francisque Pellegrin in 1530. His book had 62 pages illustrated solely with moresques and motifs derived from Moorish traceries printed in black on a white ground. Pellegrin, a native of Florence, worked a the court of the French king Francis I. At the time, there were numerous Islamic artists active in Italian cities and there was also direct trade contact between Venetian merchants and those of the Levant (notably Damascus). Because of this, Islamic designs and garland motifs became widely known. [...]

The star and cross shape goes back to the 13th and 14th century Persian tiles. At that time it was composed of individual star- and cross shaped tiles. In the 16th century this pattern was transferred to square tiles in Spain and later in Persia itself. Several tiles need to be placed together to obtain the star and cross design. [...] At the end of the 16th century the interest in figural designs increased again, and geometrical patterns gave way more and more to designs with, for example, animals and persons. By the middle of the 17th century ornamental designs only played a modest role in the total tile production. [...]

Carpets, tapestries and wallpapers
In common with tiles, carpets, tapestries and wallpaper are used to decorate walls and floors. Medieval tiled floors with a design in relief or inlay technique from the 12th and 13th centuries are often reminiscent of carpets. Rectangular areas of different patterns were laid adjacent to one another, separated by rows of plain tiles. These may have been inspired by Roman mosaics or by textile patterns. [...].


Best regards, Patricia Jansma
July 4th, 2011 01:57 PM
Chris Aquilo
Quote:
Originally Posted by Filiberto Boncompagni View Post
Bonjour Yohann,

Yeah, my estimate of 65% was VERY conservative.
Like rugs, paintings contained a lot of symbols. Eagles, lions and thrones are normally associated with power. Long-legged birds, I don’t know.
Let’s have a look at your Bestiary which is very interesting, by the way, thanks for the link.
Here is what I (quickly) found:

Herons - The white feathers signify purity

Lion - Thus our Saviour, a spiritual lion, of the tribe of Judah, the root of Jesse, the son of David, concealed the traces of his love in heaven until, sent by his father, he descended into the womb of the Virgin Mary and redeemed mankind, which was lost.

Eagle - The word 'eagle' in the Holy Scriptures signifies sometimes evil spirits, ravishers of souls; sometimes the rulers of this world. Sometimes, in contrast, it signifies either the acute understanding of the saints, or the Lord incarnate flying swiftly over the depths then seeking once more the heights.

The word 'eagle' represents those who lie in ambush for the spirit. This is confirmed by Jeremiah, who says: 'Our persecutors are swifter than the eagles of the heaven' (Lamentations, 4:19). For our persecutors are swifter than the eagles of heaven when wicked men do such things against us that they seem to exceed the very rulers of the air in their evil machinations.

The word 'eagle' also symbolises earthly power. Ezekiel says with reference to this: 'A great eagle with broad wings and long limbs, in full plumage, richly patterned, came to Lebanon. It took away the marrow of a cedar-tree, it plucked the highest foliage' (see Ezekiel, 17:3-4).


The usual problem with symbols – especially with the ones in rugs - is that they have so numerous meanings that is difficult to establish which one is the right one.
Regards,

Filiberto
Greetings and forgive my lack of understanding to textiles, i was unaware of this a few days back untill I found one of the most beautiful works of art I have ever seen. I was curious if you knew of any more meanings. My textile kilim ? or holbien rug ? (all I could find similar terms for this piece) Mine has some sort of weird representations of fish birds and such really awesome colors and crazy geometric patterns going on..

here are some pics:

http://s1081.photobucket.com/albums/j351/chr_stopher/

thanks in advance..

chris-
March 17th, 2011 11:43 PM
Yohann Gissinger
hide and seek, show and tell

Hello to all,

Just few words...

In one hand, acknowledge that one would feel very uncomfortable in trying to establish from a reliable source, at least one meaning of the simplest symbol from a rug or a kilim. The symbolic system has been transmitted in a restrictive way.

In the other hand, and at the opposite, concerning the symbolic medieval (+/-occidental) system there are numerous reliable informations, the interpretation of meanings can differs from a person to another of course, but the guidelines are there.

The difference between the XIII-XIVth century and nowaday's technique and knowledge is vertiginous!
At this time, most of the people didn't know how to read, but they were used to access some knowledge and understanding through symbols, there was a transmission utility for that system.

Regards,
Y
March 17th, 2011 03:05 PM
Pierre Galafassi "The usual problem with symbols – especially with the ones in rugs - is that they have so numerous meanings that is difficult to establish which one is the right one".

This, Filiberto, is of course very unusual in a fact-obsessed Rugdom were capillo-tracted theories and feuding experts are virtually unknown

Pierre
March 17th, 2011 09:14 AM
Filiberto Boncompagni Bonjour Yohann,

Yeah, my estimate of 65% was VERY conservative.
Like rugs, paintings contained a lot of symbols. Eagles, lions and thrones are normally associated with power. Long-legged birds, I don’t know.
Let’s have a look at your Bestiary which is very interesting, by the way, thanks for the link.
Here is what I (quickly) found:

Herons - The white feathers signify purity

Lion - Thus our Saviour, a spiritual lion, of the tribe of Judah, the root of Jesse, the son of David, concealed the traces of his love in heaven until, sent by his father, he descended into the womb of the Virgin Mary and redeemed mankind, which was lost.

Eagle - The word 'eagle' in the Holy Scriptures signifies sometimes evil spirits, ravishers of souls; sometimes the rulers of this world. Sometimes, in contrast, it signifies either the acute understanding of the saints, or the Lord incarnate flying swiftly over the depths then seeking once more the heights.

The word 'eagle' represents those who lie in ambush for the spirit. This is confirmed by Jeremiah, who says: 'Our persecutors are swifter than the eagles of the heaven' (Lamentations, 4:19). For our persecutors are swifter than the eagles of heaven when wicked men do such things against us that they seem to exceed the very rulers of the air in their evil machinations.

The word 'eagle' also symbolises earthly power. Ezekiel says with reference to this: 'A great eagle with broad wings and long limbs, in full plumage, richly patterned, came to Lebanon. It took away the marrow of a cedar-tree, it plucked the highest foliage' (see Ezekiel, 17:3-4).


The usual problem with symbols – especially with the ones in rugs - is that they have so numerous meanings that is difficult to establish which one is the right one.
Regards,

Filiberto
March 16th, 2011 07:49 PM
Yohann Gissinger No need to count you probably have 100% of christians scenes before 1500 and 65% or more with the virgin Mary after 1500, of course!

I noticed that when you have a throne/enthronement/coronation/king there are eagles or lions decorating the floor (whatever the support) and if the scene relates a virgin/Mary and her son/marriage the long legged birds appear...
How do you explain this other phenomenon ?

Regards,
Y.
March 16th, 2011 07:30 PM
Filiberto Boncompagni I don’t want to count them now, but so they are at least 65% of the other paintings in the database up to the 16th century.
With the Virgin Mary, I mean…
Regards,

Filiberto
March 16th, 2011 07:14 PM
Filiberto Boncompagni Yes, they are!
March 16th, 2011 06:35 PM
Yohann Gissinger Hello Filiberto,

"In Pierre’s database there are two other paintings of Sano di Pietro with the same carpet."

Are the two examples of Pierre database also related to a virgin/Maria?

Regards,
Yohann
March 16th, 2011 05:39 PM
Filiberto Boncompagni Hi Yohann,
Quote:
There's another hypothesis besides the tiles one: It's also possible that certain floor decorations in paintings are imaginary and in tight relation with the scene, only created for its symbolic system value.

Please, have another look at the "Lippo Memmi, Maria lactans,1340s, Staatliche Museen, Berlin" for example. Is there anything else than symbols in this scene?
Fact is that there are more examples of this kind of “carpets”.


Lippo Memmi, Maria lactans,1340s, Staatliche Museen, Berlin

Like this one



Giovanni di Paolo, Virgin with Child 1445, Detail MET New York

Or this



Sano di Pietro, Marriage of the Virgin, 1448 Vatican
And there's no doubt here: it's a representation of a carpet.

In Pierre’s database there are two other paintings of Sano di Pietro with the same carpet.

It is possible that Lippo Lemmi had invented it and the other two artists copied him but it seems improbable to me.

Pierre, the Spanish painting could be very well a tiled floor example.
And the specimen in the Pollaiolo’s work is very un-probable as a carpet, being made only by kufesque borders. I tend more to interpret it as an artist’s license though, like in this Vincenzo Foppa’s Virgin and Child, ca 1480



Where the horizontal border looks definitely wrong. Wronged by the painter or by the weaver? Or it was badly repaired? Who knows?
Regards,

Filiberto
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