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Go Back   Turkotek Discussion Forums > Rugs and Old Masters: An Essay Series > 2. Geometric Rugs in Early Renaissance Paintings > MET Carpet Fragment

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March 5th, 2013 05:46 PM
Pierre Galafassi Hi Filiberto,

That's strange, yes, but one can safely assume that the MET owns a much larger data bank than us, mere "dilettanti".

The carpet which you illustrated was published in the catalog of the 314th Fritz Nagel Auction, 1986, # 3330. They attributed indeed the rug to the Afshar, end of XIX or early XX century. Their comment (loosely translated from German by your servant) is interesting, although it rather further increases the viscosity of the molasses: "At first sight, the strongly personal abstract field motif ....is reminiscent of the complex motifs of the Morgi clan of the Afshar.....Apparentl y the artfully imbricated motif represents simplified animals..". Nagel's expert sees also a strong analogy with two thirteenth century rugs published by Erdman in his "Geschichte des frühen türkischen Teppich", one was attributed to Konya (FIG 4) and the other is a fragment found at Beysehir (FIG 9).
I don't own Erdman's book and can't check it, but perhaps these rugs induced the MET to attribute a Turkish passport to its own fragment?
Anyway, this Caucaso-Perso-Turko-Mudejar rug, is superb isn't? I 'd love to own it.
Best regards
P.S. Congrats for your outstanding visual memory.
March 4th, 2013 02:48 PM
Filiberto Boncompagni Hi Pierre,

The strange thing is that MET’s web page says The interlocking hooked motifs (probably stylized vines), in particular, connect it to later carpets from western Anatolia.
I checked my copy of Uwe Jordan’s book “Turchi” and your database that has more than 500 examples of Turkish carpets: I didn’find a single example of this motif.

And Stone mentions only Caucasus and Persia in relation to it.

So, I had also a look at the Persian database. There I was luckier, I found this Afshar (Persian.Afshar.13.X IX.149X124.N314.jpg)

out of around 390 image. Here the motif is in the field.


March 4th, 2013 12:16 PM
Pierre Galafassi Bravo, George!
That leaves the origin of this motif (or at least the place were this rug was woven), wide open:
Anatolia ?, Caucasus ? (At the date of the painting the Black Sea was still easily accessible to Venetian / Genoan ships and Caucasian rugs could easily have been imported from there, via Trebzond or Tana) or Spain / Aragon (given the nationality of the painter and the claim by experts that Mudejar weavers frequently opted for yellow field backgrounds).

Best regards
March 3rd, 2013 12:28 PM
George Potter Pierre, found one:

/ George
March 2nd, 2013 04:05 PM
Pierre Galafassi Indeed, it could be identical.
I'll try to find a better view of Martorell's painting.
March 1st, 2013 11:08 AM
Filiberto Boncompagni Hi George,

The image has a very low resolution, but I think you are right!


March 1st, 2013 10:46 AM
George Potter Noticed that fig. 61 of the Salon has the same border. B. Martorell, 1437-1442, St. Peter’s altar, Girona. Spain.

/ George
February 20th, 2013 08:11 AM
Filiberto Boncompagni
Can the Veramin attribution of your sample be challenged?
I have no idea. That’s why I copied in my last post Stone’s references to the rug: I was hoping that someone with access to them would come and enlighten us.

About the possible Caucasian origin of the fragment, that’s the classical one million dollars question, isn’t it?

Thank you again for bringing the MET fragment up!


February 19th, 2013 10:11 PM
Pierre Galafassi
Originally Posted by George Potter View Post
Hmm…, please elaborate because you lost me.
To me the design in the fragment seems to derive more from a floral origin, if not I would put my bet on birds.
/ George
Oh, never mind George, I tend to see dragons everywhere lately
February 19th, 2013 08:26 PM
George Potter Pierre:

Hmm…, please elaborate because you lost me.

To me the design in the fragment seems to derive more from a floral origin, if not I would put my bet on birds.

It is also difficult to determine the date of the MET fragment and the Anatolian fragment, both in time and design.


Thank you for the Stone reference. I have the same book but completely missed the design. Interesting that the design is horizontal in the field and not vertical, the vertical is more common. Can the Veramin attribution of your sample be challenged? Looking through my literature (which is scant) the design of the fragment, through your guidance, seems firmly based in Caucasia. If this could be affirmed by research (guesstimation), and the MET fragment is C14 dated, it would be the oldest affirmed weaving from Caucasia and could also question many Anatolian affirmed attributions.

Am I am aiming too high?

/ George
February 18th, 2013 04:25 PM
Pierre Galafassi Hi George and Filiberto,

The fragment below, given as Anatolian, XV century, could be seen as a parent of the MET fragment and Stones' rug: a field fully covered with a unique small motif, which could be inspired by a beast (dragon ?) too.

Anatolia. 15th century. Turkish handwoven Carpets. Vol. 1
best regards
February 18th, 2013 01:14 PM
Filiberto Boncompagni P.S. - Stone adds some references to his plate P-87, the one that portrays the field of the above rug:

Christie’s East Oriental Rugs and Carpets, June1981, pl. 124
Craycraft, Michael, Oriental Rug Review, vol. 9, no. 6, p. 15 Stone Collection
Tanavoli, Parviz, Hali, no. 106, p. 93
February 18th, 2013 10:56 AM
Filiberto Boncompagni Hi George,

There is another image in Stone’s book that I have overlooked. “Varamin rug” page 224

Obviously a design, not a photo. For that, ask Mr. Stone.


February 17th, 2013 03:09 PM
Filiberto Boncompagni Silly of me! Also "Motif C-99" has the inward beaks!
February 17th, 2013 03:05 PM
Filiberto Boncompagni About the "beaks" direction: I am looking at the plate of a Kuba rug with beaks bent inward, like in the fragment. But I have put away the scanner so you have to trust my word for it.
February 17th, 2013 02:50 PM
Filiberto Boncompagni Hi Pierre,

The “eagle’s beak” border is not exactly the same motif of the MET fragment (notice the “beaks” are bent outward). In “Tribal & Village Rugs” Stone put it in the Shirvan section but I think I saw it on rugs of other areas of Caucasus. Perhaps it’s more prevalent in Shirvan.
Similar versions are also used in Persia. See the following scan from Stone’s book.


February 17th, 2013 01:45 PM
Pierre Galafassi Hi Filiberto,

Indeed, that's it!
Is this design specific for the Shirvan area?
February 16th, 2013 06:59 PM
George Potter Pierre,

I agree with you it is hard to place this fragment to anything extant. The second example in your post shows a rug that probably has a border like the centre. Rugs with a main border through-out are quite common, but the ones I have seen have the border in the field horizontally.


Spot on. The border of the Shirvan would probably have derived from something like the border of the fragment, very interesting.

I do not know if it is a European thing expecting curators to be accessible, but I am unable to reach any curator through email at the MET to ask if the fragment is C14 dated or dated from archaeology or if it is dated because the elements in the fragment are enclosed with brown so common in early rugs from Anatolia.

/ George
February 16th, 2013 05:10 PM
Filiberto Boncompagni Hi George,

Thank you very much!

Pierre, what about the border of this Shirvan?

The border is generally called “eagle’s head” or “eagle’s beak” and it’s a classical Caucasian border.


February 15th, 2013 08:16 PM
Pierre Galafassi Hi George

Puzzling fragment. I haven’t seen any extant rug with this kind of pattern or even anything close.
With a lot of positive thinking, one could perhaps see a very vague analogy with the borders of the two (younger) rugs below.

Bergama, seventeeth century.

Anatolia, sixteenth or seventeenth century, F. Spuhler, Die Orientteppiche im Museum für islamische Kunst, Berlin.

Or with the field of some (older) Seldjuk rugs, albeit with a fully different palette.

Best regards
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