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Thread: What are those?
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Old March 22nd, 2011, 04:49 PM   #29
Filiberto Boncompagni
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Cyprus
Posts: 83

Hi Yohann,

Do you mean, they already started outsourcing to China on these days?
Thanks for the link – and what about the Kyoto carpets of Figure 8 and 9, with those pseudo-Kufic borders?

Anyway… Pierre found a John Mills’ article from ICOC 1998.
I’ll quote parts of it:
The Early Animal Carpets Revisited
John Mills

The early animal carpets - and I prefer to call them that
rather than Anatolian animal carpets, which begs the
question as to whether they are in fact all Anatolian -
remain a fascinating if frustrating topic, mainly because
some of the design groups are known to us only through paintings
rather than in surviving examples. In the more than twenty years
since I last published on the subject there have been some
remarkable discoveries, above all of the ’animal within animal' type
discussed in Daniel Walker's paper of which no fewer than three
specimens have appeared, all of them coming out of Tibet. With
other types we are no further forward since then and not much
further forward since Erdmann published his long and pioneering
papers on them in 1929 and 1942. In my 1978 paper [Mills, J.,
‘Early animal carpets in western paintings-a review', Hali vol. 1
no. 3 (1978). 234-243] I grouped
the rugs simply by design motifs but suggested other ways in
which they could be divided up and this is how I shall treat them
now. Some of these groups need no more than a mentio, while I
shall discuss the largest and most enigmatic group more fully.

I come now to my main group, which I shall call the 'large
borderless carpets'. They show a number of designs, not all
animal, but they share so many other characteristics that one may
surely lump them all together. These characteristics are:
• Nearly all appear in Sienese paintings
• They are all placed on the floor
• Most are too large to have been made in one piece
• They have no borders, the field simply stopping at the edges
• They are of very coarse texture with clearly indicated
rows of knots or loops
• Mostly in yellow and red
These carpets may in turn be subdivided into a number of design

Where did these 'large borderless carpets' come from? Are
they Anatolian animal rugs as it has been customary to assume
or are they, as it seems to me, another kind entirely? Nothing
known survives of them, yet l still hope for the day when
some fragment will emerge, perhaps, from the vestry, or the
bottom of some storage chest, of some small Italian church.
Then at last we will know in what technique they are made,
for the Coarse linear texture so insisted upon by the artists
invites speculation. I once suggested that they were possibly

loop-pile weavings though now it seems to me that their large size
makes this less likely. In a recent repeat of this talk to the Oriental
Rug and Textile Society of GB several possibilities were discussed
(various kinds of flatweaves; North African carpets with their
multiple wefts) but the most suggestive was one that had
sometimes occurred to me but which I had not dared to voice,
namely that they were made in the technique of reed screens.
When detail slides are projected they do look astonishingly like
these. especially that in Sano's altarpiece ( Fig. 11). If this is so then
the likelihood of anything surviving would seem to be minimal.
This is the subject of Mills’ Fig.11 – the best I can do unless Pierre provides me with a better scan:

Sano di Pietro, altarpiece Madonna and Child Enthroned with Saints,
mid 15th C. detail. The Collegiata, San Quirico d' Orcia, Italy. The 'two birds
and a tree' design here alternate with a non-animal pattern on an unusually
small carpet.


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