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Old December 7th, 2011, 10:01 AM   #2
Pierre Galafassi
Join Date: Oct 2009
Posts: 80

Hi Filiberto,

Thank you for having discovered the author of the painting and this superb extant rug !
As stated by Mills, the beautiful border of the Chihil Sutun rug caught the eyes of several other renaissance painters. For example A. Mantegna in a famous fresco (1471-1474) of the Ducal Palace in Mantova. FIG 1 & 2 . below), T. D’Andria (1487. Duomo di Savona) or A. Previtali (1508. Annunciation. Vittorio Veneto).

Does Mills write anything about the red dye used in the Chihil Sutun rug? Does he perhaps mention lac (Kerria lacca)? This red insect dye has a typical shade, rather easy to differentiate from madder- or cochineal reds and is claimed to be a very rare occurrence in rugs, except on ( Cairene ) «Mamluk» carpets and sometimes on Safavid Persian pieces. Its presence (or not) could give a minor clue about the provenance of the rug.

By the way, while «Para-Mamluk» rugs were frequently used as studio props during the 14th and until well into the 15th century, I am a trifle puzzled by the conspicuous absence of so-called «Mamluk» rugs in paintings before 1540 M. da Brescia was perhaps the first to feature Mamluk rugs in "Daughters of the House of Martinengo" ca. 1543-1547 ).
Did the Ottoman not hang the last Mamluk ruler ca. 1515 or 1517? Do we have other proofs (C14 tests on extant rugs for example) that these «Mamluk» rugs were indeed woven during the Mamluk empire? Or should we rather call them «Cairene Ottoman rugs» or perhaps «Posthumous Mamluk rugs» ? Perhaps the explanation is that their traditional low-contrast patterns and subdued shades which did not appeal to most Italian painters nor to their patrons?
Best regards
Pierre Galafassi is offline   Reply With Quote