"Spanish" Carpets Pre 1492
This carpet from Gantzhorn is said to be the oldest example of Spanish knotting (according to him) and from a private collection.Gantzhorn claims that the design is Armenian and attributable to the 11th cent.,based upon it's resemblance to illuminated manuscript.I don't believe it, looks typical Andalusian to me, and the particulars of the geometrics seem common to all cultures which make use of geometrics..
Medallions figure prominently in the repetoir of Moroccan design,and the quatrefoil in the outer border is near to the quatrefoil on the Aknif and rug (below) at the conclusion of the salon. A precursor of the Large Pattern Holbein?
Perhaps this carpet from the Vakiflar Carpet Museum is related to the one above. Gantzhorn attributes to the 12th cent., and the design to Armenia. The wheel medallion is ubiquitous in Moroccan artistry, as this link will attest?Stamp
Andalusian carpet from the Textile Museum. Copy or precursor of the Small Pattern Holbein?
Another Small Pattern precursor?
Arts and weaving
In his introduction to The Christian Oriental Carpet, Gantzhorn cites Ibn
Haukal in stating that
"outside of the Orient knotted-pile carpets(mahfur) were produced in Andalusia in the 10th century and that these resembled the best of the very expensive Armenian knotted carpets"."The production center was located in the city of Murcia, in Tantala and Alsh. This is the area of the Greek colony of Hemeroskopeion,which was later to become the western Gothic province of Theodemir. As the Province of Todmir, this area was able to maintain it's independence and it's bishopric seat even under the Umayyaden".
Where Ibn Haukal ends and Gantzhorn begins is left to the reader since notes are absent, but this passage serves to establish that there existed an accomplished weaving industry in this region of the world, which, given the history of this civilization should come as no suprise, for the Spanish Umayyads lived luxoriously, the subject of one of Shirazad's Tales of Arabian Nights.
Of more recent vintage are the Nasrids and the Alhambra,
completed in 1354.The following is of Dr Du Ry's Art Of Islam.
"Among the pearls of architecture is the palace of Granada, built by two generations of the Nasrid dynasty,which acquired the name Alhambra, the Red, from the color of the bricks of which it's outer walls are built.Strict adherence to the particular architectural
principals of former styles as abandoned, probably less by desire of the builders than the patrons. It is as if a selection had been made from old familiar architectural forms of what would best fulfill the wish for a luxurious and commodious palace, and which would,at the same time,be a work of art. All kinds of decorative elements are brought into play with extrordinary skill and refinement, but it is in the work on a grand scale,such as blind niches,the domed roofs with their honeycomb of stalactite vaulting, and the diverse forms of columns, that the architects
of the Alhambra showed their greatest qualities. Furthermore, is seems as if the designers wished to give a place in the palace to all the decorative elements known from the past ( the Abbasid,Fatimid,and the Seljuk periods) and from contemporary styles(Mamluk and Mongol).
Together with the arabesque,which plays an important part,there are rosettes,palmettes,trefoils,lancet shapes,cornucopias,
twining tendrils, plants and flowers. Nor was script decoration omitted. In addition to Kufic,which had declined in popularity with
the passing of the Umayyads, a new flowing script, similar to Naskhi and known in this region as Maghribi, had come into existence.This was not,however,used in architecture,where Naskhi continued to be employed".
Dr.Du Ry continues on textiles of this region.
"In the twelfth century, the textile industry soared to great heights, and Arab historians refer to the existence of eight hundred weaving mills in Almeria alone. A few fragments of silk or embroidered work made between the tenth and thirteenth centuries have been preserved in various public collections.
The motifs are not quite the same as in other artistic products. In addition to the Umayyad patterns to which the designers had clung for many years,there are also sphinxes, men subduing lions, and animals in combat- themes that we already know from the works in the Abbasid manner made in the Seljuk period of the Ayyubids".
"In the fifteenth century, the Mudejars distinguished themselves in brocade weaving, the decoration being mainly limited to heraldic emblems and geometric figures. During the time of the Nasrids,carpet factories were set up, and it was here that the earliest european carpets were made. Fragments were found at Fustat in Egypt.Designs of geometric figures and Kufic characters in red,blue,green, and brown appear against a background
of grey.In the fifteenth century, carpets in the Mudejar style were made in which the surface was divided into diamond shapes, with octagonal "Turkish" motifs appearing on a blue ground".
Utility of the Spanish Knot?
All- I discovered this collection of photos of the Alhambra.
This could be the end of the mystery concerning tyhe Spanish knot
and it's suspect use in producing carpets of finer weave and patternAlhambra Patterns
A Refined Culture
Greetings Everyone- This photo of some marble work in the Alhambra is just to indicate the astounding quality of artistry achieved by this civilization. The photos in the above link are a must see for the uninitiated, as they represent the heights of artistic achievement. These are large high resolution photographs, and some of this stuff is just amazing- especially not to be missed is the link at the top of the page which leads to the Muqarna ceilings, composed entirely of stalactite and resembling clouds.
Imagine the type of weaving cultuire which could have evolved along the same lines. Note the use of this Islamic script border- everywhere- mirrored in the borders of the earliest carpets from Turkey? - Dave
All- While touring the remains of tha palace ruins in Marrakech, I remember
reading a plaque stating that the marble entranceway to the palace was removed
to the north and used to build, if memory serves me, the Alhambra. This would
make some of this marble work a couple centuries older than the Alhambra, and
possibly made in Marrakech. Below is a portal to the souks of Marrakech,
seemingly done in the same style as the Alhambra-Dave
Note on Dyes
All- A quote from Gantzhorn:
The widest distribution was enjoyed by Kermococcus vermilio, the "oreintal kermes", whose larva live above ground on the Kermes oak. Already in the 8th century Djahiz mentions the three main dispersal areas of that time: the Maghrib, Andalusia and Tarum in Fars. This latter statement is footnoted to p.65 of R.B. Serjeant's Islamic Textiles- Material for a History up to the Mongol Conquest (Beirut:1972).
Moroccan Tile Pattern
All- This large scale pattern is synonomous with Morocco and is seen
everywhere. I believe it may well have inspired, or has in turn been inspired
by, an artistic sense native to north Africa. It is similar to both large scale
holbien, Mudjar wheel, and Mamluk carpets with it's central medallion and like
dimunitive satellites.- Dave