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Thread: What are those?
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Old March 11th, 2011, 03:30 PM   #4
Filiberto Boncompagni
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Cyprus
Posts: 92

As we saw in the thread “A contribution to the discussion of animal rugs” (by the way, excellent work, guys) the use of zoomorphic repertory on several forms of mediums was quite widespread in East and West. But there was a change in Europe:
Beyond these loans of Eastern bestiary, a double evolution occurred in the Middle Age.
The bestiary grows with several newcomers (the siren-fish, the unicorn). The medieval animal is initially perceived with its symbolic and allegorical dimension. This symbolic system can be profane: the Middle Age sees a growing importance of the heraldic animal, (like the three passing leopards on the coat of arms of English kings), for example. But the medieval bestiary is mainly a Christian bestiary et cetera
These representations became stylized heraldic designs. The use of coat of arms actually became fashionable: it spread from lords and knights to ecclesiastical dignities, burghers and commoners. It wasn’t limited to persons either, because it was adopted by states, towns, cities, even districts (at least in Italy) and as corporate logos for guilds.
Hence, in my opinion, the style of some of the rugs in “animal paintings” is so European that makes me thinks they were of western production.
It could be the case of Benozzo Gozzoli's Annunciation (FIG 20)

so close to the Spanish Alpujarra rug:

An excellent channel for Spanish rugs in Italy was the Spanish court of Naples and its relations to the other Italian courts, often by marriage – like with the Sforza of Milan, the Gonzaga of Mantua and the D’Este of Ferrara.

Also rugs like FG11:

let me highly suspicious.
At first I thought that Gaddi’s representation of the rug wasn’t credible. The fringe was on the wrong side but, given the direction of the composition, it appears to be a rug that has been cut – unless the non-visible part was rolled behind the counter. And there are visible rows of knots, so, it’s a believable and coherent representation of a knotted rug.
But the lack of borders, the heraldic stylization of the motifs, and especially the heraldic “Cross Potent”

(see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cross_potent)
- or perhaps it’s a version of the “Jerusalem Cross” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cross_of_Jerusalem), makes me doubt of this being an Anatolian Seljuk rug.
I say Seljuk because it’s commonly acknowledged that Anatolian rugs must have been Seljuk.
More on the subject after I read a John Mills’ article Pierre promised to send me.


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