• Oriental Rugs and Carpets auction at Christies

    Sale 11939

    Oriental Rugs and Carpets

    18 October 2016, London, King Street

  • Lot 102




    Extensively worn throughout, some associated repiling and scattered repairs, a couple of surface stains, a few holes, some loss to either end
    14ft.3in. x 12ft.11in. (434cm. x 394cm.)

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    In the years following the annex of Egypt into the Ottoman Empire in 1517, carpet production from the region underwent a clear design shift. Weavers from the Ottoman court nakkashhane (atelier) brought with them new patterns including spring flowers, palmettes and leafy floral vinery in all over and medallion compositions, replacing the geometric formalism of Mamluk carpets previously in production in Cairo. An exemplar of the Ottoman preference for decorative organic forms is the exquisite mid-16th century prayer rug in the Metropolitan Museum of Applied of Applied Arts, Vienna (Angela Völker, Die orientalischen Knüpfteppiche im MAK, Vienna, 2001, no.6, p.55). This inevitably expanded the Mamluk palette of just three or five colours and marked a departure from the earlier geometric drawing to the increasingly organic forms now synonymous with Cairene production. A group of carpets which mark the transitional period between these two phases of carpet weaving display a floral lattice field design but were executed with a Mamluk palette and regularity of drawing; an example with a faint central medallion is in the Textile Museum, Washington D.C. (Ernst Kühnel, Cairene Rugs and Others Technically Related, Washington D.C., 1957, pl.XXII) and one without a medallion is in the Lenbachhaus, Munich (http://www.rugtracker.com/2013/01/from-city-victorious.html). Carpets displaying the endless repeat field design of our carpet are more frequently seen with a superimposed central medallion and four quarter medallions in each corner as seen in the previous lot in the present sale, and a further example in remarkably good condition sold in these Rooms, 21 April 2015, lot 50. Two comparable Cairene carpets without these medallions and a similarly square layout to the present lot, yet substantially smaller in scale, were offered in Christie’s New York, 16 December 1994, lot 198 and Sotheby’s New York, 4 October 1994, lot 85. It is more common to find these examples woven in small rug format; two sold in these Rooms, Davide Halevim: Magnificent Carpets and Tapestries, 14 February 2001, lots 25 and 113 and a further three sold in these Rooms, 1 May 2003, lots 29, 30 and 31.

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    Specified lots (sold and unsold) marked with a filled square not collected from Christie’s by 5.00 pm on the day of the sale will, at our option, be removed to Cadogan Tate. Christie’s will inform you if the lot has been sent offsite. Our removal and storage of the lot is subject to the terms and conditions of storage which can be found at Christies.com/storage and our fees for storage are set out in the table. These will apply whether the lot remains with Christie’s or is removed elsewhere. If the lot is transferred to Cadogan Tate, it will be available for collection from 12 noon on the second business day following the sale. If the lot remains at Christie’s it will be available for collection on any working day 9.00am to 5.00pm. Lots are not available for collection at weekends.