• Christies auction house James Christie logo

    Sale 2006

    Oriental Rugs And Carpets Including Property From The Doris Duke Collection And The Newport Restoration Foundation

    3 June 2008, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 31



    Price Realised  


    Early 17th Century
    The center recomposed from original pieces of the carpet
    Approximately 19 ft. 5 in. x 14 ft. 10 in. (592 cm. x 452 cm.)

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    Warp: cotton, white, natural, Z3S, handspun, thick
    Weft: cotton, Z1, thin, white, natural, handspun, 1 shoot
    Pile: wool, Z3S, symmetric knots, no alternate warp depression, H3½xV4 per sq. in.. Some areas of offset knotting
    Sides: 2 bundles of 2 body warps, each, wrapped lavender-brown, Z1 wool
    Ends: top: 1 in. dark blue Z1 wool plainweave, bottom: 1 in. wool Z1 plainweave in dark blue and lavendar-brown

    Although very little is known about early pile weaving in Spain and Portugal, it is unquestionable that this unusual carpet is an Iberian product. However, several factors lead us to believe that this spectacular and incomparable carpet was made in Portugal.

    First of all, the use of a straightforward symmetrical knot discounts a Spanish attribution as Spanish carpets from this period employed a Spanish knot which is tied on a single warp and staggered on adjacent warps. Further, design elements displayed in this carpet are kindred to Portuguese Arraiolos needleworks. The thick vinery with simplified palmettes, the decorative diamond devices in the innermost border and the rampant lions in the lower field are all motifs similar to those found in Arraiolos examples (see Baptista de Oliveira, F., História e Técnica dos Tapetes de Arraiolos, Lisbon, 1991).

    The most curious feature of this carpet is the unconventional use of a Spanish coat of arms with another in pretense in the center. In general, it is very rare to find an armorial or a coat of arms in any carpet from any culture. The inscription translates to: CAPTAIN LOPE DE MEJIA IN CANARIAS, YEAR MDXCIX .... Little is recorded about a Captain Lope de Mejia in the Canary Islands and the year, 1599, is presumably not the date when the carpet was woven but refers more to Captain Lope de Mejia or his coat of arms.


    Anonymous, Parke-Bernet Galleries New York, 16-17 May, 1958, lot 394.

    Pre-Lot Text

    Known as one of the most discerning collectors of the 20th Century, Doris Duke displayed both her passion and expertise for Oriental and Islamic Art by filling her homes with the finest examples of these works. The result was a museum-quality collection representing the full spectrum of fine and decorative arts of the Orient. The group of carpets offered here demonstrates Miss Duke's astute eye as it represents fine and interesting examples of their types as well as the geographical and stylistic range of carpet production. Leading the group is the renowned Isfahan Carpet, circa 1600, with esteemed provenance most notably Mrs. Grace Rainey Rogers. Alongside this sophisticated carpet, tribal carpets are also represented by the exceptional Yomut main carpet. In addition to these traditional collecting areas, Miss Duke demonstrated her eclectic interest in the entire range of carpet production as shown by the unique Appliqäe rug offered here.

    This group of carpets was part of Miss Duke's collection in her Newport, Rhode Island home, Rough Point, which was built in the late 19th century by Frederick W. Vanderbilt in the Gothic style. Later, Rough Point became part of the Newport Restoration Foundation which Miss Duke established to preserve the 19th century architecture of Newport, Rhode Island. Today, Rough Point continues to showcase Miss Duke's exceptional collection and organizes exhibits to allow the public to see even more of her beloved fine and decorative arts. The proceeds of the sale will benefit the collections and conservation fund of the Newport Restoration Foundation and the deaccession is in accordance with the AAM collections ethics policy. More information on Rough Point can be found on the Newport Restoration Foundation website at www.newportrestoration.org.