By the middle of the seventeenth century Smyrna (Izmir), the Western Anatolian port on the Agean Sea, had become one of the most important trading centres in Asia Minor (Onno Ydema, Carpets and their Datings in Netherlandish Paintings, 1540-1700, Zutphen, 1991, p.51). The so-called Smyrna carpets were produced for the export market under the direct supervision of the Dutch (Werner Grote-Hasenbalg quoted in Alberto Boralevi, Oriental Geometries, Livorno, 1999, p.86). Smyrna carpets have been depicted in 17th Century Dutch Paintings and all the 18th Century examples depict the carpet having a green or yellow field colour (Onno Ydema, op.cit, p.53).
The rug offered here has well proportioned palmettes, rosettes and lanceolate leaves in a continuous polychrome rosette border. A similar rug of slightly smaller proportions which has the same border and inner stripe, is in the Ballard Collection (James F. Ballard, Catalogue of Oriental Rugs in the Collection of James F. Ballard, Indiana, 1924, p.162, No.87). The field design most commonly used is a single or double column, as seen in the present lot, of large-scale palmettes. The same double columned field but with a different border, can be found on a previous example sold in these Rooms, Davide Halevim Magnificent Carpets and Tapestries, 14 February, 2001, lot 52. An example of the single column field but with the same border as the present lot and the Ballard rug was sold in these Rooms, 18 October, 2001, lot 85. A further fragmentary example of the single column field is in the Bardini Collection (Alberto Boralevi, Geometrie d'Oriente Stefano Bardini e il Tappeto Antico, Florence, 1999, p.89, pl.28).