Theodor Tuduc (1888-1983) was a Romanian carpet restorer who infamously created forgeries of classical carpets and was described by Kurt Erdmann as the best rug forger of the 20th century (Kurt Erdmann, Seven Hundred Years of Oriental Carpets, London, 1970, pp. 81-85). At the time many of his fakes were believed to be authentic and were acquired by a number of collectors and institutions, such as the Çintamani carpet bought by the Victoria and Albert Museum in 1933.
The design of the present lot is based on Spanish Armorial carpets such as the 16th-century ‘Carpet with phoenix’ in the Textile Museum, Washington D.C. (R44.3.2), that shares a very similar Latin inscription: VICTORIA DOCTIS, EXMEMET [IPSO] RENIASCOR which translates as; ‘Victory to the learned’, ‘From myself I am reborn’ (Murray L. Eiland, Jr. (ed.), A World of Oriental Carpets & Textiles, Washington, D.C., 2003, fig. 33, p. 35). A similar 16th-century carpet which also includes skull and crossed bones cartouches is in the Victoria and Albert Museum, London and published by Cornelia Bateman Faraday (European and American Carpets and Rugs, Woodbridge, 1990, pl. 27, p. 52). A Tuduc carpet with an almost identical arrangement to the present lot, although which substitutes the skulls and crossed bones for eagle blazons, is published by Stefano Ionescu (Handbook of Fakes by Tuduc (World’s most famous rug forger), Boston, 2010, p. 121) and sold in Rippon Boswell, Wiesbaden, 25 September 2010, lot 212 and a further example sold in Christie’s New York, 17 December 1993, lot 118.