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A HIGHLY UNUSUAL SILK AND METAL-THREAD KOUM KAPI RUG
A HIGHLY UNUSUAL SILK AND METAL-THREAD KOUM KAPI RUG
A HIGHLY UNUSUAL SILK AND METAL-THREAD KOUM KAPI RUG
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A HIGHLY UNUSUAL SILK AND METAL-THREAD KOUM KAPI RUG
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This lot will be removed to Christie’s Park Royal.… Read more
A HIGHLY UNUSUAL SILK AND METAL-THREAD KOUM KAPI RUG

ISTANBUL, WEST ANATOLIA, CIRCA 1920

Details
A HIGHLY UNUSUAL SILK AND METAL-THREAD KOUM KAPI RUG
ISTANBUL, WEST ANATOLIA, CIRCA 1920
Of Ottoman velvet design, full silk pile throughout, a couple of small faint surface stains and minute restorations, overall good condition
6ft.4in. x 4ft.4in. (192cm. x 133cm.)
Special notice

This lot will be removed to Christie’s Park Royal. 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 below - these will apply whether the lot remains with Christie’s or is removed elsewhere. Please call Christie’s Client Service 24 hours in advance to book a collection time at Christie’s Park Royal. All collections from Christie’s Park Royal will be by pre-booked appointment only. Tel: +44 (0)20 7839 9060 Email: cscollectionsuk@christies.com. If the lot remains at Christie’s it will be available for collection on any working day 9.00 am to 5.00 pm. Lots are not available for collection at weekends.

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Behnaz Atighi Moghaddam
Behnaz Atighi Moghaddam

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Lot Essay

The knot count is approximately 9V x 9H per cm. sq.

The 'Koum Kapi' group of silk rugs were woven in Istanbul by Armenian weavers who settled in the area within the city walls of the same name, which translates as 'Sand Gate'. Following the efforts of two Armenians, Zara Agha and Apraham Agha at the very end of the 19th century, the first looms of what was to become the 'Koum Kapi' school were set up in Istanbul. The technical ability of their weavers and the fine quality of their materials, predominantly silk and metal-thread, resulted in a long tradition of excellence (George Farrow with Leonard Harrow, Hagop Kapoudjian, London, 1993, p.11). These weavers were greatly inspired by the masterpieces that surrounded them as residents of the spectacular Ottoman capital, including 16th century Persian Safavid carpets in the collection of the Imperial Treasury at the Topkapi Palace. Carpets, books and mosque decorations in the highly refined Ottoman court style that could be seen in the treasuries and mosques of the old city also served as inspiration, (Pamela Bensoussan, 'The Master Weavers of Istanbul', Hali 26, 1985, p.34).

This impressive silk and metal-thread Koum Kapi rug combines elements originally imported from luxurious Italian textiles but with motifs that are recognizably from the Ottoman decorative repertoire of the 16th and 17th centuries. At the turn of the 17th century the very best velvets were woven in the court ateliers of Bursa or Istanbul with the most attractive of all Bursa velvets bearing large-scale designs, where a floral or vegetal form is enclosed within, or flanked by, two large serrated leaves, see Nuhran Atasoy, Walter B Denny, Louise W. Mackie and Hulya Tezcan, Ipek, The Crescent and the Rose, 2001, p.308, fig.319. The depiction of serrated palmettes decorated with smaller floral motifs was very popular amongst the Bursa velvet weavers, and has been adopted by the Koum Kapi weavers on the present lot. For two closely related 17th century examples, see Atasoy, op.cit, figs.336 & 337. The former Ottoman ogival lattice design has been adapted further, into a more complex arrangement of interlinked arabesques on the present lot, but which retain the delicate chains of miniature flowerheads. By simulating the Ottoman velvet design, the Koum Kapi weaver has been required to use substantially more metal-thread in its design than is normally found on rugs from this group, which would have required greater technical ability on the part of the weaver, and considerably more money on the part of the individual who commissioned such a piece.

It has not been possible to find a direct comparable for this unique Koum Kapi rug and although unsigned, it was without question, woven in one of the master atelier in Istanbul where the great textile traditions and expertise of the Ottoman Empire continued in the twentieth century.


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