A SMALL MEDALLION USHAK RUG
VARIOUS PROPERTIES
A SMALL MEDALLION USHAK RUG

WEST ANATOLIA, EARLY 17TH CENTURY

Details
A SMALL MEDALLION USHAK RUG
WEST ANATOLIA, EARLY 17TH CENTURY
Even overall wear, corroded black, some repairs and associated repiling
6ft.6in. x 4ft. (198cm. x 122cm.)

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Jason French
Jason French

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Lot Essay

It is difficult to draw comparisons with the present rug as the design does not seem to appear exactly on any other carpet. The drawing of the central lozenge medallion is shared with an example in The Textile Museum, Washington (Louise W. Mackie, The Splendour of Turkish Weaving, Washington, 1973, no.36, p.36); The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (M.S. Dimand and J. Mailey, Oriental Rugs in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 1973, no.81, p.224), together with the Ballard rug (James F. Ballard, Catalogue of Oriental Rugs in the Collection of James F. Ballard, St. Louis, 1924, no.71). They do not however have the flanking, floating arrowheads to either side, or the elaborately sinuous cloudbands above and below, as seen in the present lot. The linked dark green spandrels on our rug are another unusual feature. On most examples the spandrels suggest the possibility that they may be quarter sections from larger repeat medallions. This is not the case in the present rug where the spandrels also connect along both lengths of the field, with their deep green colouration throwing the rich tomato-red field into even greater relief.

Similarly, the border design of rotating inverted red arrow heads enclosing paired hooked blue arabesques, is highly unusual and is not part of the canon of designs used within the earlier 16th century double-niche rugs. The compartment-like arrangement of geometric designs appears to stem from a much more open design that appears on a white ground border of a rug that was part of the Christopher Alexander collection described as a 'Whirling Leaf Border', and is discussed by him at length (Christopher Alexander, A Foreshadowing of 21st Century Art, The Color and Geometry of Very Early Turkish Carpets, New York and Oxford, 1993, p.202), as well as another fragmentary rug in his collection (op.cit., p.249), and an orange ground rug from Divrigi (Belkis Balpinar and Udo Hirsch, Carpets, Vakiflar Museum Istanbul, Wesel, 1988, no.28, pp.88 & 233). It appears in a slightly debased version as a field design on a 17th century rug in the Museum of Applied Arts, Budapest, drawn on an orange ground duller than that of the Alexander border (Ferenc Batári, Ottoman Turkish Carpets, Budapest, 1994, no.23, p.118). It also formed the main field design on the ivory ground of a very large and somewhat strange 16th or 17th century carpet, which came up for sale at Sotheby's London, 20 April 1983, lot 129. Its descendant even makes an appearance on a blue ground early 19th century Caucasian rug (E. Heinrich Kirchheim et al., Orient Stars: A Carpet Collection, London, 1993, pl.17, p.51). The rotational movement on both the white bordered Alexander rug and the present lot is evident, but has become even more successful on ours due to the tight draughtsmanship and bolder motifs of our cartoon. Most likely woven at the very beginning of the 17th century, the present rug embodies many great design elements portrayed through a robust and vibrant palette.

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