This most unusual rug shows great skill on the part of the weaver. The wool is tightly packed and of a good lustrous quality. The weaver, using the same technique for both, has managed to convey very angular forms such as the motifs in the upper and lower pendant lozenge medallions, yet also produce as delicately curved a line as can be found in Turkish weaving in the flaming panels coming in from each side. This gives the rug a remarkable counterpoint in the drawing, of a type which one rarely encounters. It is an extremely subtle rug which also defies easy categorisation.
The quadripartite form of the central medallion can be taken to derive from those of small medallion Ushak carpets, whose design in turn, as demonstrated by Walter Denny, derives from court design in Istanbul found in tiles in the Sünet Odasi in the Topkapi Palace Saray (Denny, Walter: The Classical Tradition in Anatolian Carpets, Washington D.C., 2002, fig.11, p.32). The radiating flames which surround the medallion appear to derive from the flaming surrounds of the larger sixteenth and seventeenth century medallion Ushak carpets. These can be found in a similar form on an Ushak village carpet advertised by the Textile Gallery (Hali, 64, August 1992, p.85).
The absence of outlining to most of the motifs, noted in the catalogue entry on its previous appearance, is very much not in the Ushak tradition. It is one of the distinguishing features of the rugs attributed to Karapinar in central Anatolia, originally defined by May Beattie ("Some Rugs of the Konya Region", Oriental Art, Spring 1976, pp.60-76). And indeed two medallions similar to those found here are also found on a Karapinar rug advertised by Eskenazi (Hali, 58, August 1991, p.61). That rug also has a somewhat cruder version of the same border as is found here.
In contrast to most Karapinar rugs, however, this is finer woven and with a great control of a curved line. The most unusual feature of all in this rug makes a virtue of this: the flaming side panels of concentric colours. These have no precise parallels in carpet literature, although there is a rug in Berlin which is attributed by Spuhler to "West Anatolia, 16th/17th century", which has double bands of blue and yellow similar lobed flames around the medallions (Sphuler, Friedrich: Oriental carpets in the Museum of Islamic Art, Berlin, Berlin, 1987, no.5, p.41 and pl.p.168). This Berlin rug has many design features which are associated with Karapinar weaving, and the Western Anatolian provenance is not argued in the catalogue. However the colours of the Berlin rug are not at all those that are found here, and would mitigate for a more westerly attribution in contrast to the present tones which are more usually associated with Central or Eastern Anatolia.
In the comment on this rug after its appearance in the New York sale, it was aptly suggested, in agreement with the original cataloguer, that the rug was very probably made by a Turkman weaver (Hali, 97, March 1998, p.133). Some of the small motifs are well within the Turkman repertoire. It certainly appears to be a rug which pulls together influences from various sources (the flame panels at the sides could well derive from Chinese textiles). These various elements have been combined in a very confident way, working harmoniously together. The technical virtuosity of the weave employed to create this rug is exceptional for an Anatolian village rug.