This is a most unusual variant on the normal "Lotto" design which is only known on one other rug, an example formerly in the Wilhelm von Bode Collection (Hali, 29, January-March 1986, p.90; Erdmann, Kurt: Seven Hundred Years of Oriental Carpets, London, 1970, pl.58, p.59, unfortunately without the lower end). The von Bode rug has a most unusual border which links it to the very rare group of white ground carpets with çintamani field designs (Rageth, J/uurg: "A Selendi Rug", Hali 98, May 1998, pp.84-91). The inclusion of the blue panels completely changes the rhythm of the design, resulting in a clearly two-centred field rather than one where there is an overall interplay. This focus on two panels is also emphasised in the present rug by the way the edges of the yellow design in the field are drawn. It is done is such a way that the eye does not dream that this is a section of a repeat design; it stands on its own. This also serves to emphasise the fact that the Lotto design is of course made up of alternating octagonal and cruciform medallions, in a similar way to the Small-pattern Holbein design.
This separation out of the design is also what is observable on the two Small Pattern Holbein rugs mentioned in the note to lot 200, in Budapest and Philadelphia. It appears to be a feature of a weaving centre which produced variants on the classic Turkish rugs as noted by Grant-Ellis in his discussion of the Philadelphia piece (Ellis, Charles Grant: Oriental Carpets in the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, 1988, no.5, pp.19-21). Such a centre appears to have been working through the seventeenth century. The present rug, with its various smaller motifs in the field coupled with the drawing of the main border design was probably made in the second half of that century.
While the Lotto design was immensely popular for the whole of the sixteenth and much of the seventeenth centuries, there are remarkably few variations made in this period, with the exception of the three basic main design options. This is specifically noted by Erdmann in his discussion of Lotto carpets (Erdmann, op.cit, pp.57-60). Colour is very rarely changed from the normal yellow and red. Erdmann only noted two examples with blue fields, one in the McMullan Collection (McMullan, Joseph V.: Islamic Carpets,. New York, 1965, no.74, pp.244-5) and one in a Dutch collection. Occasionally also the field design is coloured other than wholly yellow, the best example being a large carpet in the Berlin Musuem (Spuhler, Friedrich: Oriental Carpets in the Museum of Islamic Art, Berlin, Berlin, 1988, no.7, pp.32-33, ill.p.150), while another is in the Alexander Collection (Alexander, Christopher: A Foreshadowing of 21st Century Art, New York and Oxford 1993, pp.216-220). To have less than ten colour variants out of at least five hundred examples of the design (Erdmann, op.cit., p.60) is remarkable.