The carpet offered here is a well executed example of an Oushak Medallion carpet, one of the largest and best known extant types of classical Turkish carpets. Beginning in the second half of the 16th century through the 18th century production of Oushak medallion type carpets flourished, reaching its apogee in the 17th century, with a gradual debasement of their quality in weaving, drawing and color by the end of the 18th century.
These carpets are distinguished by either an indigo or, more commonly, a red field with a delicate floral tracery in an opposing color centering an ogee pointed ovoid scalloped medallion with side flanking lobed half medallions all filled with split-leaf rumi and floral vinery. Oftentimes the central medallion is flanked along a longitudinal axis, by similar ovoid half or full medallions, as in our example.
The format of these carpets is very likely influenced by Persian medallion carpets, as the Ottoman Turks had easy access to them through their occupation of Tabriz, the main city where Persian carpets of the medallion type are believed to have been woven during the first half of the 16th century. However, the manifestation of these medallion prototypes is purely Turkish.
A similar example, from the same group of Oushak medallion carpets as ours, is in the Metropolitan Museum in New York (see Dimand, M.S. and Mailey, Jean, Oriental Rugs in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 1973, pg. 188, fig. 166). The treatment of the flanking lobed medallions complete with pendants and in two-thirds view in the Metropolitan example is very close in appearance to our example. The central medallion and its pendants are also similarly drawn as is the main border. It is not unlikely that these were produced in the same workshop and were perhaps part of a group that was a marketing success and copied frequently. Although the earliest and the best of the Oushak medallion carpets were woven for the Ottoman court, many were also woven for a receptive export market in Europe.