The knot count is approximately 11V x 11H per cm. sq.
The 'Koum Kapi' group of rugs were woven in Istanbul by Armenian weavers most of whom were based in that district, better known today for its fish. 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, mainly 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.
As our knowledge of the weavers of Istanbul who were based in the Koum Kapi district grows, so does our ability to attribute rugs to certain weavers other than those by the master weavers Zareh Penyamin or Hagop Kapoukjian. Worked within the metal thread ground of the central flowerhead on the rug's vertical axis from which the design eminates, there is a small stylised marking in kufic maze script that is similar to the signature of Zareh, however it appears to contain the letters sin (or shin) lower left, and jim (or kha or ha) which is generally acknowledged to be that of Avedis Tamishjian. This master weaver is known to have worked for the merchant Nuh'negi, having set up his workshop in the 1920's and was most commonly associated with designs illustrating animal combat scenes (P. Bensoussan, 'Turkish Workshop Carpets', HALI, Issue 26, April/May/June 1985, pp.34-41, esp.p.38). The design of counterposed palmettes on the present rug is taken almost directly from Isfahan carpets of the 16th century during the reign of Shah Abbas in Persia from whose name it is coined. Although this design is one that was used by both weavers, Zareh seems to have nearly always employed identical floral meander guard stripes, while Tamishjian has interpreted these in a somewhat more imaginative way. Interpreted in a rich palette of colours with great finesse and a high knot density, the present rug is certainly equivalent to that of the work of Zareh. A similar signed Tamishjian Koum Kapi rug of almost identical colouring but not quite as finely woven, was sold in these Rooms, 25 October, 2007, lot 103, and a further example with the same signature was sold in these Rooms, 11 October 1990, lot 13.
It is highly unusual to find examples of this quality and in this condition, so it can be considered particularly rare to have another signed example of equal quality in the following lot in this sale. Nearly identical to the present lot, it differs only in its use of a different coloured metal in its detailing, where here it is depicted in silver, there it is executed in gold.