Carpet thumbnail 1
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Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
Medieval & Renaissance, Room 64, The Wolfson Gallery

Carpet

1550-1600 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

This fragment is from the border of a large carpet with a sophisticated design. The pattern in the wide, central band of the border includes different types of flowerheads. Many of these are recognisable varieties, such as rose, hyacinth, carnation and tulip. This type of pattern was developed after 1500 by artists working for sultans of the Ottoman dynasty (ruled about 1300–1924) in Istanbul, which was their capital after 1453. Carpets of this kind are therefore called Ottoman court carpets.

Although the original carpet was in a court style and was of high quality, we do not know that it was made specifically for the sultan or his court. Once such designs had been developed, they were often used in carpet production for a wider market, both within the Ottoman empire and abroad.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Wool, knotted pile
Brief Description
Fragment of an Ottoman Court Style carpet, 16th century
Physical Description
Fragment of an Ottoman Court Style carpet (lower border and lower left-hand corner of the field).

WARP: Green wool; S4Z; 24 threads per inch (96 per dm); depressed.

WEFT: Cream wool; S spun, unplied, 2 parallel threads in one shoot and 3 in the other; 2 shoots after each row of knots; 12 knots per inch (46 per dm).

PILE: Wool; 8 (7?) colours: dark red, yellow, green, light green, light blue, black, white (may originally have been very light blue); asymmetrical knot tied around 2 threads and open to the left; 144 knots per sq. inch (2208 per sq. dm).

DESIGN:

Field: Less than 5" (12.5 cm) remains. It seems to have a dark red ground with light green tiger stripes with yellow infill. There are bands of single alternately white or blue balls between the bands of stripes. At the left-hand side is part of a quarter medallion in the corner, with five concentric quarter circles and beyond, part of a broad blue band edged in white with blossoms and leaves.

Main border: Incomplete on left-hand side. Deep border with dark red ground with outward facing design. The lower border contains three lobed compartments and part of a fourth which was in the angle of the corner. These are blue and contain a spray of flowers in yellow, red and white, on either side of a red stem which ends in a yellow tulip. From near the base of the compartments rise flowers incuding a pair of white (or very light blue) tulips and enclosing the top of the compartment, a pair of blue rose buds. Between the compartments rise a yellow stem which first bears a yellow peony (?) and at top a white carnation flanked by a pair of light blue hyacinths. Other flowers fill the border.

Inner and outer borders: Blue ground and dark red and green flowers on a yellow meander.
Dimensions
  • Height: 140cm
  • Width: 61.6cm
Measured for the Medieval and Renaissance Galleries
Style
Historical context
Carpets woven in the Ottoman Empire were popular in Europe from at least the mid-15th century. They can be seen in numerous European paintings of the period, adorning the domestic interiors of the well-to-do.
Subjects depicted
Summary
This fragment is from the border of a large carpet with a sophisticated design. The pattern in the wide, central band of the border includes different types of flowerheads. Many of these are recognisable varieties, such as rose, hyacinth, carnation and tulip. This type of pattern was developed after 1500 by artists working for sultans of the Ottoman dynasty (ruled about 1300–1924) in Istanbul, which was their capital after 1453. Carpets of this kind are therefore called Ottoman court carpets.



Although the original carpet was in a court style and was of high quality, we do not know that it was made specifically for the sultan or his court. Once such designs had been developed, they were often used in carpet production for a wider market, both within the Ottoman empire and abroad.
Bibliographic References
  • R. Pinner and M. Franses, 'East Mediterranean Carpets in the Victoria and Albert Museum,' Hali vol. 4 no. 1 (1981), pp. 49-51.
  • C. G. Ellis, 'Gifts from Kashan to Cairo,' Textile Museum Journal 1 (1962), 33-46, reproduced p. 36 fig. 7.
Collection
Accession Number
1372-1901

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record createdNovember 17, 2005
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