Wool (warp, weft, and pile); symmetrically knotted pile; L. 306 in. (777.2 cm), W. 153 1/4 in. (389.3 cm)
Gift of Caroline and Joseph S. Gruss, 1984 (1984.69)
Medallion Ushak carpets usually have a red or blue field decorated with a floral trellis or leaf tendrils, central medallions and a border containing palmettes on a floral and leaf scroll, and pseudo-kufic characters. In this example (partially restored), a typical white-ground field pattern is combined with the Medallion Ushak to form a new category of Ottoman carpet. Its spots-and-stripes pattern appears frequently in Ottoman art from the sixteenth century on tiles, paintings, bookbindings, and particularly on textiles and garments. The design may be a blending of an ancient tradition in which tribal elements have been adjusted to courtly taste. Unlike other white-ground categories, this field pattern never appears in European paintings of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.