Probably Syria, Ottoman period (ca. 1299–1923)
Animal hair (warp and pile), wool (weft); asymmetrically knotted pile
H. 73 1/2 in. (186.7 cm), W. 51 in. (129.5 cm)
Gift of Joseph V. McMullan, 1969 (69.267)
The field of the so-called "Chessboard" carpet is usually applied on a vermillion ground and divided into rectangular compartments, each containing an eight-pointed star composed of an endless knot of interlaced bands. The stars are encircled by small abstract radiating trefoil ornaments resembling fleur-de-lys, cypresses, and rosettes. On the large border that frames the central compartments of this design, poly-lobed lozengelike medallions alternate with cartouches. Stylized fleur-de-lys fill these motifs as well as the blue-green background.
Few examples of "Chessboard" carpets have survived, and they rarely appear in Western paintings. This is probably because only small quantities were woven for export to the West. They can be found in depictions from the last quarter of the sixteenth and throughout the seventeenth century, a period when the production of this type of rug was probably at its peak.