'Chessboard' Carpet

Object Name: Carpet

Date: late 16th–early 17th century

Geography: Attributed to probably Syria

Medium: Animal hair (warp and pile), wool (weft); asymmetrically knotted pile

Dimensions: Rug: H. 73 1/2 in. (186.7 cm)
W. 51 in. (129.5 cm)

Classification: Textiles-Rugs

Credit Line: Gift of Joseph V. McMullan, 1969

Accession Number: 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.