Art/ Collection/ Art Object
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The 'Nigde' Carpet

Object Name:
Carpet
Date:
18th century
Geography:
Made in Northwestern Iran, probably
Medium:
Cotton (warp and weft), wool (pile); symmetrically knotted pile
Dimensions:
Rug: H. 298 in. (755.7 cm) W. 121 1/2 in. (308.6 cm) Tube: H. 128 in. (325.1 cm) W. 10 in. (25.4 cm)
Classification:
Textiles-Rugs
Credit Line:
Gift of Joseph V. McMullan, 1956
Accession Number:
56.217
Not on view
The so-called "Nigde Carpet," one of the most famous Islamic carpets, was allegedly discovered in a mosque in the central Anatolian city of Nigde but was probably produced in northwest Iran or Transcaucasia. The origins of its design are indisputably Iranian, as is its overall layout of ogival forms. The composition may have been inspired by a silk textile layout, possibly filtered through the production of the ogival-layout rugs woven in the so-called "vase carpet technique" in Kirman in the seventeenth century. Although mutated into angular and geometric forms, the basic design elements of sinuous Chinese cloud-bands, lotus-flower palmettes, and curved leaves, all part of the rich vocabulary of Safavid carpets, are clearly identifiable in this carpet.

This rug has become famous as the ‘Niğde’ carpet. Although certainly produced in the Caucasus, it was found in the mosque of Niğde in central Turkey.

In contrast to the other important rug types that have been produced in the same area, the ‘dragon’ rugs and the so-called ‘Kubas’, the design of this carpet is highly unusual. It is based on a continuously alternating system of diamond shaped medallions on a huge scale. One row of these diamond panels is filled with lancette leaves, palmettes, and cloud bands; the alternate row with large cruciform figures is filled with palmettes and surrounded by half-palmette and lancette leaves. Large palmette blossoms appear at the tips of the diamond points and in the centre of each side of these panels. Alternating in the background colour, the diamond panels create an almost unparalleled sumptuous effect. The border design follows a common Caucasian motif consisting of an alternate row of hexagonal cartouches, filled with stylized floral forms, and small floral rosettes.

in [Arts Council 1972]


This rug has become famous as the ‘Niğde’ carpet. Although certainly produced in the Caucasus, it was found in the mosque of Niğde in central Turkey.

In contrast to the other important rug types that have been produced in the same area, the ‘dragon’ rugs and the so-called ‘Kubas’, the design of this carpet is highly unusual. It is based on a continuously alternating system of diamond shaped medallions on a huge scale. One row of these diamond panels is filled with lancette leaves, palmettes, and cloud bands; the alternate row with large cruciform figures is filled with palmettes and surrounded by half-palmette and lancette leaves. Large palmette blossoms appear at the tips of the diamond points and in the centre of each side of these panels. Alternating in the background colour, the diamond panels create an almost unparalleled sumptuous effect. The border design follows a common Caucasian motif consisting of an alternate row of hexagonal cartouches, filled with stylized floral forms, and small floral rosettes.

[Arts Council 1972]
Mosque of Nigde, Turkey(until ca. 1908); William T. Dewart, New York ( by 1941–47; sold to McMullan); Joseph V. McMullan, New York (1947–56; gifted to MMA)
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Islamic Carpets: The Joseph V. McMullan Collection," June 11, 1970–August 2, 1970, no. 53.

Dimand, Maurice S. A Handbook of Muhammadan Art. 2nd rev. and enl. ed. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1944. p. 319, in Dewart Collection.

"Catalogue of an exhibition held at the] Hayward Gallery, London, 19 October–10 December 1972." In Islamic Carpets from the Joseph V. McMullan Collection. London: Arts Council of Great Britain, 1972. no. 41, p. 43, ill. pl. XIV (color).

McMullan, Joseph V., and Ernst J. Grube. Islamic Carpets. New York: Near Eastern Art Research Center, 1965. no. 41, pp. 164-171, ill. pl. 41 (color).

Schurmann, Ulrich. "The Joseph V. McMullan Collection. New York." In Islamische Teppiche. Frankfurt: Museum für Kunsthandwerk Frankfurt, 1968. no. 25, pp. 58-59, ill. p. 59 (b/w).

Ettinghausen, Richard. "Islamic Carpets. The Joseph V. McMullan Collection." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin vol. 28, no. 10 (1970). p. 415, ill. cover (color).

"The Joseph V. McMullan Collection." In Islamic Carpets. New York, 1970. no. 53.

Dimand, Maurice S., and Jean Mailey. Oriental Rugs in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1973. no. 164, pp. 162-163, 279, ill. fig. 231, (b/w; color).

Farnham, Thomas J. "The Pioneers." Hali Carpet, Textile and Islamic Art (2008). pp. 60-61, ill. (color).

Thompson, Jon. "Exotic Textiles from New York Collectors." In Timbuktu to Tibet. New York, 2008. pp. 14-15, 302-303, ill. fig. 1.1 (color), pl. 107 (color).



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