Art/ Collection/ Art Object


ca. 1550
Attributed to Egypt, Cairo
Wool (warp, weft, and pile); asymmetrically knotted pile
Textile: H. 79 in. (200.7 cm) W. 48 in. (121.9 cm) Mount: H. 84 3/4 in. (215.3cm) W. 55 3/4 in. (141.6 cm) D. 1/2 in. (1.3 cm)
Credit Line:
Gift of Joseph V. McMullan, 1971
Accession Number:
Not on view
This wool carpet presents a large border with repeating large blossoms, framing an extensive surface decorated with repeating chintamanis, the pearl-like spots that were popular in the Ottoman court. A circular medallion occupies the center, with a fleur-de-lis like motif at its top and bottom forming a vertical axis. The design of a central medallion and four corner quarter-medallions is thought to have originated in decorative book bindings. While displaying a Turkish design, the technique and materials of this carpet are actually Egyptian—reflecting the presence of Egyptian carpet weavers in sixteenth-century Ottoman workshops.

A so-called ‘thunder-and-lightening’ symbol covers the entire field of this rug. Against this background appear a single, scalloped central medallion and four corner pieces. The borders are of a special interest. The main border has a dual meandering scroll, one beset with rosettes, the other with palmette blossoms. An unusual feature (see also MMA 1974.149.1 and 1974.149.2) is to be seen in the centre of each border section: a special palmette, pointing inward in the centre of the long sides, and outward at the narrow sides of the rug, is placed on axis defining the centre of each side of the rug.

[Arts Council 1972]
Joseph V. McMullan, New York (by 1965–71; gifted to MMA)
Washington. National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C. "The Age of Sultan Süleyman the Magnificent," January 25, 1987–May 17, 1987, no. 162.

Chicago. Art Institute of Chicago. "The Age of Sultan Süleyman the Magnificent," June 14, 1987–September 7, 1987, no. 162.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Age of Sultan Süleyman the Magnificent," October 4, 1987–January 17, 1988, no. 162.

"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. 6, p. 34, ill. pl. XXII (color).

McMullan, Joseph V., and Ernst J. Grube. Islamic Carpets. New York: Near Eastern Art Research Center, 1965. no. 6, pp. 36-37, ill. pl. 6 (color).

Swietochowski, Marie, and Marilyn Jenkins-Madina. Notable Acquisitions 1965–1975 (1975). p. 138, ill. (b/w).

Atil, Esin. The Age of Sultan Süleyman the Magnificent. Washington, DC: Harry N. Abrams, Inc., 1987. no. 162, pp. 227, 230, ill. pl. 162 (color).

Ellis, Charles. Oriental Carpets in the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Philadelphia: Philadelphia Museum of Art, 1988. p. 41.

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