Wool (warp, weft, and pile); symmetrically knotted pile
Rug: L. 75 1/2 in. (191.8 cm)
W. 57 3/4 in. (146.7 cm)
Bequest of Joseph V. McMullan, 1973
Not on view
The design of this carpet is dominated by a pair of large octagons inscribed by star motifs radiating from smaller central octogons. This type of composition, which has been favored by Turkish carpet weavers since the fifteenth century, derives from the layout of "Holbein" carpets, named after a depiction of a similar work in a famous portrait by the sixteenth-century German painter Hans Holbein the Younger. The powerful geometric forms impart an unusually strong artistic impact on this work of such modest size.
Rugs of this type, using a dual medallion as the main element of design, appear frequently in 15th-century paintings of both the Venetian and the Flemish schools. This pattern tradition survived into the 18th and even into the 19th century in Turkish village rugs of which this is an exceptionally powerful example.
The two octagons that fill almost all of the field enclose a small octagon in the centre from which radiate rectangular panels in a star-like fashion, filled with ‘latch-hook’ patterns. The central octagon contains a star-and-knot design commonly found in ‘Holbein’ rugs of the 16th century and used already in the 15th century. The balance of the field features rows of detached octagons with stars and rosette volutes in the corners which give a sense of movement to the otherwise compact and somewhat static design. The border pattern, although originally based on floral forms, is entirely broken up into geometric units.
[Arts Council 1972]
Joseph V. McMullan, New York (by 1965–d. 1973; bequeathed to MMA)
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Nature of Islamic Ornament Part III: Geometric Patterns," March 17, 1999–July 18, 1999, no catalogue.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Fifty Years of Collecting Islamic Art," September 23, 2013–January 26, 2014, no catalogue.
"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. 103, p. 53, ill. pl. XVII (color).
McMullan, Joseph V., and Ernst J. Grube. Islamic Carpets. New York: Near Eastern Art Research Center, 1965. no. 103, pp. 310-311, ill. pl. 103 (color).