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"Lotto" rug, XVI century, Western Turkey, Ushak Region, Ottoman Empire. Chris Alexander Collection.

Sale Information

Christie's SALE 7572 —
10 April 2008
London, King Street


LOT 108

Scattered areas of restoration and repiling throughout, selvages replaced
6ft.7in. x 4ft.7in. (201cm. x 140cm.)


Price Realized £42,500 ($83,853)

Estimate £22,000 - £28,000 ($43,274 - $55,076)


Saleroom Notice
Please note that the date in the catalogue is incorrect and should read 16TH CENTURY.

Christopher Alexander; A Foreshadowing of 21st Century Art, New York and Oxford, 1993, pp.216-220
Hali, Issue 56, 1991, front cover and p.6

Lot Notes
The repeat 'Lotto' pattern was reproduced countless times for over two centuries, however very few examples are known within this group that do not have the classic red and yellow colour field combination. Indeed, the unusual pure red and blue combination of the present lot is the only published example according to the Hali article noted above. The most famous example which has on its red field a design that is not wholly yellow is the magnificent carpet in Berlin (Turkish Carpets from the 15th to the 18th Centuries, exhibition catalogue, Istanbul, 1996, p.103 amongst many other illustrations). Three further examples are known which combine blue and yellow motifs on the red field (Edouardo Concaro and Alberto Levi, Sovrani Tappeti exhibition catalogue, Milan, 1999, no.11, p.35; Emil Schmutzler, Altorientalischer Teppiche in Siebenbürgen, Leipzig, 1933, pl.19, and one in the Detroit Institute of Arts, Volkmar Ganzhorn, The Christian Oriental Carpet, Cologne, 1991, pl.387, p.271). A worn example in the Vakiflar Museum, Istanbul, has a blue design on a brown field (Serare Yetkin, Historical Turkish Carpets, Istanbul, 1981, pl.36) and a red field example with a sea-blue/green field in the Davide Halevim sale, sold in these Rooms, 14 February 2001, lot 117, see also, (Walter B. Denny, he Classical Tradition of Anatolian Carpets, London, 2002, p.88, no.26).

Perhaps the most unusual feature however of this rug is within the border. We are only aware of one other example of this border design which is wonderfully drawn and appeared on an Ottoman "Bellini" keyhole prayer rug sold in these Rooms, 17 October, 2002, lot 99. That border design fully confirms Christopher Alexander's assertion that the border design originates in the designs of illuminated borders. The blue ground, the coloured panels of a certain shape outlined in white, each overlaying a secondary level of decoration linking through in an interlaced pattern, together with a number of other small details, are all to be precisely paralelled in manuscript illumination.

Following Alexander's argument, it is also true that border designs of this type derive from Timurid manuscripts. However, although the design might have been incorporated into rugs from a much earlier manuscript, it seems more likely the rug copied the more contemporaneous Safavid style from Tabriz (Lowry, Glenn D. and Nemazee, Susan: A Jeweller's Eye, Islamic Arts of the Book from the Vever Collection, Washington D.C., 1988. pl.37; David James, After Timur, Qur'ans of the 15th and 16th centuries, Oxford, 1992, no.35, pp.132-3).