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Ushak "Lotto" rug ('ornamented' style), second half XVI century, Western Turkey, Ushak Region, Ottoman Empire. Artcurial Paris, 7 November 2012


2.00 x 3.25m (6'7" x 10'8")

Artcurial Paris, 7 November 2012, lot 441 Estimate 5,000-6,000 Sold: 21,880 ($28,010) The Paris auctioneers Brest, Poulain and F.Tajan, trading as Artcurial, have recently turned up some good, early classical carpets in desperate condition, which have nevertheless sold for high prices
against low estimates (HALI 173, p.113, Esfahan, and p.119, Mughal).This Lotto is older than either of those 17th century carpets. It was bought by the European trade for a fair price given its condition. Possibly the rarest Lottos are those, like this rug, that feature the hook-like detailing defined by Charles Grant Ellis as the 'ornamented' style. It shows an additional sign of artistic refinement, a clear rendering of what Robert Pinner termed a 'substrate' design, creating a pattern within the formal one underlying rows of circles formed by the reciprocal elements of the complex repeat emerging from beneath the main cross-like pattern units. It bears close comparison with both rugs illustrated in article on 'Multiple and Substrate Designs' in HALI 42 (1988, p.27, figs.11,12), in particular fig. 11, the Aita rug, which has an identical border but a slightly narrower 'window' for the repeat. The Aita rug was acquired at Lefevre in London in May 1975 (lot 4 and catalogue cover) and later sold at CLO on 18 October 2001, lot 225 for $117,090 (HALI 120, p.126).

The rug appeated at Christie's London on 23 April 2013 (Sale 1116), as lot 75. Unsold.


Image courtesy: John Taylor,