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"Lotto" rug, early XVI century, Western Turkey, Ushak Region, Ottoman Empire.

Sotheby's Fine Carpets
London | 05 Apr 2006| Sale L06870

LOT 57

composed of a left hand side main border, the breadth of the main field in areas and some
areas of ajacent inner right hand guard border, missing both end borders
approximately 193 by 168cm., 6ft. 4in. by 5ft. 6in.
early 16th century

ESTIMATE 8,000-12,000 GBP

The ‘Lotto’ group of carpets, so-called for their depiction in a number of paintings by western artists of the 16th and 17
th centuries, in particular Lorenzo Lotto, have field designs of three types, classified by Charles Grant Ellis as
‘Anatolian’, ‘Ornamented’ and ‘Kilim’, see Ellis, C.G., ‘The Lotto Pattern as a Fashion in Carpets’, Festschrift für Peter
Wilhelm Meister, Hamburg, 1975. The present example has an ‘Anatolian’ field pattern within an open kufesque
border; a similar border and field is seen in the earliest ‘Lotto’ rug depicted, in the work by Sebastian del Piombo of
1516, ‘Cardinal Bandinello Sauli, his Secretary and two Geographers’, in the National Gallery of Art, Washington, and
again in another early depiction, ‘Annunciation’, circa 1520, by the Master of the retable of Santos-o-Novo, in the
Museu Nacional de Arte Antiga, Lisbon. It is generally accepted that ‘Lotto’ rugs with this combination of field and
border design are the earliest of the group as a whole. The minor inner border is similar to that of the example in the
Wher Collection, illustrated on p. 282 in Mills, J., ‘Lotto’ Carpets in Western Paintings, Hali Vol. 3, No. 4, pp.278-288.
The ground colour of the border is usually green and the use of a light tan as seen in the present lot is unusual, as is
the deep liver red of the field, which lends this example a particularly archaic feel. For a more extensive discussion of
this group, please see Sotheby’s New York, 14th December 2001, lot 48.


image source:, John Taylor