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"Lotto" rug, late XVI century, Western Turkey, Ushak Region, Ottoman Empire. Previously published in Hermann's "Seltene Orientteppiche".


Rugs & Carpets
London | 01 Nov 2016, 02:00 PM | L16872

LOT 20
approximately 177 by 124cm; 5ft. 10in., 4ft. 1in.
late 16th/early 17th century

ESTIMATE 15,000-25,000 GBP

Herrmann, Eberhart., Seltene Orientteppiche, V, 1983, Cat. No. 2, pp. 10-11.

'Lotto' rugs are so called after their depiction by the Italian painter Lorenzo Lotto (c. 1480 – 1556), as in his work ‘The
Alms of St. Anthony’ of 1542, although they also appear in other and earlier works such as Sebastiano del Piombo's ‘
Cardinal Bandinello Sauli’, of 1516, indicating the earliest examples are at least very early 16th century.
These beautiful courtly works are made all the more fascinating by the geometry of their designs; ‘Lotto’ field designs
have been sub-divided into three groups – ‘Ornamented’, ‘Anatolian’ and ‘Kilim’ broadly describing the relative
apparent complexity of the motifs and pattern. However, as is the case in the present ‘Anatolian’ example, on close
analysis one can see how a subsidiary underlying repeat design of interlocking geometric shapes such as diamonds,
octagons, and circles, structures the pattern, see ‘Multiple and Substrate Designs in Early Anatolian & East
Mediterranean Carpets’, Pinner, R., Hali, 1988, issue 42, pp. 27 -30. See also the diagrams illustrated online at
It is interesting to note the apparent relationship between the geometric 'substrate' design of the ‘Lotto’ works and the
design of the celebrated wedding trappings, or Kejebe, of the Salor tribe of Turkmenistan. The interlaced circles and
diamonds, which are framed by the octagonal motifs making clear pillared divides, have a remarkable likeness to
these bridal dowries. Also note the elements within the pedimented pillars of the Kejebe design which hearken to the
quatrefoil ends in the 'Lotto' pattern. For an example, see Sotheby's London, 3 November 2015, lot 1. Of course,
octagons in Turkish carpet and rug design are not uncommon, as discussed in Carpets and Textiles in the Iranian
World 1400 – 1700, Thompson, J., 2010, Chpt III, Carpets in the Fifteenth Century, pp. 48 - 53. Here Dr Thompson
uses a detail of another Salor wedding trapping to demonstrate the possibility of the adoption of the octagon motif by
the tribe during the Timurid period, remaining relatively unchanged for 500 years, Thompson fig. 24. He also
discusses their appearance in earlier weavings, including those of early 15th century Egypt and Spain.
The use of the indigo vine and ragged palmette border is very rare in extant ‘Lotto’ rugs. A ‘Star’ Oushak in the
Metropolitan Museum in New York, formerly in the James F. Ballard Collection, (acc no. 22.100.110) shares a very
similar main border to the offered 'Lotto' and the border design and colour range is seen in other 'Star' Oushaks, for
examples see John Taylor's archive 'Ushakistan' ( accessed 24 Aug
2016). Herrmann considers the use of this border is indicative of an early 'Lotto', Herrmann, E., Seltene Orientteppiche
V, 1983, cat. no. 2, p. 11. This view was further popularised by Stefano Ionescu in his published work Antique
Ottoman Rugs in Transylvania, 2005, Chp III, pp. 47 - 52, where he illustrates known 16th and early 17th century
examples in particular the 16th century ‘Anatolian’ Lotto in the Black Church, Braov, cat. no. 16, and the fragment now
in the Brukenthal museum, cat. no. 21, both of which share qualities with the offered work including a blue border, but
decorated with a simplified meander. A later geometricised version of this border can also be seen in lot 18 in this