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McMullan blue "Lotto" rug, ca. 1700, Western Turkey, Ushak Region. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Accession Number:1972.80.8

Medium:Wool (warp, weft and pile); symmetrically knotted pile
Dimensions:H. 76 15/16 in. (195.5 cm)
W. 55 11/16 in. (141.5 cm)
Credit Line:Gift of Joseph V. McMullan, 1972
Accession Number:1972.80.8
Not on view

Provenance: Joseph V. McMullan, New York (by 1965–72; gifted to MMA)
Exhibition History
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Islamic Carpets: The Joseph V. McMullan Collection," June 11, 1970–August 2, 1970, no. 19.

McMullan, Joseph V., and Ernst J. Grube. Islamic Carpets. New York: Near Eastern Art Research Center, 1965. no. 74, pp. 244-245, ill. pl. 74 (color).

"The Joseph V. McMullan Collection." In Islamic Carpets. New York, 1970. no. 19.



This type of carpet was formerly dubbed "Holbein" but, unlike two related groups with the same designation, it never occurs in the paintings of this Swiss painter. It is found, however, in works of Lorenzo Lotto and is now usually assigned his name. It also appears in other sixteenth-century Venetian paintings and in Flemish and Dutch pictures of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Its disappearance from Western art after 1700 suggests that the once popular carpet went out of fashion and was no longer produced in quantity or in the original production center. Here, as in other instances, European representations are of great importance for establishing a chronology, especially as there are no related designs in contemporary Turkish art that would allow us to date the group by analogy. The identifying characteristic of the "Lotto" carpets is their stark allover design of stiffly frozen yellow arabesques placed on a bright red ground. This McMullan carpet is a unique exception to this rule, inasmuch as the ground is dark blue. The general arrangement and design are so striking that the underlying composition scheme of staggered rows of octagons and cross-shaped units both outlined by yellow arabesques was not recognized for a long time. This arrangement was hardly changed in the group's two hundred years of existence, except that in later examples, as in this case, the size of the pattern became too large in relation to the whole carpet, allowing only a very limited number of units to appear in the field and interfering with the effect of an allover repeat pattern. Also, in this example some of the lateral extensions of the crosslike units are rendered in red (instead of yellow), which indicates a breakdown of the design and implies a late production date. One realizes, of course, that this color substitution as well as the use of red in the core of the crosses was
engendered by the recollection of the traditionally red background color of the group. The relatively great width of the border is another late feature, as is the design of its main part, which is composed of diamond-shaped units with hooks emanating from their thin outlines and hooked crosses in the center.