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"Lotto" rug (variant), ca. 1700-1800, Western Turkey, Ushak Region, Ottoman Empire. McMullan Collection. Accession Number: 1972.80.9

5 feet 10 inches x 4 feet 7 inches.


Medium:Wool (repairs in cotton and wool)
Credit Line:Gift of Joseph V. McMullan, 1972

Not on view
Catalogue Entry

This is an extremely rare variant of the ‘Lotto’ group. Only one other rug of this type, formerly in the Heinrich Wulff Collection in Copenhagen (published in A Collection of Oriental Carpets and Rugs belonging to Heinrich Wulff, Copenhagen, 1934, pl.10), has come to light.

The leaf forms providing the main decorative element of the design are related to those of the ‘Lotto’ type; however, they are now enclosed within prominently drawn octagonal medallions each containing four of these leaves with the tips pointing inward. The leaves actually spring from the small squares enclosing a small star forming the secondary pattern element. A sense of movement is provided by floral buds springing from the diagonal sides of the octagons. The border design is loosely drawn, consisting of a rather disjointed and highly stylized palmette and rosette scroll.

[Arts Council 1972]
Joseph V. McMullan, New York (by 1960–72; 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. 20.

"Catalogue of an exhibition held at the] Hayward Gallery, London, 19 October–10 December 1972." In Islamic Carpets from the Joseph V. McMullan Collection. London: Arts Council of Great Britain, 1972. no. 75, p. 48, ill. pl. XXV (color).

McMullan, Joseph V., and Ernst J. Grube. Islamic Carpets. New York: Near Eastern Art Research Center, 1965. no. 75, pp. 246-247, ill. pl. 75 (color).

"The Joseph V. McMullan Collection." In Islamic Carpets. New York, 1970. no. 20.

What makes the study of carpets so exciting is the possibility of tracing mutations of forms. These are often found only among secondary features, while the main characteristics that determine the group remain intact. In other instances, as in this case, the whole composition is novel and only minor patterns reveal a relationship to well-known types. In this carpet it is a feature of the main border - the angularly drawn, yellow arabesque with its hooklike excrescences on a red ground - that connects the carpet with the "Lotto" group; such a relationship is also established by the grossly stylized leaf forms in the field, although they no longer show the typical yellow color of the prototype. However, the Anatolian character is clearly indicated by the coloring and the deeply indented floral motifs in the field and border.

The field is dominated by staggered rows of red rectangles, each decorated with a small internal star and framed and connected with each other by buffcolored lines that create octagons. These, in turn, enclose long, stylized red, green, and blue leaves, which form the second major element in the composition. The dartlike buff motifs between the leaves create a counter movement to the centripetally placed floral elements and thereby produce the specific inner tension, which, together with the strong coloring, gives this carpet its lively quality. The red color of some of the four leaves in each of the octagons as well as of the small rectangles is taken up by the main border, while the buff color of the interconnecting lines of the field is echoed in the colors of the guard stripes and the palmette design in the border. Thus, in spite of the diversity of the constituent motifs and the apparent contrast between the colors of field and border, a sense of reciprocity is achieved that further enhances the aesthetic appeal of this carpet.