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XVI century Turkish rug with the so called "Lotto" design, Western Turkey, Ushak Region, Ottoman Empire. Eskenazi Collection. Laer Chris Alexander Collection. Formerly Wildenstein Collection. 228x226cm.
Sotheby's Rugs and Carpets
London | 07 Nov 2017, 02:30 PM | L17872
PROPERTY FROM THE ALEXANDER COLLECTION
AN OUSHAK 'LOTTO' CARPET, WEST ANATOLIA
with 'Anatolian' style field and 'Holbein' or 'Kufic' border design, reduced in length
approximately 270 by 230cm; 8ft. 10in., 7ft. 7in.
first half 16th century, possibly earlier
ESTIMATE 30,000-40,000 GBP
SOLD 81,250 GBP
Alexander, C., A Foreshadowing of 21st Century Art The Color and Geometry of Very Early Turkish Carpets, New
York, 1993, pp. 228 - 229, ill. pp. 187 (detail) & 229.
Eskanazi. J., Il tappeto orientale dal XV al XVIII secolo, London, 1982, pp. 29, 30, 72. tavaola. 7.
'Lotto' carpets derive their name from the Renaissance painter Lorenzo Lotto, (c. 1480 – 1556), who depicted an
example in ‘The Alms of St. Anthony’, 1542, Venice, although they also appear in earlier paintings. Whilst all these
courtly works are termed ‘Lotto’ there are three differing types of sub design - ‘Kilim’, ‘Ornamented’ and ‘Anatolian’.
The latter two examples are widely agreed to be the earliest and therefore with the least surviving examples: the
present carpet is an ‘Anatolian’ design. This established through the various ‘Substrate’ geometric designs within the
field, which are interestingly, in part, shared by the Tabriz gallery carpet, lot 89 also noted by Alexander,'
Foreshadowing', op.cit., pp. 186 & 187. For a detailed discussion of the group and the differing designs see Robert
Pinner’s article ‘Multiple and Substrate Designs in Early Anatolian & East Mediterranean Carpets’, Hali, 1988, issue
42, pp. 27 -30.
It is owing to these 16th century artworks that we can, with conviction, date these highly colourful and ornate works of
art. A thorough study of ‘Lotto’ carpets which appear in such paintings was conducted by John Mills, ‘‘Lotto’ Carpets in
Western Paintings, Hali, winter 1981, vol. 3, no. 4, pp. 278 – 289. Of the many examples Mills cites one, in particular,
is shown in the Annunciation, Master of the Retable of Santos - o - Novo, circa 1520, Museo Nacional del Arte, Mills.
J., op cit, p. 279, fig. 2 and also in A Foreshadowing of 21st Century Art, which shares both the ‘Anatolian’ field and
also the ‘Kufic’ or ‘Holbein design border. Another very similar example of an 'Anatolian' Lotto carpet, sharing the
green 'Holbein' border and light blue inner border can be seen in the Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection, Sphuler. F.,
The Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection Carpets and Textiles, London, 1998, pp. 28 - 31, pl. 1. This example, also
reduced in length, shares three columns of 'ornamented' motifs and lacks the madder and polychrome outer minor
border, however the traced in and out leaf pattern found in the inner blue border of the Thyssen example is repeated
in the outer madder border of the offered lot.
'the best and earliest 'Lotto' carpets display a brilliant red and luminous yellow as well as light blue and green tones'
Spuhler. F., op.cit., p. 31.
Spuhler also states that this ‘Kufic/Holbein’ border design is typical of early 'Lotto' carpets and derives from Seljuk art
work. The ‘Kufic’ calligraphy traces back to the 7th century and an example of the relationship between it and the
carpet design can be seen in the 15th century ‘Scroll of Sultan Mehmet II’ in the Topkapi Sarayi Muzesi, Istanbul,
E.H.2878, pictured Bac. S. & Tanindi. Z., Turks A Journey of a Thousand Years, 600 -1600, London, 2005, pl. 246.
Interestingly 'Lotto' design seems to predate the Ottoman rumi-hatayi, courtly style, of Baba Nakkash and is derived,
as with 'Holbein' carpets, from the Timurid Empire, Suriano. C. M., 'Patterns of Patronage, Hali, October/November,
1983, issue 83, p. 84. Examples of this particular genre of ‘Lotto’ are now in museum collections across the world,
other than those previously cited, examples include: The Philadelphia Museum of Art, acc. nos. 1955-65-9, 1967-30-
308 & 1943-40-68, illustrated C. G. Ellis., Oriental Carpets in the Philadelphia Museum of Art, London, 1988, pp. 22 -
29, pls. 6 - 8. Also a fragment in the Islamisches Museum, Berlin, which bears such a likeness to the offered example
that it is possible that it was originally a part of it, acc. no. 1875,224. Such examples, of this type, rarely come to
auction however a comparable 'Lotto' was sold Sotheby’s New York, 14 December 2001, lot 48.