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Central Anatolian Pile Rug
Mid-18th century

This prayer rug has been attributed to Obruk which is consistent with the piece’s simple (even stark) design, its soft wool, and the loose structure that is often found in rugs from the Konya-Cappadocia area. The “village-y” nature of this rug is evident in the numerous talismans that were woven into the field (these are now worn down so that they appear simply as colored knots - see Detail 2). The date has been read as 1162 or –3, which translates to 1750.
This is the most primitive in appearance of a group of related prayer rugs. The group includes: (a) Heinrich Kirchheim, Orient Stars, pl. 184, p. 261. (b) Sotheby’s NY, 12/13/96, lot 91. (c) Gerard Paquin’s fragment, in Atlantic Collections, pl. 48. (d) Halevim sale, Christies, 2/14/01, lot 14; the same rug sold earlier at Sotheby’s NY, 12/16/98, lot 61, when it was marred by some gaudy reweaves that were replaced. (e) Skinner, 4/10/99, lot 76 (ex-Mirzakhanian). These pieces share a very white, very soft wool and a distinctive green color. Another possible member of this group, with the design in dark brown instead of green, is illustrated in Herrmann’s Von Konya bis Kokand, no. 5. Finally, a few years ago, San Francisco dealer James Blackmon exhibited another white and brown example. (This central Anatolian group is not to be confused with another white-ground group from Western Anatolia, typified by a prayer rug in the Museum of Turkish and Islamic Art (TIEM)1 in Istanbul. This latter group is extremely finely woven and more “classical” in spirit.)
1. This rug can be seen in Turkish Handwoven Carpets, 1995, vol. 5, no. 0560.

Structural Analysis
Size:  3' 10" x 2' 10" (117 x 86 cm)

Warp:  ivory wool, Z2S

Weft: ivory wool, 2-6 shoots (mostly 4), Z

Pile: symmetric knot, 8-10v x 5-6h, average 50 kpsi

Colors: (6) ivory, green, red, yellow, blue, purple
Ends:  1 ½” – 2” flatweave, with remains of knotted braid fringe

Sides: 4 cords of 2 warps each, wrapped with ivory wool