About the Antique Rugs of the Future Project

Sheep Breeds of Azerbaijan

Sorting, Washing, Carding, Spinning

"The advantages of handspun yarn to machine spun yarn"

Rediscovery of Ancient Natural Dyes
Our Natural Dyestuffs


Difference between synthetically and naturally dyed rugs

Weaving and Finishing Steps

Galleries of ARFP Caucasian Azerbaijani Rugs



Small Medallion Ushak rug, West Anatolia, second half 16th century. published in "ANATOLIAN RUGS FROM THE OTTOMAN EMPIRE", by Stefano Ionescu. Mirco Cattai Gallery, Milano, Italy

Pl. I
Ushak ‘Tintoretto’
West Anatolia, second half 16th century
Size: 132x106 cm

This finely woven double-niche rug belongs to one the most successful 16th century Ushak groups;
it is also known as ‘Tintoretto’ from the name of the Venetian painter Jacopo Robusti (1519-1594),
whose father was textile dyer (tintore). Tintoretto depicted these kind of carpets in several works,
for instance in the Finding of the body of St Mark (1562-1566). However, he was not the first artist
to depict such rugs, nor the first to represent them in such great detail.

The deep red field, outlined with blue, features a dark-blue four-lobed medallion, containing a
small lozenge, outlined in white. This central ornament became very popular among the weavers
in Anatolia and can be found in 17th century double-niche ‘Transylvanians’ and in later rugs. In
the four spandrels there are finely drawn mustard-yellow cloud-band motifs with sections of the
contour outlined in blue.

Hanging at the top of a niche there is a small pendant, which recalls the mosque lamps and provides
a clear ‘directional’ reference. Some scholars suggest that ‘Tintoretto’ rugs might have been used
as prayer rugs. Others claim that this is an amulet, which is often found in Turkish mosques and
it is meant as a protection against the evil eye.

The main border shows a leaf meander pattern, with palmettes, buds and tiny floral motifs, on
dark blue field, which is common on Small Medallion Ushaks; both right and left sides of the border
display careful spacing but, as usual, there is no corner solution. The inner minor border displays
red cloves flowers on pale blue field, while the outer one is missing. A recent survey carried
on a number of ‘directional’ small Ushaks (‘Bellini’ or ‘Tintoretto’ with a hanging lamp) prooved
that they are all woven the right ‘way up’.