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Tabibnia Western Anatolian rug, Ottoman Empire, XVII century. sold  at Christies on 17 October 2002, for $120 165 (Hali 126-132)


Price Realized Ј77,675 ($120,396)
Price includes buyer's premium
EstimateЈ40,000 - Ј60,000
($62,000 - $93,000)

Sale Information
Christies Sale 6630
oriental rugs & carpets
17 October 2002
London, King Street

Lot Description
Ushak district, 17th century
The shaded tomato-red ground scattered with angular floral motifs and octagonal panels around a central cusped quatrefoil medallion with palmettes, large angular pendants above and below, the shaded sea-green spandrels with interlaced angular vine forming red panels, in a broad ivory swirling leaf and rosette border between minor linked S-motif stripes, a band of polychrome palmettes and striped kilim strip at each end, corroded black, areas of slight wear, a few small old repairs, damaged kilims turned under, generally good pile
6ft.1in. x 4ft.10in. (185cm. x 147cm.)

Lot Notes

One other fragmentary rug is very close indeed to the present remarkable example and must come from the same area and period of production (Alexander, Christopher: A Foreshadowing of 21st century Art, New York and Oxford, 1993, p.203). The basic design features of that rug are identical, the only major design differences are in the guard stripes and in the addition of the end panels on the present rug. The Alexander rug has a golden orange border and originally had an indigo medallion; apart from this the colours are again very similar indeed. While some other rugs share individual features with the present rug, such as the border and the pendants (see below), none other has the same combination and aesthetic.

Christopher Alexander in his discussion of the rug investigates the border at some length. It is the border, drawn on white ground, of another fragmentary rug in his collection (op.cit, p.249), which also shares the guard stripes with the present rug; it is also on an orange ground in a rug from Divrigi (Balpinar, Belkis and Hirsch, Udo: Carpets, Vakiflar Museum Istanbul, Wesel, 1988, no.28, pp.88 and 233). It appears in a slightly debased version as a field design on a 17th century rug in the Museum of Applied Arts, Budapest, drawn on an orange ground duller than that of the Alexander border (Batбri, Ferenc: Ottoman Turkish Carpets, Budapest, 1994, no.23, p.118). It also formed the main field design on ivory of a very large and somewhat strange 16th or 17th century carpet which came up for sale at Sotheby's (London, 20 April 1983, lot 129). Its descendant even makes an appearance on a blue ground early 19th century Caucasian rug (Kirchheim, E. Heinrich et al.: Orient Stars, A Carpet Collection, Stuttgart and London, 1993, pl.17, p.51).

Both Alexander and Batбri (Ferenc: "White Ground Carpets in Budapest", Oriental Carpet and Textile Studies, II, London, 1986, pp.198 and 199) demonstrate its relationship to court design of the period through the similarity of the pattern to that of two different panels of tiles in the Rustam Pasha mosque in Istanbul dating from 1565. It is however possibly a considerably older design in origin, deriving from the same root that also provided the well-known "bird" rugs and carpets of the 16th and 17th centuries. Whatever its origin, and in contrast to most of the bird rugs, it is always, as here, very vibrantly coloured, each flailing leaf made of three different blocks of strong colour.

While the basic design of the field is very similar to that of a number of sixteenth century small medallion Ushak rugs, the one feature which stands out as unusual is the pendants. These appear much more closely than normal to represent a lamp hanging on three chains. There is however one very finely woven 16th century small medallion Ushak rug in a private collection which has the same form of central medallion flanked by yellow pendants on the medallion of the same form as those found here. Whether the design here is copied from the medallion Ushak we cannot know. What is very clear however is the ivory lamps; they are certainly symbolic of the luminescence of the colouration throughout.

image source: http://www.rugtracker.com/2013/06/the-dervish-swastika-design.html  (thanks to John Taylor)