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Bergama – Uşak rug with "Holbein" type medallions. 16th century. Turk ve Islam Eserleri Muzesi, Istanbul (468). wool on wool, red wefts. 30 x 27 dm2

Wool, knotted, carpet

Name of Object: Uşak carpet (Bergama)
Also known as: ‘Holbein’ carpet
Holding Museum: Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts
Sultanahmet, Istanbul, Turkey
Museum Inventory Number 468
Dimensions: Length 292 cm, width 170 cm
Material(s) / Technique(s): Wool on wool, woven with the Turkish double knot also known as the Gördes knot.
Date of the object: Hegira 10th / AD 16th century
Period / Dynasty: Ottoman
Provenance: Western Anatolia (Bergama – Uşak region), Turkey.

: This is a carpet woven in the region of Western Anatolia in the AH 10th / AD 16th century. Both warp and weft are of wool. The weaving technique used is the 'Turkish double knot', known as the Gördes knot. The carpet is divided into five compartments: three pairs of octagons alternate with large rectangles on a dark-yellow ground and within a border of rosettes. Within the rectangles, which have red backgrounds, concentric octagons make up the primary motif. At the centre of each octagon is a six-armed star rosette. Around the inner octagon, resembling a floral rosette because of the hook and interlace motifs around the central star, the field is filled by a group of stars with stylised red and white leaves among them. The main octagon is completed by yellow and blue interlace motifs, while corner-pieces made up of hook motifs complete the large rectangle. Two narrow borders with chain and leaf motifs are in turn surrounded by the main border, which has groups of stylised kufic script on a dark-blue ground. The imitation kufic interlace motifs, which are white, yellow, green, and blue with red contours, are made to contrast with the contrary colours placed between them.

Turkish carpets, which had an important place in Ottoman trade, were exported in large numbers to European markets beginning in the AH 8th / AD 14th century. As an expensive export ware, these carpets met with great demand from noble families, church officials, and the wealthy middle classes who engaged in trade. These groups were also highly interested in painting, and they had the valuable carpets they owned painted into the portraits of themselves with which they adorned their churches and palaces.

These paintings, produced by many European artists beginning in the AD 15th century, have played an important role in establishing the dates and typology of carpets. Some carpets, known as 'Holbein' carpets, appear in paintings by the German artist Hans Holbein (AD 1497–1543), while some are known in carpet terminology as 'Holbein' carpets even though they do not appear in any paintings. The present work is judged to be part of the group known as 'Holbein IV'.

How object was obtained:
The carpet was transferred to the Museum in 1911 from the Shaykh Baba Yusuf Mosque in Sivrihisar as part of the initiative begun in the 19th century to collect up artworks from all over the Empire.
How date and origin were established:
The carpet is dated to the 10th / 16th century on the basis of the characteristics of the motifs and composition as well as paintings in which similar carpets appear.
How provenance was established:
It is well known that there was a thriving carpet-making industry in Bergama and Ushak in the 10th / 16th century. The presence of particular motifs and a style based on geometric division, both of which are still found on carpets produced in Bergama today, suggests that the carpet was woven in Bergama rather than Ushak.
Selected bibliography:
Aslanapa, O., Türk Halı Sanatının Bin Yılı, Istanbul, 1987, p.94, pl. 127.

Erdmann, K., Seven Hundred Years of Oriental Rugs, London, 1970, p.105.

Erdmann, K., Der Türkische Teppich des 15. Jahrhundert, Istanbul, 1958, p.32.

ölçer, N., et al, Turkish Carpets from the 13th–18th Centuries, Istanbul, 1996, pl. 42.
Prepared by: Gönül Tekeli
Translation by: Barry Wood, İnci Türkoğlu
Translation copyedited by: Mandi Gomez
MWNF Working Number: TR 68