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East Mediterranean Ottoman Medallion carpet, Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Place of origin: Turkey (made)
Date: 16th century (made)
Museum number: 491-1899
Gallery location: In Storage

Physical description
Wool carpet
Design: the pattern in the centre is directional and was woven upside down.
Field: dark red ground filled with offset bands of small green and yellow tiger stripes alternating with bands of single white dots. In the centre
is a scalloped blue medallion with white pendant trefoil at either end. As displayed: the central elaborate light yellow trefoil is within a floral
wreath of 6 white rosettes with leaves. Each corner of the field has a 1/4 of a dark blue medallion within a serrated white edge, each point
ending in a white cross. Within the medallion is part of a complex red and yellow design.
Main Border: dark red ground with a double floral meander, breaking in the centre of each border. Yellow stems with blue and yellow
composite rosettes and dark red, yellow, green, blue and black composite blossoms.
Inner and Outer borders: white ground with dark red floral meander bearing yellow and dark red rosettes.
Warp: yellow wool, S4Z, depressed. 24-26 per inch; 98-104 per dm.
Weft: dark red; wool, S-spun, unplied, 3 threads per shoot, 2 shoots after each row of knots; 11-12 rows of knots per inch (43 per dm.)
Pile: wool, dark red, yellow, light yellow, green, dark blue, blue, black, (corroded) white. Asymmetrical, open to the left, tied round 2 warp
threads. 132-152 knots per sq. in (2107-2236 per sq. dm).
Side finish: missing (some repair in upper half of right handside)
End finish: missing
(analysed through glass)
Museum number: 491-1899
URL: http://collections.vam.ac.uk/item/O100819/carpet/


Length: 213.4 cm, Width: 134.6 cm

Labels and date

Old label:

This 16th century Ottoman court carpet, with its asymmetrical knot, relates to the carpets displayed on the left. The wavy lines which cover the ground are often called 'tiger-stripes' and can be seen on other Turkish artefacts in this Gallery. They are thought to depict the markings on animal pelts.

It is interesting to compare the border of this carpet with those on the carpets displayed to the right and above: in this example, the weavers were working from a detailed drawing in which the design has been made to flow around the four corners - in the other examples, the weavers were working from drawings which showed only part of the border design and they were left to work out the corner solution for themselves.

Production Note

Referred to in: "Siebenhundert Jagre Orienttapich" by K. Erdmann, pub. Bussesche
Verlagshanellung GmbH, 1966, plate 249, pp. 202, 206.

mentioned & illustrated x 2 Hali 1981, vol. 4.no.1. "E. Mediterranean Carpets in the V & A." by R. Pinner and M. Franses (intro by Donald King), analysis by Tattersall. Pp.36, 45, 46, 49, 50, 38

Mentioned in "Oriental Carpets in the Philadelphia Museum of Art" by Charles Grant Ellis, pub. The Herbet Press, 1988; note 12, pp. 41-2

CFs: (all to one carpet in the Metropolitan, NY).
Yetkin (1981) plate 75, "Ottoman Court Carpet, 17th c", NB. p.126 "The general appearance of the rug is very close to the book bindings of the period".

McMullan (1972) illus. XXII (best illus. available). NB. comment on pp.34

Dimand (1973), fig. 194, "Medallion rug, court manufactory, probably Istanbul, second half XVII century".


Wool (textile)