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Fletcher Ottoman Cairene prayer rug, Egypt, 17th century. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York


Date: 17th century
Geography: Egypt, Cairo
Culture: Islamic
Medium: Wool (warp, weft and pile); asymmetrically knotted pile
Dimensions: 65 in. high 35.50 in. wide (165.1 cm high 90.2 cm wide)
Credit Line: Mr. and Mrs. Isaac D. Fletcher Collection, Bequest of Isaac D. Fletcher, 1917 Accession Number: 17.120.137

The scalloped horseshoe arch and overall floral field are characteristic of a small group of Ottoman rugs. Some, with all-wool construction, are thought to come from Cairo, a well-established rug-weaving center when it was conquered by the Ottomans in 1517. While continuing the use of the Senneh or Persian knot and limited palette of colors of the geometric patterned carpets made under Mamluk rule, the Cairo weavers employed totally Ottoman elements in their designs. In the center of the field is a configuration of a rosette type blossom surrounded by palmettes, a device which appears on many non-prayer rugs of the period and may have been adapted from them. The border is unusual for this type of rug and contains the Ottoman favored flowers–tulips, hyacinths, and carnations. The double flowers appearing at the top and bottom center of the border may be the result of a not well-planned design. The guard stripe pattern is a popular one appearing on many rugs of this group.

Mr. and Mrs. Isaac D. Fletcher, New York (until his d.1917; bequeathed to MMA)