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Niche or prayer carpet, Ottoman Empire, Istanbul or Bursa or Cairo, 2nd half 16th century. 181 x 127 cm, taken over from the Imperial Court in 1922. Austrian Museum of Applied Art

Warp, weft silk
Knots wool, cotton (white and light blue), asymmetric
Knot count 5600
Inv. no. T 8327/1922 IP
mten osmanischen Reich reisen und arbeiten ließ.

The Ottoman carpet, almost perfect in preservation, has an arch in its field that is characteristic of the genre – a decorative element; or if the carpet was intended as a prayer carpet, the representation of a mosque prayer niche, the Mihrab. The decorative principle of the main border – strikingly expressive – also occurs in large-format Ottoman carpets, as does the random combination of patterns. Ottoman carpets with silk foundation are dated to the second half of the 16th century, created after the so-called Saz style in illumination and ceramics had reached its highpoint. Sources record that there were court manufactories for knotted carpets in Istanbul; however, Bursa remains an option as the traditional


Typical of the Ottoman court style, also known as saz, are the mihrab with a wavy arch, floral decorations, such as palmettes and rosettes, the typical curving and lance-shaped saz reed leaf (also an element of other Ottoman decorative arts) and a limited but refined color palette, such as light blue, white and dark red. Floral prayer rugs of this type were made in the Cairo and Anatolian royal works with so many similar characteristics, their precise identification is impossible. Carpets with weft and warp in silk, such as the specimen above, are nevertheless said to come from Istanbul or Bursa, a production center near Istanbul.