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Mamluk Carpet, late 15th century.

Sothebys Sale: NY7704 | Location: New York
Auction Dates: Session 1: Thu, 20 Sep 01 10:15 AM
LOT 220 (of 131)

A Mamluk carpet, Egypt, 16th century

30,00050,000 USD
Lot Sold. Hammer Price with Buyer's Premium: 24,900 USD

linen backed, extensive repiling, small cobbled repairs, partial end guard borders,
approximately 20ft. 3in. by 13ft. 9in. (6.17 by 4.19m.)

Provenance:
The Property of a Lady, Christie's, New York, 17 December 1996, lot 136

Literature: Hali, Issue 91, p. 153

The Egyptian attribution of Mamluk carpets is established by their unusual structure whereby the wool is "S" (clockwise) spun and "Z" (anti-clockwise) plied, unlike the majority of Eastern weavings.

Mamluk design is based on the interplay of geometric forms and the subtle layering and juxtaposition of a limited color-palette, creating ever more sophisticated and complicated aesthetics.

The current lot is an unusual example of Mamluk weaving. Firstly, for a Mamluk of such grand scale, its centralized format, with a single non-symmetrical octagonal medallion, is a design usually seen on smaller carpets from this group. Secondly, the startling appearance of two pairs of human figures in the lower spandrels, is apparently unparalleled within the known catalogue of Mamluk carpets, although the rendering of these figures is consistent with those displayed on Egyptian artifacts of that period.

For a full discussion of the traditional techniques used by Mamluk weavers see: Kuhnel, Ernst and Bellinger, Louise, Cairene Rugs and Others Technically Related, Washington, D. C., 1957.