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"Lotto" Carpet, ca 1600, Western Turkey, Ottoman Empire.

Medium: Wool (warp, weft and pile); symmetrically knotted pile
Dimensions: Rug: H. 69 1/4 in. (175.9 cm) W. 48 3/4 in. (123.8 cm)
Credit Line: The James F. Ballard Collection, Gift of James F. Ballard, 1922
Accession Number: 22.100.112

Provenance: James F. Ballard, St. Louis, MO (until 1922; gifted to MMA)


Carpets displaying this striking design of stylized vegetal arabesques in yellow on a red ground are called "Lotto," after a famous altarpiece by the Italian Renaissance painter Lorenzo Lotto that includes a similar carpet. The motifs of the central surface show additional hooks and curls and render the overall impression more decorative, leading to the name "ornamental Lotto" given to this and similar carpets. The border of this example contains a design of cartouches and rosettes alternating on a deep blue background—a border pattern typical of "Transylvanian" carpets. Turkish in origin, so-called Transylvanian carpets were donated as pious gifts to churches throughout Romania and Hungary.


The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York


Denny, Walter B. How to Read Islamic Carpets. New Haven and London: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, pp. 64-65, ill. fig. 51 (color).
Breck, Joseph, and Frances Morris. "The Metropolitan Museum of Art." In The James F. Ballard Collection of Oriental Rugs. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1923. no. 37, p. 23, ill. (b/w).
Dimand, Maurice S., and Jean Mailey. Oriental Rugs in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1973. no. 70, pp. 185, 220, ill. fig. 160 (b/w).
Ellis, Charles. Oriental Carpets in the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Philadelphia: Philadelphia Museum of Art, 1988. pp. 37-38.