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Ottoman Court Style Carpet Fragment, Egypt, 1550-1600. Victoria and Albert Museum, London, 1372-1901
Place of origin: Turkey (probably, made)
Egypt (possibly, made)
Date: 1550-1600 (made)
Artist/Maker: unknown (production)
Materials and Techniques: Wool, knotted pile
Museum number: 1372-1901
Gallery location: Medieval and Renaissance, room 64, case SS, shelf 2
Public access description
This fragment is from the border of a large carpet with a sophisticated design. The pattern in the wide, central band of the border includes
different types of flowerheads. Many of these are recognisable varieties, such as rose, hyacinth, carnation and tulip. This type of pattern was
developed after 1500 by artists working for sultans of the Ottoman dynasty (ruled about 1300–1924) in Istanbul, which was their capital after
1453. Carpets of this kind are therefore called Ottoman court carpets.
Although the original carpet was in a court style and was of high quality, we do not know that it was made specifically for the sultan or his
court. Once such designs had been developed, they were often used in carpet production for a wider market, both within the Ottoman empire
Roses; Carnations; Tulips; Hyacinth; Tiger stripes
Fragment of an Ottoman Court Style carpet, 16th century
Fragment of an Ottoman Court Style carpet (lower border and lower left-hand corner of the field).
WARP: Green wool; S4Z; 24 threads per inch (96 per dm); depressed.
WEFT: Cream wool; S spun, unplied, 2 parallel threads in one shoot and 3 in the other; 2 shoots after each row of knots; 12 knots per inch (46
PILE: Wool; 8 (7?) colours: dark red, yellow, green, light green, light blue, black, white (may originally have been very light blue); asymmetrical
knot tied around 2 threads and open to the left; 144 knots per sq. inch (2208 per sq. dm).
Field: Less than 5" (12.5 cm) remains. It seems to have a dark red ground with light green tiger stripes with yellow infill. There are bands of
single alternately white or blue balls between the bands of stripes. At the left-hand side is part of a quarter medallion in the corner, with five
concentric quarter circles and beyond, part of a broad blue band edged in white with blossoms and leaves.
Main border: Incomplete on left-hand side. Deep border with dark red ground with outward facing design. The lower border contains three
lobed compartments and part of a fourth which was in the angle of the corner. These are blue and contain a spray of flowers in yellow, red and
white, on either side of a red stem which ends in a yellow tulip. From near the base of the compartments rise flowers incuding a pair of white
(or very light blue) tulips and enclosing the top of the compartment, a pair of blue rose buds. Between the compartments rise a yellow stem
which first bears a yellow peony (?) and at top a white carnation flanked by a pair of light blue hyacinths. Other flowers fill the border.
Inner and outer borders: Blue ground and dark red and green flowers on a yellow meander.
Museum number: 1372-1901
Historical context note
Carpets woven in the Ottoman Empire were popular in Europe from at least the mid-15th century. They can be seen in numerous European
paintings of the period, adorning the domestic interiors of the well-to-do.
Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)
R. Pinner and M. Franses, 'East Mediterranean Carpets in the Victoria and Albert Museum,' Hali vol. 4 no. 1 (1981), pp. 49-51.
C. G. Ellis, 'Gifts from Kashan to Cairo,' Textile Museum Journal 1 (1962), 33-46, reproduced p. 36 fig. 7.