rugtracker

Friday, 4 September 2015

Ushakistan






A rare group with 4-lobed design commences this survey of manufactory carpets from the Ushak area.They were woven in the Turkoman style with major and minor elements in an endless repeat.Some well-rehearsed carpets feature a substrate design achieved through reciprocity.Two remarkable fragments in London and New York(1) are among the leading examples,so similar they might be from the same carpet.That would have had enormous proportions(not unthinkable)but there are slight differences in colour and style.A diagram from Şerare Yetkin demonstrates the layout and ensuing Simultaneity.(1a)The small endless knots connecting major and minor göls are a Timurid reference. Lotus leaves and palmettes adorn the field,turned to reveal their outlines from different angles.Heraldic Vajra forms within the lobed medallions are common to all.A painterly touch is the restrained use of white.The design corpus of Ottoman Court rugs had a lasting effect in rural areas,where idiosyncratic variants appeared,such as the two carpets found at Divrigi(2)with their scintillating blue-green cloudbands.4-lobed items rarely appear at auction(3)only two having been sold respectively at Christies New York in 2003(19 June,Lot 125,sold for $9560)and Sothebys London in 2008(9 April,Lot 375,sold for $105,500)The Sothebys carpet,with its rare arabesque border,is the second complete example after a carpet in Philadelphia(7)That employs a border seen in later Lotto carpets of the “Ornamented”persuasion,and was dated by C.G Ellis to the 17th century.A carpet in Dresden(5) was uncovered by Kurt Erdmann during his 1936 foray through the German museum landscape,and appears to have a cloudband border.From East Berlin comes another fragment(4) ,with a similar border to that seen on an item from the Ballard Collection(6)A complete list of known examples was published in Hali 6-4(1984),page 378,footnote 58.

The design was widely influential,as illustrated by two carpets once with Davide Halevim(8).The first is still much in the courtly mode with a border of half-moons morphing into C-Göls.The second introduces a meander-leaf border on black ground which was later taken up in the Bergama area.Both pieces display well-drawn arrows and Vajra center,but the ground foliage has been simplified to accomodate the format.Two carpets(9)shown at the Istanbul ICOC take the process of reduction a step further.The first example,strict and forbidding,was again copied in the “Bergama” area.A Small Medallion Ushak (“SMU”) form appears stage-center,whereas the second example features the standard Vajra surrounded by arrows marking the four cardinal directions.The two examples in Plate 10 have adopted the arabesque ragged leaf border as seen in Plate 3.Both cloud-collar medallions have become straighter and now dominate the field with less feeling for the infinite repeat.In Plate 11 a single design element has completely taken over,accentuated by the virtual lack of borders and perfunctory foliage.An example from the Zaleski Collection impresses through its clear lines and Salor-type Kochanak border.Once with D.L Blau,it was sold at that vendor`s auction on 14 December 2006(Lot 83) for $132,000.A similar carpet in Istanbul is woven on an unusual brown ground.Tribalising has occurred in Plate 13 with the Textile Gallery`s item,and a carpet from Herrmann`s ATT 3,later sold at Christies London on 17 October 2002(Lot 101)for $35,125.More classical arrow forms return for Plate 14,one in Istanbul,the other exhibited in the important Budapest show of 1914;both with clear Vajra centres.A fascinating fragment from the Brukenthal Museum with addorsed plant-heads in the medallion was published by Stefano Ionescu(15)Two variant types emerge in West Anatolia in the 19th century.A piece sold at Skinners reveals the influence of Davide Halevim`s carpet(see Plate 8)The group as a whole is highly schematised,with Ladik-style borders and an absence of foliage combined into an attractive design.The second variant,as seen in a carpet sold at Rippon Boswell`s(16)has replaced the arrow forms with a Holbein Göl and a layout reminiscent of Plate 9(left).A cubist interpretation practised on the Konya plain shows four large “ears”and a dominant Vajra medallion(17-20)All kinds of classical elements flow into this diverse group,presumably made over a wide area,such as Transylvanian borders(19)and,incongruously,a Ghirlandaio central medallion(20).A further reduction occurs in a more westerly cluster with hour-glass four-and-one format,perhaps Yuntdag and surprisingly rare(21-22)

Another formidable group of medallion carpets from the 16th century is clearly related to the 4-lobed Göl group and utilises 8-pointed stars-within-stars in a layout very similar to that of 16th century Persia.(23)Carpets in the “Octagram” style have survived in three variations:the aforementioned; a rare rounded style;and a more numerous group with straightened 8-pointed sides.Most prominent amongst the Octagram group is a carpet formerly with Eskenazi,which appeared first at Lefevre`s  in 1984,and later surfaced at Phillips in June 1986.Seemingly   complete with an overall scheme of single medallions,it is very much in the Turkmen-Persian style.Two similar fragments are shown here without their added borders. 23a shows three reproductions of the same carpet from the collection of  Harold Keshishian.Regretably lost to us is a carpet once in Berlin,highly praised by both Erdmann and Ellis,with an interesting arabesque border(24)A carpet in Detroit appears complete,but is  lost to view(24)Two fragments (25)demonstrate the reciprocal design by carpets in Istanbul and Italy,in which a secondary,straight sided medallion makes an appearance.It is not clear if the lost Berlin carpet was on blue ground,but the fragment now held there is,a rarity from the Bode collection with its unorthodox inner medallion and substrate design(26)A large central medallion suggested itself for the creation of smaller carpets,three of which are shown in Plate 27.With more experimental borders the carpets may be from a different area.Another avant-garde object was sold at Christies on 9 October 2006(Lot 48) for $20,195,with ragged leaf border on a yellow ground(28)The second group of medallion carpets is best illustrated by two large carpets shown in (29)The Khalili Collection carpet was formerly with Meyer-Punter,and employs the straight-sided star medallion.A similar item was sold at Christies in 2010 for $ 408,485,with a whimsical border not unlike the Eskenazi carpet in(23),and in very good condition.In the two fragments shown in (30)the straight-sided medallion has taken over the running with elegant snowflake inner medallions.The carpet in Philadelphia has the rare arabesque border later encountered in the Kuwait two- medallion LMU(110)The Kirchheim  example seems more freely executed(30)Three fragments divided between the V&A and Moshe Tabibnia(previously Wher Collection)could be fitted nicely together(31)A later village model reached the sum of $88,835 at Christies London in 2004(32)The rare group in Plate 33 consists of three carpets.The first,from the Maciet Collection,is now in the Musee des Arts decoratifs,in Paris;the second was sold by Lefevre in 1975,ex-Barbieri;the third is in Berlin,ex Bode,and already published by Martin in 1908.They feature a kufi border(MAD and Lefevre) transforming into a simpler floral form(called here the “Fertek”border),later common on Small Medallion Ushaks (“SMU”)Three last fragments use a medallion form extracted from the Star Ushak pattern:a carpet with the Duke of Buccleugh has an unusual meander border;an incomplete carpet was shown at the Istanbul ICOC;and a fragment is now kept in the Völkerkunde Museum,Munich(34-36)


Judging by their occurence in Western paintings,the Star Ushaks would appear to be a later production than the Large Medallion group(or “LMU`s)but there is no proof of this.A carpet with Star Ushak foliage is depicted in a third quarter 16th century painting by Girolamo da Carpi-but with an improbable kufi border(37b)Otherwise their first known use as a prop is in a well-known painting from 1534(37a) Very few examples match the quality of the best LMU`s,although Plate 77 is an example.The major göl seems derived from the secondary of the large LMU`s,where it can be seen in its original Persian form.The Lotus Palmette features in all classic Ushak carpets,and is especially spritely in the Berlin piece,where four tubular Lotuses stand guard around the central star.(37)The borders are quite awkwardly drawn with an unusual colour change within the individual cloudbands.Such hesitation was unknown to the makers of the Budapest carpet,where the borders race along with tremendous acceleration,unimpeded by any inner guard.This was apparently lost in restoration,but an interesting touch is the bricky red used for the interior star decoration,which is normally coloured yellow(37)Perhaps the one-star types may have served as demonstration or sales pieces with experimental character,although it is sometimes difficult to define what a one-star rug actually is.The Ballard in Plate 38 is surely not,with its intruding major göls,yet the Sovrani piece almost qualifies.Encircled by a rare Gothic border,that carpet was formerly with Bausback,Nagels and Ulrich Schürmann.A further two rugs display more geometric and simplified forms within the medallions(39)The Thyssen carpet was at Sothebys in 1976.It has curious star remnants in the corners,and as a counterpoint to the strict medallions,a very fluid field and border.The Brașov example exudes a more rustic note,but with very refined meander border.It was already cut when first published in 1925.Turkey is not rich in carpets of this kind but two examples from the Vakiflar stand out(40)Both carpets seem more assured than Berlin`s plate 37,which is cramped by comparison.The first rug has a village type border with C-göls.In the second piece with its expressive border the minor and major have been joined together,creating an enclosed space for the central medallion.Plate 41 has pleasant colouring and was sold at Christies in 2003 for $47,800.It has mundane borders and was designed as a two-star model.A border sighted on some later(?) Lotto carpets adorns the Hapsburg carpet in Vienna,notable for its delicacy,but the Hubel Collection carpet is flawed by  strangely drawn lateral appendages in the center, unlike any other,and for this reason its authenticity may be doubted(42)A carpet in Williamsburg displays classic execution,although here too one must always consider the possibility of fraud.The item sold at Christies(42a) in 2005 for $13,200 reflects its condition,which has perhaps been amended in the meantime.One also sees very similarly drawn field models with different borders(43)A medium size rug from the Monastery Church of Sighișoara is one of only two in Transylvania(44)A third was confiscated and transported to Nuremberg at the end of the war,and now is under wraps at the Germanic National Museum(45)Meander borders were used to offset the inherent stiffness in the Star design,as a carpet in the TIEM shows(46)A few three-star medallion models exist.The MET`s  carpet(47)has indecipherable secondary medallions arranged horizontally.A multi-star model from the Wulf Collection in Copernhagen was sold at Sothebys in 1979 and surfaced with Eskenazi(48)The carpet in the Bargello(48)has an even stiffer border rendering.Yet more cloudband borders(49)were on sale at Christies in various degrees of restoration,but the V&A `s example is in pure original condition.It is surely the best of the three with delicate tracery and better-drawn cloudbands.The Fertek arabesque border can be seen on three large examples(50)but only the Munich carpet attains full reciprocity through skilfull arrangement of the medallions and a “scalloping” effect on the stars.It was passed at Nagels in 2009 against an estimate of 100,000 euro.The McMullan,once with Benguiat,seems curiously flat by comparison but has a very pretty border,and has usually been viewed as a benchmark.The carpet from Dani Ghigo was sold at Christies for $156,920 in 2012 and has been extensively tampered with.Two fragments in Turkey reveal the noble charm of the Fertek border,later so frequent in Small Medallion Ushaks(SMU)The fragment discovered by Riefstahl in Beyshehir is perhaps in Konya(51)A fragment from Chris Alexander has a strange,ghoulish cloudband mutating into a Meander Gothic border(53)Unsold at The Alexander sale in 1998,it sold a year later at Christies New York for $32,200.Still awaiting adequate reproduction is a Gothic Meander border piece illustrated by Neugebauer-Troll in 1930.(54) Further examples include a relaxed-looking carpet in Philadelphia with neatly strewn flowers in the field and excellent scarlet red;a carpet sold by the Austrian Auction Company in 2013 for $158,290;and an example in the Textile Museum with a charming border variant(55)Another exceptional fragment was auctioned at Sothebys New York in 2003 for $15,600,reflecting its rare blueground border and generous spacing(56).Sometimes the reciprocal crown border was depicted in two-tone,such as on the Philadelphia Museum`s middle-size item,or more stentoriously  on an example in Kuwait.(57)Similar design extractions and borders feature on a carpet at Williamsburg and an object sold at Sothebys New York in 2008 for $50,00(58)A Melas carpet with rare large medallion design shows the Gothic border still alive and well in the 19th century(59)Certain borders seem to augur a more refined approach.A double helix type with Lotus buds is one such.The carpet from the L A Mayer is a well-travelled elegant piece once sold by Lefevre;a similar object was with Tabibnia in Milan(60)Matching items can be seen in the Bardini Museum and at Williamsburg, whose carpet was pronounced authentic by May Beattie(61)Beyond reproach is an example that surfaced in original condition at Finarte`s in 1997,selling for $67,930.It was exhibited at the Hali fair in 2001,and re-auctioned by the AAC in Vienna for $247,585,in September 2013.A lesser work with similar border made $68,640 at Sothebys in 1987(62) In ATT V Eberhart Herrmann traced the production center of the Star Ushaks to Tabriz in  Persian Azerbaijan,on the strength of the tilework in the Blue Mosque and the design`s atavistic appearance on a group of Shahsavan soumak bagfaces.The more prosaic origin of this splendid item with its unusual light-blue abrashed border was at Phillips in 1992 where it sold for $39,945.A carpet with Zia Bozoglu had previously surfaced at Nagels in 2001 and features a rare attempt at a substrate design.An example with Tabibnia appeared previously at Rippon Boswell`s in 2001,selling for $79,920(63)Two large fragments from Sforza Castle in Milan bear different borders,yet are probably from the same workshop(64)A carpet from the estate of Wilhelm von Bode now resides in the Rietberg Museum,unfortunately without colour repro(65)Once with the Textile Gallery,a fragment with assured drawing and unusual borders sold for $4600 at Sothebys New York in 1994(66)A large group features Lotus Palmette borders,in all registers.Many have appeared at auction.A handsome example sold at Nagels in 2005 for $209,360 was later with Moshe Tabibnia.It is of the rarer kind with red arabesque infill;another medium size carpet sold at Christies in 2011 for $115,000;a third example went unsold at Sothebys in 1998(67)In general,the highest prices have been brought by carpets destined for the decorative zone.Collector items and large fragments are often cut up.The Vakflar`s example was saved from such a fate.It has the classic border also featured on the prayer rugs from that area(68a)A gourmet fragment in Austria has its major and minor gols joined at the base-a clear indication of substrate design(68)The carpets in Plate 69 are very similar in feel despite the use of different borders. Plate 70 shows two carpets with a very rare border:the Thyssen carpet has a Kufi-bud border at one end,which is however rewoven;the Christies example was sold for $148,55 in 1997(70)A carpet in the Hermitage is distinguished by rampant blue outlining in its borders(71)The large unwieldy fragment from the Alexander collection went unsold in 1998,but was purchased a year later at Christies New York for $34,500,and was re-auctioned in 2004 for $28,680(72)A clearly drawn item from the Ballard Collection,now in the MET,utilises the classic ragged palmette border and interesting minor guards(73)Sold first at Christies in 1997 for $77,275,a large carpet had survived the interim period without undergoing restoration,selling again at Christies in 2004 for $80,375(74)A hesitantly drawn rug was advertised in Hali 91 by Michail(75)Quite extemporised is an object first published in the twenties by Grote-Hasenbalg,now in an Austrian collection(76)Mentioned at the beginning of this resumee,the Battilossi fragment was auctioned at the eponymous Sale  by Christies in February 1998 but went unsold(77)A similar fate befell a carpet once with Ulrich Schürmann,which failed to find a buyer against an estimate of 60,000 euro,at Rippon Boswell`s on 23 May 2009.Another borderless rug was published by Gans-Ruedin in one of his potboilers.A more modest fragment from the Heinrich Wulff collection found a buyer at Christies London in 2002,for $6,930(78)Purchased at Rippon Boswell in 2007,a single star carpet with later border re-appeared in a new guise at the Dorotheum in 2013(79)A rare border could be seen on a fragment sold by Lefevre in 1975(80)Perhaps the strangest of all Star Ushaks,presumably re-configured,was sold at the Rossi sale in 1999(81)A similar border occurs on a re-entry carpet in Sforza Castle(see Plate 187a)

The author has registered five blue-ground Star ushaks.An outstanding example in the DuPont Collection has perfectly postioned major and minor medallions,substrating wildly.The red stars are lined with blue arabesques.Its counterpart on red ground was published in 1910,at that time in the Drey Collection(82)The blue field colour seems to have been taken as an opportunity to excel.The stars of the Ankara example are filled with red,those in the MAK with yellow and blue.The MAK piece has a powerful variant of the Gothic border,and an enclosed design(83)An item sold at Christies in 2014 for $143,467 was already in good condition and ready for the decorative/collector market(84)A fascinating fragment in the Keir collection has a part-green ground,very elegant borders,and another substrating design which was probably enclosed(85-86)A simple montage reveals that its central row of medallions was smaller than those placed laterally!A clear example of substrate design can be seen on a fragment once with Bernheimer,which despite wobbly drawing   demonstrates the idea quite well. (87)The Wher collection carpet(88) with its strangely drawn cloudband border offers an attempt at substrating gone awry.Its dotted ground was also used in the spandrels of the Bardini Museum`s SMU in plate 155.

Some rural examples of the Star pattern demonstrate the skill and ingenuity of more independent production centers.Plate 89 was published by Yetkin:90 was shown at the Istanbul ICOC and is close to the Persian originals,lacking cornerpieces;an example from the Hecksher collection has the arabesque palmette border on blue-ground(91);a later carpet recalls 19th century Chelaberd Kazaks(92):and an 18th-19th century fragment shows how long-lived the design had become(93)

Modern copies of the medallion carpet exist.An entire series is based on one fragment in the Orient Stars Collection(94)The carpet sold at Rippon Boswell in 2007,formerly published by Schurmann,and an item published by Stefano Ionescu make a crude attempt at substration(95 & 96)The border has been borrowed from a small group of Lotto rugs.Another carpet,sold at Christies in 1996 for $115,340,was revealed to be a fake by Stefano Ionescu in his monograph on the Rumanian forger Tuduc.A similar item was once with the Swiss dealer Föhringer(97-98)

A review of the Large Medallion Ushaks(or “LMUs”)can surely find no better starting point than the two magnificent fragments in Istanbul(99)They are said to have lain originally in a mosque in Elazig.Technically quite different to the standard Turkish weave,they are Persian knotted(open left)with unorthodox structure, wool and colour.Two examples have been noted here at the beginning(Plate 2)The Divrigi carpets show the same extraordinairy flair as the two LMU design rugs,and share a similar structure.They are unlike anything in the Chessboard or Para-Mamluke group,which never rose to such arabesque heights.Perhaps only Egyptian masters could have woven them.What role the Elazig pieces may have played in the formation of the Ushak style is unclear.Interestingly, the three medallion format is quite rare in the standard Turkish repertoire.The known examples are not among the earliest or most beautiful.The Mikaelov demonstrates the two different types of medallion style.The first is(as with the Elazig carpets)merely an outline on the medallion created by joining four split leaf arabesques together.In the second type the medallion has a coloured ground. The solid colour style becomes more popular as the series progresses(100)The finest examples all feature substrate designs,as demonstrated in a series of montages from Hali 42(101)Amongst the noblest of LMU productions are the blue-ground models in the Louvre and in Hamburg(103)The Louvre example,formerly with the Chevalier brothers, employs a a rare double tracery scheme on both sides of the medallion.The Hamburg carpet,ex-Stroganoff,is quite similar.Both have silhouette arabesque inner medallions.A rare border,mixing elements of Kufi,endless knot and thick palmette knosps can be seen in 102,from another Count Stroganoff carpet now in the Bruschetinni Collection.A further three carpets exist with the Kufi border on red ground:the aforementioned Stroganoff Carpet,a dazzling composition with light blue medallions;the Andre-Jaquemart,lacking any tracery on a red dotted ground;and the Wher Collection example,ex-Czartoryski,with strangely coloured star-secondaries(104)The blue field models seem less constrained.On the Thyssen-Lyons duo in 105,the dark blue ground bites into the light blue stars ,etching out an animal pelt design across the center field.This tortoise form may have pleased the Ottoman Sultans,who are said to have let giant turtles roam free at night,with candles upon their backs.Wonderful new medallions could be won out of the corner stars of such carpets as the Cassirer-Thyssen (107)or the Sovrani catalogue carpet.The borders of both carpets,in the Fertek design,(109)seem to have resulted from the fusion of the Kufi-bud border and the Forked-leaf(106)They are more frequently seen on smaller carpets and appear only on three larger carpets(see also 108)The forked-leaf border on the magnificent Kuwait carpet with two medallions(110) should be compared to its Vase carpet variant.Two fragments show how space can be altered by colour alone.The Sylvester carpet is a noble step up from the Altmann(111)Berlin`s famous white-ground fragment was eventually completed by a donation from the Keir Collection(112)An impressive old carpet sold at Finarte`s on 31 march 1992 for $23,920,and was later re-offered at Christies in 1994(113)A different encounter altogether is a plain red-ground piece,the only example without field ornament (114)A number of carpets,mostly in Istanbul,have Chintamani field designs.(115) Another two fragments were with Maktabi(116)although the second fragment may have been an allover Chintamani design,such as in 119. A rare whiteground model once published by Perez and now in the MET(117-118) features amongst many highlights an inner brown/white guard of arabesques and endless knots. Outstanding examples such as in plate 120 often feature a palmette border,which later coarsens.The Eskenazi carpet went to Thyssen-Bornemisza via the Textile Gallery.A similar quality is visible in the Victoria & Albert `s carpet,albeit with solid colour medallion.The roughness apparent in 121 does not detract from the vitality characteristic of old Turkish carpets.Lot 51 at the Bernheimer Sale was thought by many to be the best of a large group on offer;the Berlin carpet was acquired in 1880,featured in Lessing`s 1891 publication(in original condition),and has a somewhat elongated medallion(121b)Fine palmette borders are again in evidence in plate 121a;the Rossi carpet was sold at auction by Sothebys in 1999 for $59,820.A fragment with very soft colouring went at Sothebys in 1994 for $5,175(122).Of two examples with the ragged palmette border(123)one was published by David Sorgato;a carpet at Sothebys in 1980 went unsold.Two late examples were at Christies in 2013(123a).The April offer went for $167,660,perhaps due to good condition,but a very similar piece failed to sell in October of that year.Of the “three medallion” models,at least three examples are known(124);a large fragment in Istanbul;the Kevorkian carpet,at auction in 1994 and 2002(at which time it was in a damaged state)and again in 2011 where it sold for $214,850,apparently an auction record for such a type.The Nolan-Mikaeloff was sold in 1993 for $54,000,and in 1997 for $75,100.Its border,though, is standard.Possibly reduced from a three-medallion format is a carpet late of the Wolf Collection,which was sold at Sothebys in 2002 for $17,925.It had been exhibited at the “Splendour of Turkish Weaving”show at the TM in 1973.A fastidious example from the Goddard-Remarque Collection(actually more Remarque)may have had three medallions.On offer at Sothebys in 1977 and 78,it was auctioned at Christies London in 1989 for $35,000(125)There are other carpets with an implied three medallion format,featuring a central roundel with two nearly complete medallion pendants.A carpet with Costikyan was on show in Chicago in 1926;an example with standard border is in Istanbul;and another carpet went unsold at Austrian Auctions in 2014(126)Three carpets in Istanbul have such intrusive half-medallions that they should be included here(128);in 129 the three-quarter medallions are quite importunate.The Sothebys example was sold in 2000 for $43,875.Standard 17th century borders adorn the two fragments in Istanbul(130)Two-medallion layouts also exist,although one must be wary of re-configurations.The carpet from Anton Danker is similar to that in the Jim Dixon Collection(131)It has remarkably invasive secondaries,and a rare medallion repeat in the lateral.Two blue-ground pieces have been auctioned:at  Sothebys in 2013,sold for $64,850;and a well travelled carpet(1986-88-89-)was sold in 1991 at Christies for $19,250(132)A further medallion variant is known in three examples,two of which are in Istanbul(133)A one and two-halves layout rests upon a field of leaves and palmettes,actually modelled on the classic red Ground Floral Isfahans,albeit miniaturised.The two Istanbul pieces have an unusual border  reminiscent of the style seen on the Ottoman kilim divided between various collections( and illustrated Here )The third known example was sold at Sothebys in 1992 for $36,335.The Ottoman kilim border also appears on a carpet in Istanbul,which features a new medallion fill of suculent vegetable palmettes,the apogee of which is a carpet with Moshe Tabibnia(134)The known group with this medallion ornament is listed here for completeness:another Istanbul carpet lacks the radiant kilim border;an example sold at Christies in 1975 was the subject of an article in Weltkunst magazine(135);an interesting village type rug is in Budapest(136);and similar carpets were in the Barbieri Collection and with Bernheimer(137)It seems that the design migrated to a group of Kula carpets(137a)Another cluster features a pattern with foreshortened medallions on a blue field.Such a carpet,ex-Baron Tucher,was offered at Nagels in 1994.It had been published by Martin in 1908.Another was sold at Christies in 2014.In very good condition from the Damiano Collection,it realised $230,500(138) An item formerly with Boralevi re-appeared in Herrmann`s ATT-5.Thirty three years earlier another example had brought just $8,525 at Sothebys New York(139)A further related group features three medallions(140)Sold for $27,015 at Christies in 1997,the first example in Plate 140 had initially surfaced at Sothebys London in 1977,and then in 1978,where it went for 1,250 pounds.Its last auction appearance was at Christies in 2004,where, still unrestored, it struggled to reach 7170 pounds.An example was published by Erdmann(see Hali 1-4-343)and the MAK`s carpet in Vienna had already appeared in Sarre-Trenkwald(140)Walter Hawley published a two medallion version in 1913.An example from the Ballard Collection uses an allover design.(141)Fragments from two such carpets are in store at the V&A,and another was offered by Zia Bozoglu(142)A different group is best represented by a carpet in Vienna with a Fertek border;another piece,now in an American Collection,went unsold at Rippon Boswell`s in November 1980; another carpet was also ignored at the Dorotheum in 2013(143)A group with large quatrefoil medallions is spearheaded by the famous Ballard carpet with rare forked-leaf border and design recalling the Blue Mosque tiles in Tabriz (144)The layout appears in other guises,including a  nod to the Cairene carpet makers,via Finarte`s in 2003;and an impressive piece with Cairene influenced borders in the V&A(145)A number of others reside in the Vakiflar Museum in Istanbul,and a third was cold-shouldered at Christies in 2004 against a modest estimate of 6-8000 pounds(146)The glorious red ground colours have been replaced at this stage by a dull brown red,typical of 18th-19th century production.One last example was sighted on ebay,from where it vanished overnight(147)A maverick  group of pendant carpets without medallions can be seen in Plate 148.The design is an array of ascending and descending arrowheads fitted into each other,eliminating the need for a fixed ground colour.The Berlin carpet was naturally a Bode piece;of the Paris fragment there are no good reproductions except a murky slide;the Zaleski rug was previously at Lefevre´s in 1979,whence it passed to the Wher Collection.This group has also been attributed to Ladik,or even Konya.Two exceptional carpets with large medallions can be seen in Plate 149.A carpet which sold twice at Sothebys in 1992 and 2006 leads us into the category of the Small Medallion Ushaks(“SMUs”)An auction-casualty,it sold for $20,185 in 1992 but attracted only $12,000 of offers in 2006(149)The Bausback carpet,later with Chris Alexander,was sold for $76,440 at Christies in 1998,a price reflecting its uniquity.A further two carpets demonstrate the change in styles of the 19th century(150)The carpet from the Mast Collection was sold at Skinners in 1992 for $8800,de-accessioned from the Historic Deerfield Museum in Massachusetts.It was then very worn and tired.An example published in the THC Series(Catalogue 5)is shown for comparison,and was attributed to the Kula-Manissa area.A last medallion carpet is the “Waterloo” carpet published by Cardinal&Harford as their jubilee announcement:it was said to have been sold in 1815 by that company.Whether this carpet matches the original invoice is debatable;it seems more like a Victorian production(151)

The fourth major group of Ushak carpets are the Small-Medallion Ushaks,or “SMU`s”These are the small carpets from an area known for its large sizes.They can be divided into two groups based on the shape of the field.The first and slightly more numerous is the “Animal Pelt” style,so-called as it suggests a skin stretched to dry.The second type is here called the round,or”Bookcover” style,for obvious reasons.They are best illustrated in black and white.Plate 153 shows the two types:left:animal pelt.Right:round,or bookcover style.There are sub-groups based on certain chief features or borders.Starting with the animal pelt group,four pieces employ dotted spandrels not unlike the ground colour of the Andre-Jacquemart rug(see plate 104)A version in Philadelphia features lattice-star spandrels with Ghoul-border(155a)The Bardini example surely takes pride of place with its refined proportions,although Ellis disliked the border.A carpet reproduced by Neugebauer-Orendi in the twenties is too indistinct,but appears to employ a similar border to the item sold at Sothebys in 1986 for 18,700 pounds.It was later offered by a German dealer for 235,000 Deutschmark.None of the three displays a standard SMU border,in fact they are Ladik-style.The Sothebys carpet appears younger than the Bardini,and features a lamp-like talisman against the evil eye,or Nazar(155)This occurs in a large sub-group with the animal-pelt design,less in the bookcover versions,where it is usually much scaled-down.Versions of this talisman are known with two forms facing each other or the same direction(154+154a)Two examples in the animal-pelt group employ a blue cloudband border,uncommon as the bands are usually drawn in alternating colours(156)The Herrmann piece was formerly with Raymond Bernadout,and was auctioned at Sothebys in 1985 for $22,000;and again at Sothebys in 1991 for $60,500.The second fragmented carpet,from the Bartels Collection,was sold at Rippon Boswell in 1995 for $21,545.As with the LMU`s and Star Ushaks,new medallions can be extrapolated from the corner spandrels,all of great beauty and individuality(152)The SMU design itself can also be understood as a medallion placed within the ever repeating larger medallions,i.e the medallion in the center is a smaller secondary.Generally the spandrels are joined together in the middle,thus creating the illusion of an enclosed field.This effect was also employed by the Transylvanian carpet makers,although the archaic Turkmen feeling of major and minor göls had been largely lost.A frequently used border is the cloudband.A piece at Sothebys in 1978 found no takers;the Pogliaghi Museum rug has but the narrowest of inner guards;and the McMullan has a border in yellow cloudbands(157)The Ethnographic Museum in Munich possesses an example; the carpet published by Herrmann in his tenth book was purchased at an outoftheway sale in New Hampshire in 1988 for $59,400(158)Two carpets feature a hanging banner or alam,much like those seen in religious and military processions.A carpet once with Reinisch was lately tracked to Maastricht in 2015;the Tabibnia rug seems to evade correct reproduction(159)The V&A`s rug has a dire pink but also a rare and interesting medallion taken from a large carpet(159a)A further pair features a half Lotus Palmette replacing the talisman, although the Berlin carpet has a Fertek border.The Christies carpet was sold in 1996 for $43,610 and was later in a Pennsylvanian Collection(160)A strange carpet published in SOT VII was exhibited at the 1950 Hamburg Exhibition;Erdmann dated it to the 18th century;E.Herrmann to the 17th.The piece has curiously drawn surrounds with a lower border design seen in 19th century West Anatolian carpets;the V&A piece has large areas of suspicious pink,and although dated to the 16th or 17th century has areas of red-stained warps where the dye has run!(161)Another variation has cloudband borders and plain field,such as a carpet once with Halevim,and the Martin-Tabibnia sold at Sothebys in 2009 $169,650(162)A rug later with Battilossi was sold at Skinners in 1986 for $29,700.SMU carpets are rarely misshapen,but one such did turn up at Sothebys in October 1998(163)Another is at the Textile Museum,with its companion piece(164)The Bardini Carpet is perhaps a 19th century production with stifly drawn borders and pretty colour.An unorthodox rug from David Sorgato with oversized medallion has all the right stuff though;perhaps an 18th century  rural copy.(165)The V&A `s second SMU is a classically drawn beauty with Ladik minor guards.A Ballard carpet with large rewoven areas in the right hand border has the more ghoulish “octopus” borders and a pinched medallion(166)The last subgroup in the animal-pelt division features a three chained pendulum in the upper field.The choice of border is always the Fertek.The minor guards are usually a fine meander with stars on the outside,and an interlocked floral meander with “P” shapes for the inner guard.The corner spandrels are invariably rendered in dark blue arabesque,sometimes with yellow or olive.One example spent many years with Wilhelm von Bode,and was donated to the Berlin Islamic Art Museum in 1996.The Williamsburg is a very pretty carpet but perhaps heavily restored(167) Said to have been in excellent condition,a rug at Sothebys in 1991 went for $181,500(168)Once with David Sorgato,the carpet in Plate  169 subsequently passed to Moshe Tabibnia.An example at Christies in 1996 sold for 32,200 pounds(169)Two very similar carpets are shown in plate 170.The Halevim had been sold at Christies London in 1982 for 17,600 pounds.A rug from Cittone,ex Fritz von Kaulbach,was sold at Lefevre`s in 1980 for 19,000 pounds(170)Described by Hali as an extremely good buy for an international dealer at $48,300,the Sothebys lot in 171 was later published by Moshe Tabibnia,whilst another item scaled the heights at R&B Wiesbaden,achieving $237,500.Plate 172 shows two rugs from the Philadelphia Museum of Art.Another carpet at Sothebys in 2012 failed to find a buyer against an estimate of  40-60,000 pounds .Christies example from 1993(173) resembles the fake in Plate 196,with its wide outer borders.It had been purchased from Consul Bernheimer around 1910 and was still in impeccable condition .Yellow spandrels are usually reserved for the round bookcover type,but occur at least twice in the animal-pelt rugs.A fine-looking example was auctioned at Sothebys London for $216,100(174)Published by an Australian syndicate in 1980,and later with Tabibnia,it had been previously auctioned at Rippon Boswell in 1993 for 180,000 Deutschmark.In the 1989 Battenberg catalogue it was reproduced by courtesy of the Textile Gallery.The central medallion is off-center,but this is perhaps intentional.Somewhat further afield,a white ground animal pelt rug was discovered in the Ulu Cami in Aksaray.It has all the features of the classic  Ushak models.The central medallion has been taken from a four-lobed carpet(see Plate 85)and the border is also derived from larger carpets.We have seen that the Chintamani occurred on Ushak carpets.Perhaps this rare item really did originate in Aksaray,which was mentioned in reports from the 14th century as an important carpet making center(174a)Similar in style,but more obviously from the Karapinar area,are two notable fragments once in the European art trade(174b).Two long rugs in 174c are of interest.The Sothebys example, sold for $9,200 in 1997,copies a secondary medallion from the Star Ushak format,and also the lattice and plump Lotuses.The medallion device is repeated in the  spandrels,and the border cloudbands turn the corners perfectly.A heavily damaged rug from the Vakiflar,published in Ghereh,seems more rural and easterly,with clear signs of over-freighting.A last animal-pelt rug with dervish border ( Here)was sold at R&B in 2007 for $24,410(175


The second category of SMU carpets are less common,and it has been argued convincingly that these carpets are earlier.They feature a rounded field outline similar to that seen on bookcovers.The Fertek border is still dominant.More yellow is used,and there are some interesting variations.The spandrels are formed out of arabesque cloudbands,which cannot be fully re-constructed as in the first group;the center is always missing.”The spandrels have a trailing,amorphous disposition”wrote C.G Ellis.Three carpets with implied prayer mihrabs are amongst the oldest(175a)A rug from the Barbieri Collection later passed to Bausback.All three examples feature a simplified Lotus Palmette medallion,as seen in plate 180.The spandrels are evocatively drawn and recall the filligree designs on a yatagan made for Süleyman the Magnificent in the first half 16th century by the Persian master Ahmed Tekel (175b) ,and now in the MET.The Rhode Island fragment`s mihrab is outlined in white; a similar complete example sold at Christies in 2011 for $284,000. Plate 176 shows a carpet before and after restoration which was sold at Sothebys in 1978 for 18,000 pounds and re-surfaced in the catalogue of the Milan ICOC.The Herrmann rug has an overlong field,yet is perhaps from the same source as the short Alexander piece.Sold for $110,000 at Sothebys New York in September 1992,(177)the Chris Alexander carpet had been exhibited at the first Munich ICOC conference.Plate 178 shows three charming examples:a rug shown at the Istanbul ICOC;a carpet from the Scholtz Collection,somewhat skewed,still sold for $158,500 at Christies New York in 2008;and the Lefevre carpet with unusual medallion was sold in 1978 for 14,000 pounds.SMU`s are rare in East European collections.Plate 179 shows an example,apparently restored,and the carpet from Baron Tucher,used in most editions of Bode-Kuhnel,which has gone missing.A rug in the MAK,Vienna,is a lively example and shares the same yellow inner guard as a carpet with Tabibnia, whose hectic borders are counterbalanced by a serene Lotus Palmette medallion.The carpet was formerly in an Austrian Collection and was later offered at Christies in 2000,where it failed to find a buyer(180)Both carpets in plate 181 feature yellow spandrels;as do the three pieces in plate 182.They adroitly combine the bookcover spandrels with those from the animal-pelt group.A rare Nazar talisman graces The Bernheimer and Philadelphia carpets,but the latter is a strange production(as noted by Ellis)and might be forensically investigated.In 183 Chris Alexander`s rug has some adventurous field-design and bright yellow ground border. An exceptional carpet in Lyons has the rare yellow border;a simpler carpet in Cluj shares the same inner border guard;and the rug once in the Sursock Museum is perhaps a later copy of the Cluj(184)

A small group of prayer rugs of the so-called “Bellini” type ,should also be mentioned.They may represent a point in time when carpets of the earlier school(Holbein-Lotto) cross over into the Ushak period.Five such items are known,all displaying the “re-entry” style.The Berlin example(185) has the Nazar talisman in place and a classic SMU medallion.A carpet which graced the Eskenazi,Halevim and Wher Collections was sold at Christies London in 2001(Halevim sale) for $117,090.It features a Holbein type central medallion and crudely drawn Kufi border in the late Lotto style.To facilitate the border flow miniature carpets have been depicted(185)A carpet in Paris has all the trappings of a small medallion Ushak but with “tombstone” outline(186)The Pogliaghi Museum example with worn visible lazy lines has a central medallion as seen on the Tabibnia carpet in 180  .A last carpet  from the Ballard Collection(MET),has become ruralised with its arabesque border and cliche minbars(187).But the proprietary medallion and Nazar talisman are still in place,and the piece could serve as a springboard for the cataloging of a whole other group of “Ushak” carpets.A rug in the Sforza Castle has the same border as the Rossi in 81, perhaps exonerating that item(187a)Later rugs pursue the inverted double-niche theme.A carpet in the Bristol City Museum awaits better reproduction; the item sold at Rippon Boswell has a Dazgiri type border and was sold at Sothebys New York in 2006 for $12,000(188)

The medallion carpets soldier on into the 18th century.Three pieces in Plate 189  testify to this.Signs of decay are apparent in the increasing use of minor ornaments for prettification,and a more abandoned look.The Keir Collection item has stranded rosettes in the field which would have been better left out.The DuPont carpet features a reprise of the Bardini spandrels(see 155)The Keir seems older than the McMullan,which has ghoulish cloudbands,but is still livelier. The carpets in 190 exhibit a reduced scale of vision,paving the way for later village models.The Eskenazi carpet,exhibited at 1999`s Hali fair, fell through at Christies in 2003.Grote-Hasenbalg`s Melas-like rug has not been seen since the twenties.Davide Halevim`s long rug sold at his sale in 2001 for 15,275 pounds.Previously with Dani Ghigo,it has the size and shape of the large medallion Dazgiri carpets.A carpet from the Price Collection went unsold at Sothebys in 2014,having previously been with Bud Holland and Bausback.It employs the animal field with octopus border(193)Four very similar examples take the animal pelt ground-plan and simplify it in a very attractive manner.A piece at Rippon Boswell`s went unsold in 2003;a makover and better foto still did not help when it again fell through in Wiebaden in 2007. Herrmann presented his example in untouched condition(194)A further example was on offer at Sothebys New York in 1997;and a piece at Grogans in 2009 likewise fell through(195)A survey of such rugs would not be complete without some reference to the known copies.One such was sold at Rippon Boswell(correctly identified) in 2012 for 2684 euro.It has a robotic manner and is perhaps based on a carpet sold at Christies in 1993(see plate 173)A second,less convincing rug, was at Austrian Auctions in 2013 and sold for 10,000 euro.The continuing success of fakes,and especially Tuducs,can only be explained by their corrupting influence.(196)A carpet in Chicago from the Tyson Collection is also too good to be true,and might be investigated(197)

Some handsome carpets with Sickle-Leaf lattice were produced,although just four have been published:the Berlin carpet with resplendent yellow ground;the V&A`s Inv..449,rarely illustrated and with a more rural touch;a carpet with Cittone(198a)and the Sothebys 1999 example,first seen with Bolour and now in Milan.It was sold in New York in 2006 for $54,000(198)Only two carpets are known with an allover Fertek border design(199)The McMullan is the more impressive;but the Ballard is a prayer rug.Cloudbands are not so common in Turkish as in Persian carpets,and the two carpets in plate 200 suggest that someone had seen the Divrigi carpets in plate 2.Friedrich Spuhler was unaware of the existance of a second carpet when he published his example,now in the Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection.However the Dani Ghigo piece had been published some years before in Hali 6-2-85,from 1984.It reveals that the Thyssen carpet must have had ragged palmette borders,such as were sewn onto the Lugano example.They have been digitally removed here for increased legibility.The design is clearly derived from the Persian Red-Ground Floral carpets of Isfahan,with the addition of some plump Lotus Palmettes taken from the Star Ushak scheme.The cloudband layout implies a design of allover medallions.The Ghigo carpet has an inner guard similar to the white-ground chintamani LMU in the MET(see 117)A third cloudband carpet in Ankara(200a)has an aristocratic Vajra arrangement of cloudbands set within an endless  lattice.Naturally,allover Lotus Palmette carpets may not fail.Plate 201 shows a piece published by Aslanapa with revolving palmettes and an eli belinde border.Four rugs depict a more traditional Lotus,turned at different angles.The Cassirer fragment was a mainstay of various Bode-Kühnel editions:the Bardini Museum fragment has a nicely drawn Fertek border in yellow; a rug sold at Lefevre`s in 1975 and then 1984 realised 7,200 pounds;an example in the MET has an extra lattice effect in the field(202 + 203)Another carpet with implicit lattice and allover plump Lotuses was at the Halevim Sale in 2001,fetching $71,560(204)

To conclude this entry, plate 205, a four-lobed carpet,is now in Leipzig:plate 206, another such,sold at Sothebys in 1978:plate 207 ,Wolf Collection (see plate 23);plate 208 a closeup of the Tabibnia carpet in plate 60;Hopefully the LMU carpet is still in situ in the Muradiye Mosque,Manissa(209);an unconventional version of the LMU design was found at Divrik(210) an interesting LMU fragment of later period at the Sailer Sale(211)was attributed to East Anatolia;an unusual LMU derivative should be mentioned for its “Smyrna” type chroma,now in Philadelphia(212)A modest but surely very old fragment was auctioned at Sothebys London 1999 for 1840 pounds(213)


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Overlooked for many years,no doubt due to its pastiche-like appearance and poor reproduction in the Breck-Morris catalogue,is a Ballard Collection rug with medallion and Islamic inscription,now in the MET (22.100.93)The author is thankful to Fatima Zutic for spotlighting the importance of this piece.


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