Friday 9 March 2012


This piece was offered for sale at Lefevre`s in April 1984,and again in June 1985.It is one of a small group of five with rounded central medallions,the other three having been published by Batari,Douglas,and Ronnie Newman.
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1-Lefevre June 1985
There are two major types of 19th century Kula rugs,the Demirci(medallion)type,and the Komürcü(prayer type)These two are often confused in the rug literature.A third cluster features large palmettes and is used mainly on long rugs.Within the Demirci there are again three subgroups:Group A,perhaps the oldest,is also closest to its Transylvanian forebears;Group B,perhaps the most common,with an elongated lozenge medallion.Both groups feature vases  as in Transylvanian carpets .Group C  carpets employ a rhomboid medallion flanked above and below by tulip and carnation forms,again betraying their Cairene origins.All three major groups invariably  employ a yellow-ground border with an undulating meander and 3-flower design,which also occurs in East Turkestan carpets.
2-Group A

3-Group B

4-Group C

5-Large Palmette group

From the Manoyan Group,the Douglas carpet best demonstrates the Cairene connection,when placed side by side with a carpet from the Textile Museum.The Douglas piece has rounded corner medallions in the "etcetera" style.The seahorse appendages connected to the central medallion(via Transylvania)are actually the Saz leaves of the Egyptian carpet`s field,transformed and attached.(the leaves are quite distinct on the large palmette group)The colour schemes are not unalike,with much white,pale yellow,and strong primaries.Even the overall shape in this case is similar.



Technically the Kula(Demirci)carpets have a depressed warp,and use a curious wefting technique:rows of single weft alternate with two shoots,producing a loose and floppy weave.This is not unlike the "soft"vase technique of three wefts employed in the Khotan carpets(with a similar handle)One might describe the Kula technique as a soft vase(3 weft) weave with a row of knots inserted between the three wefts.Despite the use of Turkish knotting(as opposed to the Khotan Persian knot)the backs are quite similar.



Prayer rugs from the Kula area have a long history,perhaps due to the proximity of Ghiordes.There are numerous reproductions of the simpler type of 18th-19th century prayer rugs,usually in black and white,and instantly forgettable.Presumably large numbers were faked.The "Komürcu" type of Kula carpet simply refers to any rug with a brown ground,but has come to be associated with the prayer rugs,which are in fact a mixture of the Bellini Style and the highest quality Transylvanian carpets,albeit for the modest purse.The best types are characterised by an upper panel of calligraphic inscriptions,which in later(or simpler)examples either disappears or is perfunctory.A salient example,now in the Keir Collection,retains its re-entry modus and Siebenburger Cartouche borders.

12-Keir Collection

13-Nagels 1992
The early 19th century piece shown here has lost its closed re-entry character but still sports a pidgin calligraphy.The border is typical,and interestingly employs a ragged leaf and vase carpet palmette as seen in a group of Indo-Persian Red-Ground Floral carpets.In the late 19th century this cluster squeezes a vase between the lower ex-mihrab,with a large sprig of flowers in the field.One last Transylvanian reminiscence.

This may also be a symbolic depiction of a grave,adorned with flowers.A famous group of Kula carpets,the Mezzarlik, represents a graveyard with cypress trees.

One last connection to East Turkestan can be found in a small group of prayer rugs,which also employ a calligraphic panel above the mihrab.In terms of this discussion a long shot,but who knows which ideas were transferred back and forth along the Pan-Turkic Highway?
 more East Turkestan prayer rugs

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