Thursday 16 May 2013


Appliqué is an ancient textile technique,with which fabrics of any size or shape can be manufactured.It does not require a loom,and was probably developed as a repair method.

The oldest known example is a leather tomb canopy from the 21st Dynasty in Egypt,circa 1040 BC,which is 5-700 years earlier than the Royal felts at Pazyryk

1-Courtesy Edward Loring,CESRAS

Now stored in a large wooden case in the Egyptian Museum,Cairo,the  Baldachin was discovered in 1881 in the Royal Tomb complex at Thebes.It was designed to cover the funerary remains of one Isetemkheb B,the daughter of a High Priest of Amun.The “Box” measures 280x240x216 cms(length x width x height)The shrine was examined in 2007 by a team of Russian archaeologists under the supervision of Edward Lorring,who concluded that the top and sides were all contemporary,and from the same workshop.The Baldachin has now been entombed in its case for more than a hundred years,but Cesras has obtained funds for its conservation,after which this important textile can go on show.



4-All fotos courtesy of Edward Loring,Cesras

The fascinating story behind this unique object can be read in full HERE

And a Flickr Foto Gallery can be viewed HERE

5-From:The Funeral tent of an Egyptian Queen

There are no extent Mamluk tents,but after the Ottoman takeover in Egypt in 1517,doubtless numerous examples found their way to Istanbul as war-booty.The Mamluks were no strangers to Appliqué 

6-The woolen Blazon of Jukandar

7-Benaki Museum

The Blazon illustrated is executed in the couched Appliqué  style,with a white cord outlining hiding the stitch.The Benaki example is a simple hemmed Appliqué ,of the type most commonly used on Egyptian-Ottoman War-Tents

8-Atasoy,page 191,use of leather strips

The above example,from a tent-wall in Istanbul,features both types,with the couched style used in the upper border.

Apart from the large collection of tents in the Topkapi,and in the Istanbul and Ankara Military Museums,many more example survive in European collections.Starting from the late 17th Century,many pieces were acquired as war-booty,although some were acquired from antiquarian sources,such as the great Dresden tent,or even purchased in Turkey.Not a military leader who was present at the second siege of Vienna on September 12 1683,and who came away without a Turkish tent;not a museum  without a tent once in the possession of the unfortunate Kara Mustapha,Grand Wazir and mastermind behind the 2nd siege of Vienna .The subsequent skirmishes on the  Ottoman-Hapsburg demarcation line and the capture of tents defined the outer limits of Turkish power in Europe.

The majority of surving tents from the 17th and 18th century are in a style defined by Ottoman sources as "Egyptian" It seems that Selim II drained all possible resources from the artisan`s guilds in Egypt after 1517.For a certain time Egyptian Masters would have transmitted their know-how to Ottoman employees in the Meterhane,or Corps of the Imperial Tent Pitchers and Tentmakers.This formed the basis style of all known Ottoman tents,with variations depending on degrees of luxury.

The Mamluke Sultan`s tent is described as all-red in colour,and a 19th century example in Istanbul is perhaps a throwback

Istanbul is rich in complete tents,but also harbours a large number of single pieces(i.e sides,walls,canopies,roofs etc)One pitched example is from the 17th century with hemmed Appliqué

10-Atasoy page 163
It is a double-column tent without struts

11-Atasoy page 85

and an intricate border design

12-Atasoy 164b
Note how the Appliqué is piled on top of itself,pyramid-style.

Typical border elements also include the swirling sufi design,well-known from a group of Turkish carpets

13-Bausback 1983,page 39


But whose origins lay in far-flung places

15-Siyah Qalem

and the double-helix

16-Atasoy page 200


18-Bad Wildungen,Kassel,Germany

The reader will have noticed how often the name"Atasoy" has fallen here,and without Professor Atasoy`s book this essay could have not have been penned.In 2000 she published the standard work on the subject:"Otağ-ı-Hümayun"(The Ottoman Imperial tent Complex)However,she was unable to inspect the Dresden tent collection at the time,which has subsequently been restored and put on show.There are a number of tents in Dresden,including complete examples,baldachins,roof tops and single side pieces.The most important is Y364,code-name Kiyowsky,a tent so large that a horse can be driven through it

19-The Kiyowsky-from Schuckelt,Osmanische Zelte

Acquired in 1729,it was finally unveiled in 2010 with an illumination of 1001 lights


21-Die Türkische Cammer,page 314

22-The Dresden Armoury Tent,20 mtrs long,8 mtrs wide,and 6 mtrs high


A second tent roof at Dresden is notable for its sampling of classical Turkish embroidery





Dresden also has a number of Tuğ,or horse-hair standards,which were put up in front of high-ranking tent-owners as a mark of status.They are artworks in themselves



A recurring theme in the tent environment are the rows of Mihrabs plastering the inner chamber,like multiple tents within a tent.Atasoy records all kinds of tents and their functions-bath and toilet tents,ablution tents,even execution tents-but nowhere is mention made of Prayer tents.That the common soldier would have prayed in the open is self-evident,but surely the aristocracy would have had private prayer arrangements,for sufi gatherings,and for the Sultan and his entourage to steel themselves through prayer,before battle?

The Dresden tent is a supreme example of  Otağ.Another masterpiece has been pitched at Wawel Castle in Cracow since 1933


It is famed for its legendary blueness

31-Atasoy,page 245

But looks even more imposing in black and white

32-Les collections du Wawel-236-The blue tent

The second tent at Wawel is a contrast in red

33-Hali 37-34-The red tent


Further examples are the Marquee in the Czartoryski Museum in Cracow,which is a melange of 17th and 18th century styles

35-Atasoy 243

and whose flanks are curiously reminiscent of a Kurdish or Khorasan carpet once in the Kevorkian Collection

A charming 18th century tent is in the Kornik Library Warsaw

37-Atasoy page 248
Its Fleur de Lys border recalls the exquisite Ottoman panel sold at Christies London on 6 October 2011 for $133,500,almost too small to have been part of a tent

38-Christies Islamic 6 October 2011-Lot 324


Austrian Collections are surprisingly lacking in Ottoman tents.The two most well known are both in the Arsenal,Vienna

40-Hali 37-31

The above was once the tent of  Damad Ali Pasha

42-The Arsenal,Vienna

A third example is the Esterhazy Tent in Forchtenstein Castle


In Lvov,Ukraine,the History Museum has a number of important examples,including a roof piece


which resembles the side panels on the Tent in Bad Wildungen,Kassel


and which automatically recalls the solitary Mamluk Saf in Chicago

A fragment from the Karlsruhe "Turkish Booty" Collection is refined and Persianate in expression


a quality which can still be found in later Qajar tents

48-Sothebys London April 1991-Lot 12

Munich once had five tents,but all are lost except for one large roof-piece in the Ethnographic Museum

49-Atasoy page 266

A marvellous tent is apparently still held in the Naval Museum,Venice

50-Atasoy,page 287

In customary beast-of-prey manner,European leaders often took tents as booty from one another,which had once been appropriated from the Turk

51-Atasoy 149

The above taken fom the Polish King Augustus the Strong at the Battle of Klissow in 1702 by Charles XII,now at the Army Museum in Stockholm.

A lesser known tent is in the Royal Armoury,Madrid,and is said to have been a gift from Sultan Süleyman to King Francis I of France,from whom it was captured by Charles V at the Battle of Pavia(1525)and then taken to the Royal Palace.However,this tent may not be so old.

52-Royal Armoury,Madrid
The roof ornamentation is similar to late 19th and 20th century Egyptian Khyamiya


54-Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia

The Budapest Museum tent used to be kitted out with Transylvanian rugs

55-Atasoy,page 279

Such a cache of rugs would be too heavy to transport,even by Ottoman standards,and so felt mosaic carpets were probably in use

56-Karlsruhe-before 1683
The above part of the "Turkish Booty" from Markgraf Ludwig Wilhelm, aka "Turkish-Louie"

The technique is also a kind of reversed applique,or inlay

57-Islamische Kunst-Eothen,page 98

The Balkans region seemed to have specialised in similar felt carpets,which were also manufactured in Resht,Persia

58-Banya Luka-Michael Franses

The historical importance of the Turkish war-tents is that they can be dated quite accurately,at least in terms of their terminus ante quem.During the Ottoman campaigns besieged towns would be engulfed by a sea of tents,whose visual impact was paramount and intimidating.

59-Atasoy,page 182-Istanbul

After the rout of the Ottoman armies at Kahlenberg,the Polish King Jan Sobieski sat musing in the tent of his adversary Kara Mustapha.He wrote to his wife” is impossible to describe the refined luxury which prevails in the tents of the Wazir.Baths,little gardens,fountains,rabbit warrens and even a parrot...The Wazir had taken a beautiful ostrich from a royal castle and had had its head cut off so that it would not fall again into the hands of the is impossible to describe everything that belongs to my booty”

Carpets undoubtedly belonged to those Spoils,as Erdmann noted,and a particular group of Tent kilims has been isolated.Notable amongst them is the piece in the Bavarian Army Museum,Ingolstadt,which is said to have been taken at the Battle of Mohacs in 1683,alongside this tent


There is no proof,however,that the kilim accompanied the captured tent : as a foto from Belkis Balpinar shows,it was too large to fit

61-Rageth-page 196

Nevertheless a classic of its type,the group is characterised by its large sizes,coarse shiny wool,S-spinning and dovetail kelim technique,presumably acquired from the Egyptian Copts.


This imposing kilim(4,80 x 5,80 cms!)seems never to have been published in full.It relates to another piece from the Gümüshlu Mosque

63-Hali 6-1-16

A third example,also with double helix/trefoil borders,is in the Vakflar

64-Balpinar/Hirsch 118
and one last example,once with Jürg Rageth,and in a similar style,was initially declared as Anatolian

65-Islamische Kunst,Eothen,p.97

In the foto,it appears to have a Z-S Spun warp.Weft spinning cannot be determined.Hali reports the sale of a further fragment from the same kilim at Rippon Boswell in 2010(Sale 25 September,lot 114)with  S-spinning.Thus it is an Egyptian Kilim.The apparent Z-spun warp can only be the result of reversed transparencies in the original printed catalogue from 2000

66-Hali 166-121-Alberto Levi on Rugrabbit

This tiny fragment,measuring 0.20 x 0.36 cms,sold for $7,195,a measure of its importance.

Two kilims with allover palmette designs,possibly derived from Scutari velvets,were discovered in Beyshehir and Divrigi.The Beyshehir piece has already been discussed in these pages- Beyshehir

67-THC Kilims-1

The second fragment with an allover design,but without lattice,was found at Divrigi amongst a group of other important carpets.Both rugs have the typical tent border


Leading on from these,but surely later and artistically less ambitious are a group of five kilims,blueground with yellow and an otherwise restrained palette,which have all appeared at auction since 2005

69-Sothebys 12 October 2005-Lot 7-sold for  2400 pounds 

A further two pieces sold within one day of each other in London

70-Christies 16 April 2007-Lot 3-sold for 2160 pounds

71-Sothebys 17 April 2007-Lot 12-sold for 2040 pounds

A further example sold at Rippon Boswell on the 26 September 2009

72-RB Lot 207
And a fifth example appeared at the time of writing
73-Rippon Boswell 25 May 2013.Lot 46

No technical information is available for these  items,which are surely much later than the seminal group-possibly copied elsewhere.They share the long elems and narrow borders.

A design with addorsed sickle-leaf has come down to us

74-Balpinar Hirsch 114

A prayer carpet is also known,with a typical tent mihrab design

75-Petsopoulos-Tulips,Arabesques-page 154
Its inscribed cartouches await translation.

A fragment in Berlin has been described as Mamluk on stylistic grounds,although no technical information exists.It is presumably S-Spun

76-Enderlein-Orientalische Kelims-Abb.5

Another piece from perhaps the same kilim surfaced with Augusto Rillosi

77-Hali 93-135

A further fragment was discovered in Anatolia and C-14 dated to the 10th century.With S-Spinning

78-Rageth,Carbon Dating-207

The difference between  slit-kilim and dovetail is akin to that between the Turkish and Persian knot.

The most important group of Egyptian kilims are those with medallion design,the majority of which were found at the Great Mosque in Divrigi.

Mostly surviving in fragmentary condition,they nevertheless bridge the gap between the Cairene carpet tradition and that of the Safavid silk kilims.Imbued with the zesty War-tent character,they influenced the Karapinar"ribbon"style carpets of the 17th and 18th centuries.

The supreme example is a fragment with three medallion design

79-Balpinar-Hirsch 112-433x142 cms

Replete with Lotus-Palmettes,Penny Oakley has commented on the occurrence of rear-view floral motifs with crossed sepals,a feature later appearing in the Karapinar carpet group.


The border is an adaptation from the Safavid silk kilims,appearing also in large carpets,but combined with the tent trefoil.


The cartouche familiar from Safavid carpets is an Egyptian invention.Inklings of the medallion form,which surely also anticipates the classic Salor Choval Göl,can be found in Coptic weavings of the 4th century


A second large fragment in the Vakflar Museum sports a double helix border

83-Balpinar/Hirsch 117

yet a third fragment with generous drawing is a terrible loss

84-Balpinar/Hirsch 116

These kilims are very large.One more or less complete piece has survived

85-Hali 6-1-14-395 x 235 cms

with a field design of sickle-leaves and tulips.The dyes on these kilims have faded.Beige tones and former red dyes now mingle together distorting the initial colour palette.This is perhaps due to the presence of logwood-type dyes(Bakkam,in Turkish)

Four fragments of a medallion kilim also surfaced in 1991(see Hali 152-123)Their chroma is much more pronounced,with a draughtmanship more fastidious than the above cited examples.They are respectively in the Musee Guimet,the Sadberk Hanim Museum,the Wolf Collection,and the David Collection in Copenhagen

86-Musee Guimet-Hali 152

87-Sadberk Hanim Museum-Hali 166-46

88-Wolf Collection-Hali 92-104

The David Collection item consists of a last corner piece,two border sections-and a piece of field,suggesting that it was a whiteground floral kilim of the Rageth group

89-David Collection

90-David Collection Copenhagen

91-Cairene carpet fragment-Textile Museum
A large quirky patchwork of a medallion carpet was described as East Anatolian in the Kestner Museum catalogue.Its medallion has been reduced in the width

92-Kestner Museum Nr.7

Two further examples segue over into the "Karapinar"group of carpets with ribbon-like decoration,large blocks of colour,and outlining(when at all)in colour,and not in black

93-Berlin (Hali 166-47)

94-Rupea-Ionescu 236
The Rupea kilim is lacking in blue apart from some sewn on areas from another piece,but its connection to the " Konya Plain "Karapinar rugs is striking

95-Hali 61-173

96-Franz Sailer

The Sailer carpet was sold at Sothebys Olympia on 16 October 2002(Lot 45) for $34,535(see Hali 126-132)Another runner sold at Christies on May 1 2003,Lot 158 for $ 57,360,has a better use of white but some annoying field elements

97-Christies 2003

And a third carpet,also from Franz Sailer,has just one medallion and sold for $56,035 in 2006

98-Rippon Boswell 20 May 2006-Lot139

Art seems to imitate history in a kilim from the Wolf Collection,which has been influenced by carpets from the Tent/Kilim tradition,even to its Khyamiyah border

99-Hali 165-59

A larger group of medallion carpets with Tulip design was later copied in Konya and Ladik,but with black outlining

100-Hali 34-11-More Konya

101-Anthony Thompson-Lot 128-more Ladik

102-Alberto Levi 2-3-more Mujur

The apogee of weaving in this category is the Herrmann/Wher Collection fragment

103-Herrmann SOT X-Wher Collection
104-THC 2-0147 Vakflar
105-Wolf Collection-Atlantic ICOC 26

Five runnners complete the Group

106-Rijksmuseum Amsterdam,ex van Otten

107-Textile Museum

108-Sothebys 26 April 1995-Lot 185;Rippon Boswell May 2007-Lot 81


The above was sold at Rippon Boswell on 12 November 1994(Lot 140) for $111,725,and later re-offered on 17 October 1996(Lot 419) at Christies London(estimate  $ 32,00-47,000)

A fourth item was offered at Rippon Boswell on 20 November 2004,Lot 152,estimate 90,000 euro

110-Rippon Boswell 2004

A third type of Tulip medallion rug,now in the al-Sabah Collection,Kuwait,was first sold at Sothebys on 29 April 1981(Lot 121)


It passed to Eskenazi,who illustrated it in 1982


and lately Dr.Spuhler,in his catalogue to the Kuwait Collection,printed a further closeup


The carpet is notable for its abstract style and undeniable dramatic quality.

Not satisfied with having one piece,John Eskenazi later illustrated a second example

114-Hali 108

As iconic as the first,but more relaxed.

A last batch of rugs in the Tulip Medallion Group is spearheaded by a charismatic item once in the collection of American dealer Dennis Dodds

115-Hali 51-199

A splendid yastik from Ronnie Newman

116-Hali 54-145

An example from the Chris Alexander Collection

117-Alexander 335
A fragment from Bernard Voloder

118-Hali 58-162

With a border silmilar to a rug illustrated by Heinrich Jacoby in 1923


A third whiteground piece once with Bertram Frauenknecht

120-Hali 63,page 1

A carpet published in Nr 3 of the THC Catalogue series evinces all the Karapinar features,but with added black outlining

121-THC 3-0290
A runner at Rippon Boswells in 2004 again combines the ribbon effect with black outlining,and paves the way to the 19th century,as does a smaller Konya carpet from Peter Toliday

122-RB 64-172

123-ACOR 04-5

The last group with Tulip Medallions(or pommegranates,according to some)starts with a bang and ends with a wimper.The following piece obviously held some fascination for Hali`s ardent APG crew,as they reviewed it three times,in Hali 66-151,94-132,and 155-137.Indeed,its star seemed to rise continually,having been sold in 1992 for $16,500,in 1997 for $30,890,and a second time at RB `S in 2007 for $70,560


The design has had a makeover,has now more black outlining and an altogether more "professional"look.The carpet has been reduced in length,and the field tulips are now encased in a Lotto-like vice.It has become exceptionally busy.

This flows over into a garden or "Keyhole" type design

125-RB 17 November 2001-Lot 40

A second example demonstrates Wiesbaden`s undisputed leadership in this field

126-Rippon Boswell 19 May 2012,Lot 135

without doubt best of this type was from Eberhart Herrmann

127-ATT 2-6

which involuntarily evokes a Central Asian carpet acquired by Mr.Herrmann three books later through the good offices of Richard Purdon

128-ATT 5

A further four examples with medallion round off this group.

May Beattie found an example in the Pasha Mosque in Bor

129-Beattie 1976,page 70

130-Alberto Levi

Another example once with Raymond Benardout later passed to Roger Cavanagh

131-Hali 121-57

and the last piece was offered at Rippon Boswell`s on 4 December 2010-Lot 170,but failed to find a buyer at 2500€

132-RB 2010
Yet another piece illustrated by Beattie has a strange resemblance to an 18th century "Proto-Lenkoran" Carpet from the Davies Collection,now in the MET

133-Victoria & Albert Museum

134-ex Davies Collection,MET

Another tulip medallion rug with a foot in Ushak is the ex-Achdjian piece sold at Christies for $124,000

135-Christies 4 October 2011-Lot 33

A similar medallion appears on a piece in Berlin(see Hali 170-137)

136-Spuhler 24

The design occurs on the famous Cantoni carpet in Amsterdam,but the treatment is different,and the lack of outlining imbues the Cantoni with a sense of weightlessness

137-Hali 88-67

This zero-gravity effect is characteristic of the true"Karapinar" type.The majority of these pieces feature some kind of medallion,although fragments divided between Alexander and Achdjian play on an allover cartouche design,presumably adapted from grand Safavid forebears

138-Achdjian,Hali 100-74

139-Alexander page 247

140-Grogans  January 2009-Lot 16

Another iconic Alexander rug is the piece with cut medallion in the Transylvanian style and leopard spots

141-Alexander page 169

A similar piece is in Istanbul

142-Ertug 4

And a third example was in the Ballard Collection

143-Ballard-Heron 79

Three items feature Chintamani and Tulip

144-THC 2-0154

145-Istanbul-Hali 166-43

The third rug in Philadelphia incorporates the allover-cartouche design

146-Ellis-Philadelphia 36

An early medallion type features an X-cross dividing the interior of the medallion into four sections

147-Istanbul-THC 4-0314

148-Alberto Levi 2-1

149-Eskenazi Hali 43

150-Hubel Collection,Beattie page 67

An ancient carpet illustrated by Jacoby has a wild overgrown border reminiscent of the Ingolstadt kilim`s jagged brambles

151-Ballard Collection-Burns,91

This relates to a carpet illustrated by Eberhart Herrmann(via M.Franses)with double medallion

152-Herrmann,ATT 5-23a

a carpet which  recalls the famous Vienna Calligraphy/Medallion carpet

A fragment in the Chris Alexander Collection is notable for its resplendent colouring

154-Alexander page 231

Eskenazi`s ungainly example serves to illustrate the uneven quality in this group

155-Hali 90-47

But McMullan`s  yastik is a singular beauty

156-McMullan 109

as are two fragments in the Mevlana Lodge,Konya

157-Hali 166-45

158-Hali 166-51

A later piece illustrated in Hali 87 is bold and jolly


although it did not look so happy when May Beattie discovered it in the Sultan Selim mosque at Karapinar

160-Beattie,page 74

Another piece from John Eskenazi conveys the same joie de vivre,featuring the occasional use of white cotton common to many of these rugs

161-Hali 58-61

A further group of three carpets are so similar they must surely have issued from the same workshop

162-Chris Alexander page 213

The Textile Museum`s item had been published by F.R Martin in 1908

163-Hali 172-97

The third piece was illustrated by May Beattie in her 1976 article

164-Murray Graham Collection

Intermediary between the earliest Karapinars and the 19th century are three carpets,the oldest of which-once with Stolp Fraser-was later sold at Sothebys for $6,415 (see Hali 66-151)

165-Sothebys October 1992-Lot 32

166-Skinners 12 October 2012-Lot 108

The above carpet,formerly with Thomas Murray,seems to bridge the gap between the Fraser carpet and a whole group of rugs,said to be from Karaman,which appear in the 19th century

167-Werner Brandl

The point of entry for another type from 19th century Karapinar is the very similar medallion design and border

168-Wuhr Collection

The mother of all Karapinar medallion rugs in the 19th century being a piece with Achdjian

169-Hali 2-2-15
The original medallion design perhaps taken from a Persian silk"Polonaise" carpet

170-Residenz Museum

A group of five much older carpets,all quite similar,features a yellow wreath arranged around a central medallion

171-Ballard Collection Hali 124-104

172-Herrman X-17(formerly Schürmann)

173-Debureaux Aponem 19 May 2010-lot 113-$ 38,040

174-Skinners 16 December 1986-Lot 102-$25,300-later with Michael Franses

175-Rippon Boswell

The above sold at Rippon Boswells on 17 May 2003 for $ 90,355,and was later re-offered at the same venue on 19 May 2012,Lot 73,where it went unsold at 35,000 euro.

Further back in time,two carpets from the Alaadin Keykubat Mosque in Konya,whence also a Seljuk fragment,both feature crenallated medallions in the Egyptian Kilim style,and curious flying tulips in the field,perhaps the origins of those on the Alexander Chintamani rug

176-Hali 166-43

The chroma of the two medallion rug varies wildly

177-Hali 105-94

178-Hali 166-45

A tremendous carpet,for whose reproduction in Hali we trust

179-Hali 166-cover

On 31 May 2003 Moshe Tabibnia bought the Foy Caspar Karapinar,a carpet of stupendous charisma,at Brunks Auction House in North Carolina,for $297,000

180-Hali 166-page 40

As last man standing,Mr Tabibnia got to take home one of the most exciting carpets ever sold at auction.It has a companion,the Bernheimer-Wher piece,which first sold at the Bernheimer sale on 14 February 1996(Lot 130) for $95,480(see Hali 86,page 131)


The carpet reappeared at Sothebys in 2003,some four months after the Brunks meltdown,in a stripped-away version and a reproduction which has suddenly become much greener

182-Sothebys NY 19 September 2003-Lot 31

Its off-putting estimate of $120-180,00 failed to attract a buyer,but on 16 December 2004 it was offered at the same venue and fetched $72,00(see Hali 139-115)

183-Sothebys 16 December 2004-Lot 55

The drop on the price thermometer can be explained by three factors:the Bernheimer sale and its accompanying hysteria;the deconstruction of the carpet;and the appearance of the truly outstanding Foy  Kasper piece.

The two carpets share the following features:a similar inner border,cloudbands in the field;a certain amount of silhouetting,much more extensive on the Kasper rug;roughly similar medallions with the emphasis on rough vis-a-vis the Bernheimer.

Both Penny Oakley and Jon Thompson have discussed the importantance of the mock-dovetail silhouetting on the Tabibnia carpet

184-Milestones page 231

Dr.Thompson seems to feel that this technique is a copying from an earlier kilim,now lost,and resembling the great three medallion kilim from Divrigi

185-Hali 6-1-13

Further technical input derives from the group of silk Safavid kilims

186-Milestones page 231

Why anyone should wish to copy a kilim in knotted technique is a mysterium.Perhaps what is being copied here is an effect.The mock-dovetailing creates depth by suggesting light and shadow,a process achieved only in the vertical,whereas kilims necessarily feature it across the whole field.This 3-D effect,carried over the carpet`s 6 metre 29 sets up a kind of visual tsunami,rolling and gathering force.If the Bernheimer-Wher rug was a trial run,it is clear that their technique was inadequate.Hence the expensive silhouetting,on a carpet which anyway cost a fortune to make.

The bookcover medallions are a universal Islamic design in the 16th century.It has been suggested that the Kasper-Tabibnia carpet was influenced by Persian models


But the Berlin Polonaise,in the midst of the Final Dissolution,cannot refrain from black outlining

188-Beselin 170

A fundamental question is:where does the technique of knotting with blocks of colour first appear in carpet history?
The answer is to be found in the Cairene carpet tradition,and with that we are back to Egypt.

In fact the Kasper carpet features double outlining around the medallion elements in the field,creating the same sense of weightlessness as the Cantoni.The technique has been borrowed from the Cairene carpets, in which outlining is performed by bands of different colour

190-McMullan Collection,MET 1972.80.1c

The Cairene Carpet-makers achieved this effect by a combination of phenomenal technique and coloured outlining

191-Grassi Museum

192-Blumenthal Collection,MET-from Turks,Journey of a thousand years,page 308

The examples above are typical of the Cairene tradition,where black is used as a colour,not for outlining.There is no other carpet so close to the Foy Casper as the McMullan fragment puzzle,even down to the cusped medallions..The genius of the Karapinar carpet wizards was to do away with outlining as much as possible,a zone in which the carpets are lit from behind,as in a silhouette.This required a large degree of abstract simplification,a final reduction in which nothing more can be added or subtracted.

The original pictures from Brunks can be downloaded HERE

More Karapinar rugs can be viewed HERE

The Ottomans lost their love of war,but tents continued to be made in Egypt.A foto portrait from Emil Bechard,taken around 1870,seems to be the earliest known depiction


A painting by Henry Brokman Knudsen,c.1900,depicts such a panel being used as a windbreaker


These medallion panels were presumably assembled into tents to fit particular client`s needs


There is no great difference in technique between the 17th and 19th century examples,however the border designs on the Kassel tent from the 17th century seem more elevated.A major difference is in the use of machine-woven material in the later examples,resulting in a smoother interface

196-Kassel,17th Century

197-19th Century
A number of complete tents are known from the 19th-20th century,the most renowned of which is the festive example once in the Burns Collection,which sold at Christies for $20,403,and subsequently entered the collection of the Islamic Art Museum,Malaysia

198-Christies 18 October 2001-Lot 270

 The tents were often assembled with their white backings facing outwards


The above tent was offered on ebay in 2009,with a number of fotos showing the disassembled state,which can be viewed HERE

A tent at Doddington Hall can presumably be booked for parties

200-Doddington Hall

The Saunders Museum USA has a tent and some Pharaonic appliques,of the type formerly brought back from Egypt by touring grandees

201-Saunders Museum
An example apparently purchased by the Prince of Wales in Alexandria in March 1875 was sold at Sothebys on 6 October 2010 for 31,250 pounds

202-Lot 361

Another example was sold at Sothebys on 11 June 2002-Lot 13

203-Sothebys 2002

Modern tents are still made


But with machine printed panels


One example did well at Christies on 26 September 2012,selling for $8,484


The large siwan were erected for gatherings of all kinds,providing a simple method of privatising public space.They were(and still are)used for marriages,funerals,Sufi gatherings,guilds and associations of all kinds.The panels are amongst the most imposing tents ever made


A gathering with King Fouad of Egypt in the early 20`s is still more illustrative


The tents could be small and still comfortable,as a photo of Max von Oppenheim at Tell Halaf in 1929 shows


The Heiress Doris Duke had a whole wing attired with them in her Honolulu art mansion




213-3x Doris Duke

A panel sold at Nagels on 27 May 2008 recalls an early 13th century Nasrid Banner


215-after Curatola

The Star of David is a popular design referring back to Mamluk times



The central design mimicks marquetry and perhaps depicts a guild symbol.The corners incorporate art-deco Lotus Palmettes with an Eye of Horus border.The appliqués became a tourist business after Howard Carter`s discovery of Tutankhamun in 1922,although Egyptomania had already begun in the   19th century




The airport art represented by the above is anathema to our eyes,yet is presented here for a fuller picture.The decline of the Khyamiya begins with their introduction.

Many beautiful examples exist incorporating calligraphy and what is either a prayer form or a portiere(or both?)

221-Brunks 2010

222-Nagels 50T-3064

223-Dorotheum 2 May 2012-163

Another type is obviously a prayer design

224-Nagels 6 May 1994-1225

225-Christies 27 October 2010-191

An example in the Toronto Textile Museum recalls the great horseshoe Mihrab in Cordoba

More fotos of Egyptian Khayamiya can be viewed HERE

Finally,mention should be made of the Mahmal,a miniature tent made to transport the Kiswa,the black cloth cover of the Kaaba.For centuries this was made in Cairo and transported with great pomp down to Mecca

227-Ludwig Deutsch-Hali 126-93

Cairo and the Ottomans eventually lost control of the Kiswa operation,which is now carried out more efficiently in Mecca itself,on the largest Jaquard looms in the world.The Mahmal was an embroidered cover

228-Baker,Islamic Textiles
A roof piece still survives in the Topkapi

229-Atasoy 228

The shape of the Mahmal recalls another Egyptian Icon

230-Francis Frith-MET 2005.100.555
In 1991 Udo Hirsch published the results of an astounding discovery found in the Egyptian Museum in Turin:the earliest recorded use of the Turkish knot,from the Tomb of Kha and Merit,dated to around 1400 BC-i.e,approximately a thousand years before the Pazyryk



233-Hali 58 

Surrounded by hundreds of years of Fatimid and Mamluk architecture,the tentmakers of Cairo had an ample field to  explore and copy.It is a wonder that the tradition continued unabated into the 20th century.The influence of the Khyamiya on kilim weaving and subsequent carpet making can be felt in the extraordinary Foy Kasper/Tabibnia carpet,and many others.Exactly why this occurred has yet to be explained,and probably never will be.

234-Beyond Boundaries,44


236-Street of the Tentmakers,or Khyamiya.Foto: Jenny Bowker

 May Beattie`s article on the Karapinar rugs is now hard to get,but can be viewed HERE