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x0x Turkish Carpet

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  • TRH
    [See more on the web at: http://www.awildorchid.com/carpets.htm http://www.travelwithachallenge.com/Turkey_Carpets.htm
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 22, 2005
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      [See more on the web at:
      http://www.awildorchid.com/carpets.htm
      http://www.travelwithachallenge.com/Turkey_Carpets.htm
      http://www.turkishembassy.org/artculture/turkishcarpets.htm
      http://www.spongobongo.com/Turkishr.htm ]

      x0x Turkish Carpet

      By NAZAN OLCER

      Carpets constitute a branch of art that has been
      synonymous with the name of the Turks for centuries.
      Travel accounts and documents attest to the beautiful
      and valuable carpets woven in Seljuk Anatolia, and the
      carpet was an important Anatolian export in the period
      of Principalities that followed.

      The Ottomans, who inherited the art of the carpet as a
      legacy, raised it to even greater heights. Examples of
      carpets from the Seljuk and Ottoman periods right up to
      the present day are exhibited at the Museum of Turkish
      and Islamic Art, which has the world's richest
      collection.

      THE SELJUK TRADITION

      Carpet-making is believed to have started as a nomadic
      art. Knotted carpets, the oldest examples of which were
      found in a region heavily populated by nomadic tribes,
      in other words west and Central Asia, were spread on
      the ground for protection again severe climatic
      conditions.

      Their invention was motivated by the need for something
      to replace the animal skins that constituted the
      backbone of the nomadic economy.

      The ready availability of wool, the basic stuff of the
      carpet, and the easy assembly and dismantling of the
      horizontal and vertical looms used for weaving as well
      as versatility and portability of the product closely
      link the origins of the art of the carpet to the
      nomadic tribes.

      Turkish tribes played a major role in bringing this art
      to the West in the great westward waves of migration
      out of Central Asia.

      The art of the carpet underwent a major development in
      Seljuk Anatolia, making carpets an intensively traded
      commodity.

      Many travellers who passed through the Seljuk lands
      beginning in the 12th century mention the
      extraordinarily beautiful carpets woven there.

      Like many other arts, the Ottomans took over the art of
      the carpet from the Seljuk tradition. The group of
      Seljuk carpets dating back to the 13th century and
      known as `Konya Carpets' for the area in which they
      were found has a special place in the history of
      carpets and constitutes the best known group after the
      Pazirik carpet, the oldest known example of a knotted
      carpet, which was found in a fortress in the Altay
      Mountains and dates to the 4th-5th century B.C., and
      the findings from and, finally, the Turfan findings,
      again in East Turkestan, dating from the 5th-6th
      century A.D. Some of these carpets are in Istanbul's
      Museum of Turkish and Islamic Art today.

      With their striking reds and dark blues, these carpets
      exhibit geometric shapes and, on their borders, Kufic
      letters.

      OTTOMAN CARPETS IN PAINTINGS

      Stylized animal motifs and the mythical creatures we
      know from other branches of art are found on the
      carpets produced in the major weaving centers of 15th
      century Western Anatolia.

      Due to increasing stylization, however, they have
      become almost unrecognizable. The Kufic letters used as
      border decorations on Seljuk carpets, for example,
      diminished in size in the 15th century, eventually
      giving way entirely to geometric forms.

      Although Ottoman carpets are known to have been
      exported in large quantities, on account of their high
      prices they were purchased in the West only by the
      palace and its circle and the newly emerging class of
      wealthy merchants.

      On account of their prestige value, they were also a
      popular decorative element in western painting in
      portraits as well as depictions of religious subjects.
      Certain types of Ottoman carpets are therefore known by
      the names of the western artists who frequently painted
      them.

      The general composition that predominates in these
      carpets, known in the literature as `Holbein',
      `Crivelli', `Memling' and `Bellini', is that of a field
      covered with geometric shapes such as squares or
      octagons of various sizes.

      THE GIANT CARPETS OF USAK

      Although Ottoman carpet production was concentrated in
      several different regions, the most important center
      was at Usak with its colossal looms. Bergama was a
      second center.

      Meanwhile Konya, the leading city for Seljuk art,
      always maintained its importance in carpet production.
      The classical period of the Ottoman carpet commences in
      the 16th century. The small prayer rugs and giant
      carpets woven in workshops there from a repertoire of
      designs developed by palace artists have an important
      place among the furnishings of the period's great
      mosques, palaces and stately mansions.

      The best known types of Usak carpets are the
      `medallion' carpets inspired by the art of bookbinding,
      the `star' carpets with their geometric designs, and
      the `bird' carpets so-called for their foliate
      compositions reminiscent of bird shapes. With some
      variations in size and composition, such carpets were
      produced to the end of the 17th century.

      PALACE CARPETS

      With the conquest of Cairo in 1512, Ottoman art
      underwent a transformation. A new type of carpet
      emerged, recalling the MamlUk carpets in pastel colors
      woven of extremely soft wool and, dismissing the
      compositions predominant to that time, incorporating
      vegetal forms scattered over the entire field.

      The prayer rugs among these carpets, which came to be
      known as `Palace carpets', are striking for their small
      medallions and large foliate compositions.

      Palace carpets are thought to have been made in
      Istanbul and Bursa. The subsequent rise of centers like
      Konya, Ladik, Gordes, Kula and Mucur in the 17th and
      18th centuries did not hamper production at Usak.

      Meanwhile carpets known as `Izmir' or `Smyrna carpets'
      took their name from the port in the west from which
      they were shipped up to the 19th century. Nineteenth
      century western taste and the houses and palaces
      furnished under European influence naturally triggered
      a transformation in the art of the carpet as well.

      Workshops were established like that at Hereke, where
      carpets that copied the compositions of Persian rugs
      were woven with the Iranian `Sine' knot which allowed a
      finer and denser weave, replacing the typical Turkish
      technique known as the Gordes knot, and at Feshane in
      Istanbul, where large-size carpets of Baroque design
      were produced.

      The Istanbul-Kumkapi carpets known for their high
      quality silk prayer rugs also stand out in this late
      period carpet production.

      The art of the Turkish carpet was widespread outside
      these centers as well, with the production of carpets
      as a folk art, known by the name of the locale in which
      they were woven.

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