17th. Century Anatolian Prayer Rug


  1 OF 2

Ottoman Carpets

Carpet weaving is the traditional art of Turks and the development of the arts linked to the Turks since its inception, with early woven fragments discovered in Central Asia. The knotted rug appears to have spread from Central Asia westwards through Persia and Anatolia with growing Turkish empires.

Floor rugs have been known since ancient times going back to Assyrians and Babylonians but these were not knotted rugs but woven fabrics. The knotted carpet does not appear in Islamic countries until the emergence of the Seljuks in the 11th century.

The Seljuk rugs found at Konya, capital of Anatolian Seljuks, are knotted in the Turkish- Ghiordes knot, in the same style as the carpet fragments found in tombs in the Altai mountains. (Hermitage Museum, Leningrad). Seljuk carpets can be characterized by geometric and stylized floriate motifs in repeating rows and by Kufic inscription border patterns. By the beginning of the 14th century, animal figures emerged in Turkish rugs. By the 16th century, the medallion motifs and the diverse foliate compostions had taken over, as the influences of the expanding Ottoman territories and the Iranian and Mamluke art were felt. The period claims two major groups of rugs; the Usak rugs with the essential motif of a medallion and the Ottoman court rugs with naturalistic motifs.

The Ottoman court rugs used the Iranian Senna knot, in order to accomodate the very fine and detailed floriate designs and the clusters of Turkish flowers - the tulip, hyacinth, carnation, rose, and the blossoming branches. Ottoman court rugs also started to use silk in the warp and the weft on the looms of Istanbul and Bursa. In 1831, the first carpet factory with 100 looms was opened by Abdulhamid II at Kereke and even today, rugs in Anatolia, especially around Kayseri, Sivas, Konya, Kars, Isparta follow the traditional patterns of this truly Turkish art.

  1 OF 2